Techies 2012 - Best Green Development: Vauxhall Ampera/Chevrolet Volt
21 August 2012
The past 12 months have seen the debut of a pair of sibling cars that successfully combine a petrol engine with plug-in electric technology. The pioneering Vauxhall Ampera and Chevrolet Volt offer 25-50 miles of zero tailpipe-emissions driving before reverting to the petrol motor, avoiding the range anxiety issues that plague early pure electric vehicles.
They're not cheap, but the impressive range-extender technology can, in the right circumstances, make a real difference to business fuel costs.
The official CO2 emissions figure is just 27g/km, leaving the cars in the 5% BIK tax band, although that is set to rise to 13% in April 2015.
This category warranted two Highly Commendeds. Ford's Ecoboost 1.0 engine is pushing petrol power back into the fleet market's consciousness. Combining turbocharging with other clever tech, the three-cylinder engine comes in 100hp and 125hp form, but with an economy benefit of around 20% over the previous larger engines of similar power.
Toyota's continual leadership of the hybrid market has led to further big developments this year. The Yaris Hybrid and seven-seat Prius+ models widen its offering significantly, while the Prius Plug-in is a recent addition that operates in a similar way to the Ampera and Volt plug-in hybrids, but with a shorter range.