Mar 08, 2012 by Paul Clarke
These are the top green cars at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show : if you’re looking for a more economical car, then these are the cars that you need to know about.
Some are concepts that may be years away from production, but some are here soon, and others are on sale now – in some cases with official economy figures of over 80 miles per gallon, or even more in the case of extended-range electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids.
Honda NSX hybrid supercar
Our top green car at the show is the Infiniti EMERG-E, an extended-range electric mid-engined sports car concept.
The Infiniti EMERG-E has a 0-60 mph time of 4.0 seconds, a 300-mile range, and emissions of just 55 g/km CO
It can also cover up to 30 miles in electric-only mode, when it has zero emissions. When the battery runs down, the car runs on its petrol generator.
See our separate feature about the Infiniti EMERG-E
The Honda NSX hybrid supercar concept made its European debut at the Geneva Show. Highlighting the design and technology direction for Honda’s next generation supercar, the NSX Concept features a V6 mid-mounted engine and uses a range of new technologies including the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Super Handling All Wheel Drive) hybrid system. It is expected to go on sale within the next three years.
Read more about the Honda NSX
The Honda EV-STER also made its European debut at the show. The EV-STER is an electric rear-wheel drive two-seater open sports car . It’s billed as “the next-generation electric small sports concept model”.
The use of carbon materials means that it’s light, helping the vehicle’s performance and giving it a range of around 100 miles and acceleration from 0-37 mph in 5 seconds.
Read more about the Honda EV-STER
The Lexus LF-LC hybrid 2+2 sports coupe is a front-engine, rear-wheel drive concept featuring Advanced Lexus Hybrid Drive, designed to deliver both driving performance and fuel efficiency. The LF-LC displays the new Lexus design language including the new Lexus spindle grille.
Read more about the Lexus LF-LC hybrid
The new Lexus GS 450h full hybrid replaces the outgoing model, it features the new Lexus styling and it promises an even better balance of economy and performance, with a 0-62 mph acceleration time of 5.9 seconds. The new Lexus GS 450h starts from £44,995.
Read more about the Lexus GS 450h
Toyota had a range of concepts on show at Geneva, possibly the strangest looking one was the FT-Bh concept, which had its world debut at the show. The Toyota FT-Bh concept has a full hybrid powertrain featuring a two-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine, resulting in 134.5 mpg and 49 g/km CO 2 emissions. As a compressed natural gas hybrid (CNG-HV), the FT-Bh concept would emit just 38 g/km CO 2 emissions; and a Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version would emit just 19 g/km.
Read more about the Toyota FT-Bh concept
Toyota’s NS4 and FCV-R concepts were also shown in Europe for the first time. The NS4 is a next-generation plug-in hybrid vehicle, which Toyota says is designed to “address customer demand for added value from hybrid motoring, together with advanced design and a more involving drive”. Whether this is true or not, it certainly looks better than many recent Toyota models.
Read more about the Toyota NS4 concept
The FCV-R represents Toyota’s next step towards mass production of hydrogen-powered vehicles, paving the way for the launch of a saloon-type fuel cell vehicle by 2015. The FCV-R generates its own electricity by combining hydrogen stored in the vehicle and oxygen from the air. It generates zero CO 2 , NOx or PM, with water vapour as the only emission, and is around twice as efficient as current petrol and diesel engines.
Read more about the Toyota FCV-R concept
The Yaris Hybrid was shown for the first time in its production-ready form, ahead of going on sale in June this year. The emissions of the Toyota Yaris Hybrid have been confirmed at 79 g/km CO
(which equates to fuel economy of 80.7 mpg) making it the lowest CO2 combustion engine vehicle in the mainstream market . The Yaris Hybrid will also be available in the UK for less than £15,000, making it the most affordable hybrid on sale in the UK.
Read more about the Toyota Yaris Hybrid
The Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid emits 49 g/km CO 2 with fuel economy of 134.5 mpg. The car’s EV driving range is 15.5 miles, and recharging takes just 90 minutes using a conventional plug. When the EV battery is depleted, the Prius Plug-In Hybrid automatically switches into HV mode, delivering CO 2 emissions of 85 g/km and economy of 76.4 mpg. The Prius Plug-In Hybrid will be launched in the summer 2012, with starting prices below £30,000, inclusive of the UK government’s Plug-in Car Grant.
