Auto partners move to bring greater car Efficient-C

02 June 2006 #SMMT News

The results of a project to develop a family car with carbon dioxide emissions lower than 100 grams per kilometre were revealed today. The car, developed by Ricardo, QinetiQ and PSA Peugeot-Citroën, was based on a modified Citroën Berlingo Multispace, featuring a diesel-hybrid drive-train. Tailpipe emissions were just 99 g/km CO2.

Called the Efficient-C project, it was the first completed under the ultra-low carbon car challenge, set by the DfT in 2004. This offered £10 million in grants to encourage the development of a sub 100 g/km car, but which offered all the standard trappings of a 5-door family vehicle.

That meant a car running on standard fuel, capable of matching performance, safety and comfort levels of a C-segment car already on the market.

David Greenwood, chief engineer advanced technology at Ricardo, was on hand to discuss the technology behind the car – and to reveal some impressive results. Overall, the car delivered 75 miles per gallon, based on a combination of regenerative braking, optimised engine operation, stop and start technology and improved aerodynamics.

That meant an overall 30 per cent improvement on a standard Berlingo, fitted with 1.6-litre HDi engine. On the urban cycle, which simulates in-town driving, the results were even more dramatic. Fuel consumption, and corresponding CO2 emissions, were cut by 45 per cent.

Robert Peugeot, PSA Vice President Innovation and Quality, spoke on behalf of the car company. He warned of the problem in moving from an impressive prototype to affordable car. Technology in the Efficient-C made it £3,000 more expensive than a standard Berlingo. A business case could only be made if the difference were around £1,500, he said, a price which consumers would be more willing to pay.

Incentives like the Low Carbon Car Fund, recently given the green light by the European Commission, would send the right message to industry and consumers. It would also go some way to softening the blow for buyers of low carbon cars that are often more expensive due to higher production costs.

Under the scheme, cars emitting less than 115 g/km could be eligible for grants of up to £1,000. However, press reports have suggested the grants, originally proposed by government, are now set to be scrapped.

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