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The Best Environmentally ‘Green’ Cars on the Market – Part I

Posted on March 14, 2017

The Best Environmentally ‘Green’ Cars on the Market – Part IChoosing to buy an environmentally-friendly car isn’t only an ethical choice. Yes, they produce less CO2 and other harmful gases, but they have also proved themselves to be economical to run with high fuel efficiency and reduced – and sometimes even free – road taxes in some countries.

‘Environmentally friendly’ is a term that means different things to different people. Some might argue that only 100% electric cars belong to that category, while others will be content with vehicles that are still fuelled by petrol or diesel but emit less toxic gases than conventional cars.

Whichever definition you favour, the good news is that there is now a wide selection of cars to choose from, from compact cars to large family cars and even SUVs, so you are sure to find something that suits your lifestyle and your budget.

The BMW i3

Its box design may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but if you can look past its appearance, it has a lot to offer.

The car is available in two models, either all electric or with a petrol range extender. Although it might look small from the outside, its cabin is actually quite spacious and can host four people comfortably.The i3 makes extensive use of carbon fibre, keeping the car light and therefore more efficient, yet very strong. To further its green credentials, natural fibres are used in the cabin. The BMW i3’s skinny tyres add to its edgy design, although they were chosen for efficiency purposes to reduce drag and therefore energy consumption.

The all-electric model was upgraded in 2016 with the addition of a new battery pack that improves the car’s range by 50%, extending it to around 300 kilometres.

If the full-electric version makes you break into sweat at the thought of running out of battery, then the range extender i3 Rex is for you. Its two-cylinder engine recharges the battery when it reaches a certain voltage to give you complete peace of mind. And with emissions of 12g/km, you can still consider yourself a friend of the Earth!

The Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius is, without a doubt, the car that made hybrid technology accessible. A pioneer in hybrid vehicles, it has continuously evolved and improved over the 20 years it has been in existence.

The Mk4 model is remarkable for its low emissions. Even the entry-level models are very decent in terms of green performance with 70g/km of CO2 emissions and economy of 94.2mpg – without any need to plug it in. But if you want to go further, the Prius hybrid Plug-in returns even more impressive figures with CO2emissions of 49g/km and economy of 134.5mpg.

The Prius is also really good-looking with its low-slung body and its elongated, futuristic lines designed to reduce air drag. And to add a cherry on the top, it is a good car to drive, nimble and powerful.

The Tesla Model S

The all-electric Tesla Model S proves that owning an electric vehicle doesn’t mean compromising on comfort, style or power. With prices starting at over NZ$100,000, it isn’t within everybody’s reach but it is so economical to run that you recoup your money really quickly.

With aerodynamic lines, the car looks every bit sporty but it is still very practical with two boots, one in the nose and one in the rear. The running gear has been packaged neatly which means that the rear boot is very spacious. And if you need to fit extra passengers, it even has a third row of seats.

If you think that electric cars means sluggish, the Tesla Model S will make you reconsider. The fastest version, aptly names the P100D Ludicrous – for its speed – claims to reach 100 km/h in 2.5 seconds. But even an entry-level model reaches that speed in a very honourable 5.5 seconds.

It also offers a range of interesting autonomous driving modes such as adaptive cruise control, lane keeping and hands-free steering, and regular, free software updates mean you will always be up to date.

The Tesla currently has a range of almost 500 kilometres and you can charge it for free at any point of the Tesla’s Supercharger network. It doesn’t get much better than that!

VW Passat GTE

Volkswagen have produced some feisty models over the years but it is clear with the Passat GTE that efficiency was a top priority. It isn’t to say that it is asthmatic, just that it isn’t the fastest Passat.

The GTE is powered by a 1.4 TSI turbo petrol engine, an 85kW electric motor and a 9.9 kWh lithium ion battery pack, and 7.4 seconds to reach 100 km/h, it very decent by any standard.

The Passat GTE is particularly appealing because of its low running costs. With emissions of 39g/km – among the lowest of plug-in hybrids – and 166mpg it definitely qualifies as a green model. It also gives you control over its driving mode. You can choose to run it in full electric mode when the battery is fully charged; to use the engine to recharge the battery, or in full hybrid setting where the car automatically manages the switch between those two modes, depending on your driving conditions.

In terms of appearance, the GTE doesn’t advertise its green credentials. Its branding is discreet and tasteful whether you choose a saloon or estate model, and apart from the charging flap in the nose, it would pass for any top-specification Passat.

At McCullough, we love beautiful old cars, but we are also every enthusiastic about this new generation of electric and hybrid cars which will, hopefully, contribute to a less polluted environment. We have been importing all types of vehicles for over two decades’ and are proud of our knowledge, our friendly staff and our strong relationships with Port Authorities. If you would like to discuss international transport for your vehicle, call us on +64 9 303 0075, send us an email or get a quote online.


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