Mike Waters' Blog: 4 May 2011 - Can the emissions trend continue?
04 May 2011
Mike Waters is senior insight & consultancy manager at Arval, the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company.
We have seen dramatic improvements in new car emissions in recent years, but like any trend of this type, there remains the question of how long it can last for before it starts to plateau.
While the manufacturers have done a great job of reducing the average emissions across their ranges, gains over recent years have generally come from improvements to conventional technology, which surely can't carry on unabated. However, recent information and activity suggests that we are not at that tipping point yet and there is plenty more efficiency to come from the good old internal combustion engine.
The latest New Car CO2 Report from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows that average new car CO2 emissions fell by 3.5% in 2010 off the back of a decline of more than 20% since 2000. What's more, nearly 60% of new cars are now under 140g/km and the sub 100g/km market doubled in 2010.
These figures show great strides and the desire to produce greener cleaner vehicles is not going to diminish for the manufacturers. Every major car company is making efficiency improvements and most are working on alternative powertrain technologies. Just in recent weeks, Ford announced that the new Focus ECOnetic will deliver emissions under the 95g/km mark. It was also reported that the next generation of Mercedes C-class diesel models are expected to deliver average emissions of around 100g/km.
So the appetite is there from both suppliers and consumers. Taxation and high fuel prices combine to deliver a compelling reason for drivers to select the most efficient vehicles and tough legislation as well as customer demand means that the manufacturers won't show any let up in environmental development.
With EU regulation posing challenging targets we will continue to see improvements in the CO2 of new petrol and diesel models linked to an ever increasing hybridisation of new cars and vans. Use of hybrid technology will be an essential component in the manufacturers' armoury as they seek to deliver ever more fuel efficient vehicles, before new powertrains take us beyond the internal combustion engine. But in the short to medium term, we can expect to see plenty more efficiency in the vehicles that we drive.
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