Last month we wrote about the Nissan Leaf going into mass production – a great development, but one certainly less surprising than Porsche getting in on the act.
Asked to consider what a low carbon vehicle looks like, most people would probably think of a small to medium-sized family car – something, funnily enough, that looks a bit like the Leaf. Very few would probably think of a 200mph sports car.
But, as reported in the Daily Telegraph and elsewhere, The Porsche 918 Spyder, which manages to do 0-62mph in just 3.2 seconds while emitting just 70g/km CO2, is to head into full production after an overwhelming public response at the Geneva motor show.
This follows the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid making it onto the Powershift Register for Congestion Charge exemption earlier this year. While a vision of a nation of eco sports car drivers is both economically unrealistic and whimsical, it does show the key role technology has in driving the pace of change towards greater sustainability in how we transport ourselves.
CO2 emissions can be reduced by 25 percent right now simply by people buying best in class for fuel efficiency – but there are still technological and infrastructural barriers to be overcome before we see mass uptake of best in class vehicles. That’s why we back initiatives like the Technology Strategy Board’s Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform, which aims to support those working to overcome these obstacles and stimulate the UK market.
As well as the promise of technology to cut transport emissions, the ‘eco Porsche’ also illustrates the fact that companies are not being limited by any apparent public expectation that their products will produce high emissions. Luxurious, fast, or fashionable does not have to stand apart from sustainable.
And while the Leaf may have more mass-market appeal, we're sure that the odd 918 Spyder parked in driveways wouldn’t hurt in generating interest in neighbourhood car-sharing schemes…