Read more about the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid
The Toyota GT 86 – along with the Subaru BRZ – may be seen as more sports car than green car, but it’s designed to be as lightweight as possible, so apart from making it fun to drive, that automatically qualifies it for being one of the greener cars in class.
The GT 86 is due to reach the roads this summer. The GT 86 was shown on the Toyota stand with a 2000GT, produced from 1967-1970. Although the GT 86 looks OK, the 2000GT looks much better…
The all-electric Renault ZOE had its first public appearance at the Geneva Motor Show, and it will be priced at only £13,650 after the UK Plug-in Car Grant deduction. I t will go on sale this autumn and will have a range of more than 130 miles (NEDC).
Renault’s aim is that the ZOE will cost the same as a comparable diesel-engined city car in markets where tax incentives are available. There will also be the cost of monthly battery hire, from £70 in the UK (for a 9,000 miles/36 month contract).
Read more about the Renault Zoe
The Renault Twizy will be in UK showrooms from 13 April, priced from £6,690, plus monthly battery hire from £45 (based on 3 years/4,500 miles per year). The Twizy is a quadricycle rather than a car; with a kerb weight of just 450kg, it’s at least half the weight of a normal car. Depending on the country and power of its electric motor, it can be driven with or without a driving licence. A complete charge takes only 3˝ hours, giving a range of 62 miles.
Read more about the Renault Twizy
The recently-launched new BMW 3 Series will soon gain a hybrid model; the ActiveHybrid 3 will use the same powertrain as the BMW ActiveHybrid 5. This pairs the 335i’s 306hp six-cylinder engine with a 40kW electric motor. The ActiveHybrid 3 is about to go into serial production and its market launch will be towards the end of 2012 in the UK.
Read our full road test of the new BMW 3 Series
The BMW 320d EfficientDynamics model will be in the UK soon, with CO 2 emissions of 109 g/km, thanks to Auto Stop-Start, which is fitted to all versions, manual and automatic, along with Brake Energy Regeneration, on-demand control of engine ancillary components and tyres with less rolling resistance. Weight has been reduced by up to 50kg compared with the previous model, while the drag coefficient (Cd) is down to as low as 0.26 thanks to optimised aerodynamics. Businesses which purchase outright can write off 100 per cent of the cost of the car against tax in the first year.
Read our full road test of the new BMW 3 Series
The BMW 116d EfficientDynamics Edition emits just 99 g/km CO
, equating to 74.3 mpg. It’s powered by an 85 kW/116 bhp diesel engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology and accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 10.5 seconds.
The BMW 116d EfficientDynamics Edition is
the most economical BMW
you can buy.
The BMW i3 Concept
, known as the Megacity Vehicle during its development stage, will be the first purely electrically-powered production car within the BMW Group. There may also be plans for a range-extender version. Both the four-seat i3 and the 2+2 seat i8 will be here in 2013.
Read more about the BMW i3
The BMW i8 Concept is a plug-in hybrid sports car combining an internal combustion engine and an electric drive, resulting in extremely low fuel consumption and emissions – but with excellent performance.
Read more about the BMW i8
The Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid
is a significant car because it’s a Volvo estate with great performance, all-wheel drive, and 49 g/km CO2 emissions, equating to 150 mpg. It also has 640 Nm torque, 285 hp, a 0-62 mph time of just 6.9 seconds, and a top speed of 124 mph. It offers around 30 miles zero-emission driving range. The V60 plug-in hybrid is due to go on sale in the UK in 2012.
Read more about the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid
The Fisker Karma, an electric vehicle with extended range , has achieved 135 mpg combined fuel economy while emitting just 51 g/km of CO 2 , as well as an all-electric range of 51.6 miles. The Karma is also a 400 hp luxury saloon that can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds. These figures are possible due to the Karma’s EVer (Electric Vehicle extended range) powertrain technology, which combines the zero-emissions and efficiency of electric drive with the range and freedom of petrol-powered cars. While the Karma can run on all-electric power in Stealth mode for 51.6 miles, it has a total range of 300 miles before a stop for petrol or recharge is required.
