OEMs driving different roads toward lower emissions

There were some big innovations at this year's Low Carbon Vehicle show. One of the biggest came from Ford which said it believes further developments on the internal combustion engine will yield the fuel saving, and reduced CO2 output, needed going forward.

It is developing a 3-cylinder version of its EcoBoost engine. The direct injection, turbocharged 1.0l engine will be used from next year in its Focus and Fiesta models. It said that these engines - that are being designed and built in the UK - will produce emission as low as 89g/km without the use of a hybrid system. That corresponds to about 83mpg.

Graham Hoare, executive director of powertrain engineering, said: "We need to hit millions of cars not just hundreds, to really reduce the carbon footprint. It's got to be high volume, affordable technology that is really going to make the difference. And that is why we think the fundamental technology is the combustion engine, possibly with hybrid technology, not electric vehicles."

Nissan, however, will launch a purely electrical vehicle into the UK market space in 2012, the Nissan Leaf. The 5-door hatch back that visually looks like a normal production car will have a range of about 100miles and cost around £25,000. It is likely to produce somewhere between 62-72g/km depending on how the electricity is produced.

Meanwhile, Jaguar's C-X75 plug-in hybrid is a two-seater technology marvel. The high performance car produces 778hp through four electric motors. The batteries driving the motors are recharged using micro-gas turbines. Jaguar says it will be able to reach 205 mph and accelerate from 0 to 60mph in under 3.4 seconds.

The micro-gas turbines from Bladon Jets generate enough electricity to extend the range of the car to 900km (559miles) while producing an average of 28g/km of CO2 on the EU test cycle. Among other advantages, the micro-turbines used can run on diesel, biofuels, compressed natural gas and liquid petroleum gas.

Justin Cunningham

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