The 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games have come and gone, but what’s left behind may be more than an air of pride and patriotism. Advertisements and souvenir license plates still declare the city and province “the most beautiful place on earth.” Maybe it’s an enthusiastic expression of pride in line with Olympic team spirit more so than an unabashed statement of fact, but you can’t deny we live in a stunning corner of the globe.
Actions speak louder than words, and with green issues in the forefront of many Vancouverite minds, a bold and very public statement like that needed to be backed up with official deeds – enter solar powered pay parking ticket dispensers. And let’s not forget GM providing around 4600 vehicles to the VANOC fleet for use in carrying out Olympic business. About 33% of those were based on hybrid and other alternative fuel technologies, the rest incorporated cutting edge fuel efficiency processes in their engines. A small handful of experimental and pre-production models also made it to the party.
However, it is unfortunate that an all too common sight during the games were official and often higher occupancy vehicles driving around town without any passengers. The remaining two thirds of the fleet were still producing emissions, even if they weren’t as polluting as most other cars out there. This past month the majority of the fleet has been made available for consumer purchase, complete with original Vancouver 2010 markings. Most of them went on sale in the States, spreading these eco-friendlier vehicles across North America.
Let’s hope Olympic branding can add the extra incentive need for average shoppers to purchase cars that are environmentally conscious and increasingly less dependent on fossil fuels.
GM isn’t the only one focused on greener automotive production considerations. Canada’s KUMHO Tires also advertise environmental friendliness as they are HA oil free.
Here is a range of current and common rides for the environmentally-minded:
Volkswagen Jetta TDI
With a bio-diesel concoction of 1 part renewable diesel to 19 parts conventional petrol, driving this Jetta will reduce emissions by 5%. Greener bio-diesel mixtures will increase that percentage even further. It also helps that the car nurses it’s gas tank like a glass of fine single malt scotch.
Ford Fusion Hybrid
Featuring an already extremely fuel efficient engine regardless of the integrated hybrid system, Ford claims this model only needs to visit a gas station about once a month. Saves you some money, saves the planet some clean air.
Compact and distinctive, the Smart Car is not only fuel efficient but also renders emissions mostly innocuous by simply blowing fresh air into the exhaust to produce an oxidising process. It is almost completely manufactured from recyclable and recycled materials, and the assembly line aims to be as ecologically friendly as possible: vastly reduced delivery distance for supplies, chemically mild paint, and a European record for shortest production time start to finish are just a few of the measures currently maintained.
Resembling something out of Minority Report, the Aptera 2e aims to facilitate efficiency by being as aerodynamic as currently possible. Solar panels keep the cabin temperature just the way you like it without impeding the car from it’s primary job: getting you from point A to point B whilst seamlessly and conveniently integrating your smart phone’s communication and jukebox features. Just don’t forget to plug it into your standard household socket to charge overnight.
Also taking no longer than your average cell phone to charge, this auto can take you 20km at speeds up to 100km/h without consuming a drop of gas. Switch to hybrid mode for longer journeys and enjoy an efficient and economic voyage that’ll let you take your eyes off gas station prices for a while.
Providing optimal torque even when stationary, the electric Tesla Roadster is several times more efficient than gasoline powered cars when it comes to performance. You better have deep pockets though, as it costs $125 000 and up!
Nissan Altima Hybrid
Performance needn’t be sacrificed to take a load off the environment and your bank account. The standard gas engine is only used when the electric motor needs assistance, or when taking over completely is the most efficient use of fuel.
Honda Civic Hybrid
Slow this Civic down to rest at a red light, and the engine automatically shuts off. No emissions while idle, and extremely low emissions when driving, this environmentally friendly car also benefits from engine performance enhancements made possible by a magnetic electric motor.