Read more about the Fisker Karma
The new Ford B-MAX ‘compact multi-activity vehicle’ – which has no central door pillars, so providing excellent access – will feature the firm’s new 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, with its combination of 125 PS power output and 58.9 mpg efficiency. With the 95 PS 1.6-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel, emissions will be 104 g/km CO 2 with fuel economy of 70.6 mpg. The Ford B-MAX goes on sale in the UK in September.
Read more about the Ford B-MAX
Ford’s turbocharged, direct injection 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine goes on sale across the Ford Focus range in the UK next month, offering up to 58.9 mpg and CO
emissions as low as 109 g/km. The EcoBoost engine delivers performance to rival a traditional 1.6-litre engine with significantly improved fuel efficiency and class-leading ultra-low CO2 emissions.
Read more about the Ford Focus
The Focus Electric offers a driving range of 100 miles and can be charged in just three to four hours when connected to an appropriate charging facility. Powered by a 23kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the Focus Electric will be the flagship of Ford’s new family of electric vehicles and it will join the growing line-up of energy efficient ECOnetic Technology-badged vehicles. The Ford Focus Electric will be on sale in the UK in 2013.
Read more about the Ford Focus Electric
has been unveiled at Geneva and it will be offered with the 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, already available in the Ford Focus and C-MAX. Other engines available from launch in the UK in early 2013 include 140PS and 163PS versions of Ford’s 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine, with Ford’s Powershift automatic gearbox an option, so it should be one of the greener 4x4s.
Read more about the
The Mazda Takeri concept car was unveiled for the first time in Europe at Geneva. The Takeri is a next-generation mid-sized saloon featuring Mazda’s new i-ELOOP regenerative braking technology and the company’s efficient new SKYACTIV-D diesel engine with a fuel-saving ‘i-stop’ system and six-speed SKYACTIV-Drive automatic transmission.
Read more about the Mazda Takeri concept car
The all-new Mazda CX-5 compact crossover SUV, with fuel economy of up to 61.4 mpg and emissions as low as 119 g/km CO 2 in the case of the manual 150 PS 2WD 2.2 diesel model, is now available to pre-order. In all-wheel drive form, both the 150 PS and 175 PS diesel manuals will emit 136 g/km CO 2 with the automatic versions emitting 144 g/km. The CX-5 model range goes on sale in spring, with prices starting from £21,395 and rising to £28,795.
Read more about the Mazda CX-5
The new Mitsubishi Outlander will be launched with a clean diesel engine but it will also accommodate an EV-based plug-in hybrid powertrain – a fully integrated solution, based on Mitsubishi Motors EV technology and extensive 4-Wheel-Drive expertise.
When fitted to the all-new Outlander, the Mitsubishi plug-in hybrid EV system achieves a range of over 800 km and very low CO 2 emissions targeted below 50 g/km. It’s a shame that the styling of the new Outlander looks so bland, especially when compared to the Range Rover Evoque, which has changed all perceptions about how exciting a 4×4 can look.
The Volkswagen Cross Coupé concept has a turbodiesel direct injection engine and two electric motors resulting in 157 mpg and emissions of 46 g/km CO 2 . The powertrain also produces 306 PS (225 kW), enough to propel the 1,858 kg Cross Coupé from zero to 62 mph in 6.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 137 mph. The drive system can provide a maximum of 516 lbs ft (700 Nm) at any one time.
Volkswagen says that the Cross Coupé is a concept vehicle, and there are no current plans to put it into production.
Read more about the Volkswagen Cross Coupe hybrid
The two-seat electric Volkswagen E-Bugster concept has an electric motor which provides 85 kWh of power, which can propel it from 0 to 60 mph in 10.9 seconds, and it offers a range of at least 110 miles from its lithium-ion batteries. If the E-Bugster needs a top-up, a fast-charging function allows complete recharging in just 35 minute s.
Read more about the Volkswagen E-Bugster
The new Citroën DS5 shares the same hybrid diesel powertrain as the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4, resulting in 200 bhp and 99 g/km CO 2 . In total it’s available from launch with a choice of four Euro V engines – THP 200 (from 155 g/km CO 2 ), e-HDi 110 (114 g/km CO 2 ), HDi 160 (from 129 g/km CO 2 ), and the new 200 bhp diesel electric Hybrid4 (99 or 107 g/km CO 2 ). The Hybrid4 DSport costs £32,200. The new Citroën DS5 is available to pre-order now, with first deliveries from the official ‘on sale’ date of 2 April 2012.
