Volkswagen’s Dirty Green Secret
ThePorsche 918 Spyder, was first unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2010. With its three electric motors, Porsche claims that in the "Eco"mode (one of the car’s four settings), the Spyder gets an astounding 94.1 mpg and emits just 70g carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometer. However in this mode the battery has a range of only 16 miles.
In "Race" mode, the car’s power plant is supplemented by two electricmotors giving it an extra 218 horsepower. The electric motors alsoredirect energy lost in braking back to the wheels. Despite the car’sdynamic use of mobile electricity, the 918 is primarily powered by a500-horsepower V8 internal combustion engine. The car is a marvelousfeat of engineering, it can get from 0-62 mph in just 3.2 seconds andhas a top speed of 198 mph, but at these speeds, it is also devoursfossil fuels and emits high levels of emissions.
Although Bentley claims it will cut CO2 emissions and fuel consumption 15 per cent by2012, the Bentley Brooklands emits CO2 at a rate of 465g of CO2 perkilometer. According to the EPA, the company currently makes some of the least fuel efficient cars onthe US market. The Bentley Continental GTC, with a 12 cyl, 6 L enginegets only 10 mpg (17 hwy). The Bentley Azure, 8 cyl, 6.8 L and theBentley Brooklands, 8 cyl, 6.8 L get only 9 mpg (15 hwy). According tothe EPA, the only cars with worse fuel economy are manufactured byVolkswagen’s other brand Lamborghini.
Despite dropping CO2emission 20.5 percent in 2010 compared to the previous model, TheLamborghini Murcielago still emits CO2 at a rate of 539g of CO2 perkilometer. The EPA lists Lamborghini as the manufacturer of the least fuel efficient carin the US. The Lamborghini Murcielago, 12 cyl, 6.5 L and the Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster, 12 cyl, 6.5 L, get only 8 mpg (13 hwy).
Volkswagen is advancing greener car technologies, including cars powered bymethane from human waste, but there is nothing green about the vehiclesproduced by some of the company’s other brands. Owning companies thatmanufacture some of the most environmentally destructive cars on theplanet, obscures Volkswagen’s new brand.
Richard Matthews is a consultant, sustainable investor, writer and owner of The Green Market Oracle, a leading sustainable business blog that covers the convergence of sustainable capitalism and the global environment.The Green Market is one of the most comprehensive resources for information and tools on sustainability. Follow The Green Market's twitter feed and see the Facebook Fan Page. Richard is a contributor to more than 50 publications. Find him on Facebook and Linkedin.
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