The Road Ahead : October November 2008
Eclectic electrics eco-motoring WITH JON DEE looking at electric cars. But it’s a small two-seater electric car that has the potential to make a much bigger sales impact on ‘average punters’. The announcement by Daimler that they’ve started an electric ‘production-line’ version of the ForTwo Smart car has gained a lot of interest – particularly as it is set to be sold in Australia. With 1000 Smart electric cars being made in 2009, the Australian arm of Smart has offi cially asked for some of the fi rst run to be allocated here. S ince my last column, there have been exciting advances in environmental motoring. Here in Australia, Toyota sold its 10,000th Prius and global sales of the hybrid car have now reached one million. With the announcement that Toyota will be making a hybrid Camry at its Melbourne plant, there’s no doubt that hybrid technology is going mainstream. Information leaking out about the new Honda Insight shows that it could take hybrids even further mainstream. Spy photos of the new Insight hybrid show that it bears a slight resemblance to the Prius, but Honda is hinting that the price will be signifi cantly lower. That would be a major advance. On the electric car front in the USA, the look of the electric Chevy Volt has fi nally been unveiled and Tesla have started delivering production line versions of its Tesla Sports Car. With a top speed of 210 km/h and a range of nearly 400 km, the car is single-handedly changing the way that people are News in Brief GET SMART Landcare CarbonSMART, SEQ Catchments and Holden have joined forces to help south-east Queensland work towards a sustainable future and restoration of natural resources. Farm Forestry Offi cer Paul Daly will be responsible for assessing and registering ‘carbon sinks’ based on biodiverse Landcare plantings on private land. Holden has donated the use of four four-wheel drive vehicles to the program. Mr Daly said this model of assistance not only delivered landholders an income stream from carbon credits, but also 14 OCT/NOV 08 benefi ted stock and crop protection and tackled erosion and soil salinity problems. PUSH FOR LPG New car buyers may soon have the choice of more models with new- generation LPG injection systems, if a recommendation of a Federal Government automotive industry review is adopted. The Bracks Review recommends that the Government doubles the current $1000 rebate to buyers of new cars factory-fi tted with LPG fuel systems, to encourage the adoption of newer LPG technology by car-makers. OUTBACK DRIVE Royal Flying Doctor Service Spirit of Queensland Awards entrant Elsie Denham is looking for people with a sense of adventure and history to join a fundraising trek to the Outback. The trek, from September 1-21 next year, will take in the Birdsville races and a historic re-enactment in central Australia. Four-wheel-drive owners are invited, and there will be bus travel available for those who would like to tag along. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0448 212 265. There are a number of reasons why I’m enthusiastic about this. Firstly, 100 of the cars are already being driven and evaluated on London streets, so this is no one-off prototype. The car planned for 2009 release will reach potential speeds of 120 km/h and will have a range of up to 150 km – far more than most people need for their daily commute. This makes it an ideal car for people who need to get to and from work. For longer journeys like holidays or weekend trips, people could consider just hiring a car. Finally, the customers buying these cars are likely to be the types who already have green power in their homes. Given that you can recharge this car in just 3½ hours at home, we could be seeing the fi rst ‘production- line’ versions of Smarts on our roads as early as next year. Jon Dee is the founder and chairman of Planet Ark (www. planetark.org).
December January 2009
August September 2008