The future of green energy amongst car manufacturersCurrent affairsScience & Technology
It’s obvious that different countries have very different attitudes to what constitutes effective green energy. France obviously favours nuclear with elements of tidal; Germany targets 45 per cent of energy from renewables by 2030, in an industry which supports 378,000 jobs; and the US holds most of the world’s renewable energy patents.
These varied attitudes also cross over into car manufacture. Toyota set the ball rolling with the Prius and look to continue in their role as leaders with models like the Mirai which is a hydrogen fuelled offering.
The VW Golf SportWagen HyMotion also uses hydrogen, indicating a sea change from electric, but it should be remembered that hydrogen would demand a complicit infrastructure with plenty of refuelling points. However, probably the most practical bet of the lot, is likely to be the plugin hybrid VW Golf after VW recently announced their prices.
VW further emphasises its green credentials by offering a deal which includes tariffs for 100 per cent renewably sourced power; this is an example of one industry driving change in another and could be a masterstroke by VW.
The US manufactures the beautiful Tesla Model S Musk in the now famous Nummi car plant which has helped innovations at Toyota, VW, Daimler and GM. Tesla has had huge backing from the US government in what must be deemed a highly agreeable form of state intervention – something which isn’t much talked about in US enterprise.
On European roads, we may be more familiar with the likes of the Nissan Leaf which many of you will have seen plugged into those inner city recharging points in the last year or so. The Leaf is one of those cars which makes a statement about its electric credentials which are illustrated in the car’s clean lines and airy interior.
Volvo has a history of powerful and stocky motors, but they’re a brand which refuses to be left behind in the race for renewables. Manufacturers who don’t play the “renewables game” risk being side-lined as backward thinking or limited in engineering ability. The Volvo V60 plugin is far from a gimmick ranging from just over £44,000 after the subsidy is knocked off.
Don’t forget that the UK government offers £5,000 off for those buying a car like this, making offerings like the Leaf quite affordable.
The manufacturers and the world’s governments are beginning to find some cohesion when it comes to producing electric cars and allowing them to function. This synergy is vital if the industry is to take hold.
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Photo: Kārlis Dambrān