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Fiat launches greener test-drives

Car lover Jodie Kidd has become the first person in the UK to take an ‘eco’ test-drive and scored an impressive 74 out of 100 for her environmentally friendly driving skills.

The greener test-drive, which will help people drive in a more environmentally friendly way, will be piloted through 10 Fiat dealerships in the Greater London area from Saturday 14 March.

The initiative launched by Fiat UK marks a first for a major car manufacturer as it offers all of its potential customers a ‘green’ test-drive. The test-drive will use eco:Drive, a unique Fiat-developed scoring mechanism which measures how well driven a car is in eco-friendly terms, and gives tips on how drivers can improve their score. An improvement in score results in lower CO2 emissions and potentially hundreds of pounds saved each year for every driver.

Marketing director Fiat UK, Elena Bernardelli, says, “Test-drives are, for some, questionable from an environmental perspective, yet everyone wants to test a car before they buy to make sure they like it. Our test-drive allows them to test the car, ascertains how they drive in environmental terms and gives them tips on improving, regardless of whether they buy from us or not.

“A few very simple tips and techniques can have a big effect on the environmental impact of every journey. And if we all improved a little, it would not only save us a huge amount of money but also result in significant reductions in CO2 emissions throughout the capital.

“Since introducing eco:Drive software here in October last year, more than 10,000 customers have reduced carbon emissions by an average of almost 70kg per driver.

“If those figures were reflected across all London drivers, we could reduce carbon emissions by approximately 428,507,400 kg CO2, equivalent to the saving that would be made if every household in London switched to energy saving bulbs.”

eco:Drive from Fiat is supported by well-known names from across the motoring and environmental lobbies including:

Edmund King, President of the AA, says, “The AA is a big supporter of eco driving, which can reduce fuel bills substantially as well as cutting emissions.

“Our research shows that the vast majority of drivers care about the environment and want to take steps to reduce the environmental impact of their driving. Products like eco:Drive from Fiat help drivers drive more efficiently, and more economically by providing clear, tailor-made suggestions about how to change their driving style”.

Gus Grand, director, Sexy Green Car Show, says, “The public are increasingly interested in greener motoring, as we’ve seen from the success of the Sexy Green Car Show at the Eden Project. Green motoring isn’t just about fuel efficient cars, though – it’s also about engaging drivers to do their bit, and eco-driving is a great way for everyone to make small changes that can make a real difference to their carbon emissions. Fiat’s eco:Drive technology is a great way to make greener driving easy and fun.”

Paul Clarke, Founder of Green-Car-Guide.com, says “At long last manufacturers are giving us greener cars. However what the economy and emissions of cars are once they have left the manufacturers’ test beds and are in the hands of drivers are, in reality, still an unknown. Fiat’s eco:Drive technology is a pioneering system to improve greener driving and to provide real data about the outcomes.”

At the launch at Fiat’s central London flagship store, former model and celebrity car-lover Jodie Kidd also gave her support to greener driving, “Absolutely. Cars are becoming more and more fuel-efficient, but I think we can all make a difference whether we have the most environmentally friendly Fiat 500 or an old jalopy, simply by learning to drive greener.”