Read more about the Citroën DS5
The Peugeot 208 will feature the latest generation e-HDi diesel engine emitting 87 g/km CO 2 and a new 1.0i 3-cylinder petrol engine emitting just 99 g/km. The new 208 arrives in the UK in June 2012 and it will be available in two body styles, three and five-door.
Read more about the Peugeot 208
The Vauxhall Ampera extended-range electric vehicle was voted European Car of the Year on the eve of the Geneva Motor Show. UK order books are now open and the first Amperas will arrive in showrooms on 1 May 2012, starting at £29,995 and rising to £33,995 (both inclusive of the £5,000 government plug-in car grant).
Read more about the Vauxhall Ampera
The Vauxhall Mokka will be the company’s first small SUV and it will be available with two petrol engines and one diesel, all with Start/Stop, and front or all-wheel drive. The five-seater Mokka will be available at Vauxhall dealerships towards the end of 2012.
Read more about the Vauxhall Mokka
The all-new Volvo V40 will feature a diesel engine with emissions of just 94 g/km CO 2 . All engine versions feature start-stop and braking energy regeneration, whether they have a manual or automatic gearbox. Production of the all-new Volvo V40 starts in May 2012.
Read more about the Volvo V40
The Hyundai i-oniq concept car , an electric sports hatchback with a range-extending petrol engine, was on show at Geneva. The four-seater i-oniq concept has a 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder petrol engine which is mated, via a generator, to a lithium ion electric motor which produces 109 PS. In electric-only mode, the i-oniq has a range of 120 km, while with assistance from the petrol engine it can travel up to 700 km, producing just 45 g/km of CO 2 in the process.
The new Hyundai i20 had its world premiere at Geneva and it will have the lowest CO 2 emissions of any conventional powertrain, at 84 g/km. This will be thanks to one of the four engine options available to buyers of the new i20, the new 1.1-litre, 3-cylinder ‘U-II’ diesel unit that generates 75 PS. This new engine will be offered alongside another sub-100 g/km diesel; when combined with Blue Drive technologies, the upgraded 1.4-litre ‘U-II’ 90 ps engine emits 96 g/km.
The Nissan INVITATION concept, with expected sub-100 g/km emissions, was revealed at Geneva. The hatchback concept, which is due to be launched in the UK from 2013, previews the company’s next mainstream new model in the compact hatchback segment. It has also been announced that the INVITATION will be built at Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the UK.
Read more about the Nissan INVITATION concept
The Fiat 500L – the L stands for ‘Large’ – is the new addition to the 500 range, and it had its world preview at Geneva. It will be introduced to Europe in the last quarter of 2012, with an engine range which will initially comprise two petrol engines (TwinAir and 1.4-litre) and a turbodiesel engine (1.3 MultiJet II).
Read more about the Fiat 500L
Mia Electric will launch three vehicles in the UK in May 2012 and all three will qualify for the government’s ‘Plug-In Car’ and ‘Plug-In Van’ Grants, meaning a discount of around £5000, which means that the mia’s standard short wheelbase model (mia-U) will retail at approximately £21,000 and the two extended models, the mia L and the mia box van, will both retail at approximately £22,000. The mia has low running costs of around £1.30 per 62 miles. The three vans are currently in production, but the vehicle in the photo is purely a concept.
Read more about the Mia Electric
The electric smart for-us pick-up mobility concept is based on the drive concept of the smart fortwo electric drive, which will be launched from the spring of 2012. The 55 kW magneto-electric motor and 17.6 kWh lithium-ion battery provides the smart for-us with 130 Newton metres of torque and a top speed of over 75 mph. The smart for-us is a mobility concept with room for two people and space for two smart ebikes behind them.
Read more about the smart for-us pick-up
For people who want a small fun green van then the MINI Clubvan Concept may be the answer. The MINI Clubvan Concept has just two seats, with a flat load area which reaches from the split rear doors right up to a partition grille behind the two seats. The Concept has two front doors for the driver and front passenger, two side-hinged rear doors and the rear-hinged Clubdoor on the right-hand side.
Read more about the MINI Clubvan Concept
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2011 Frankfurt Motor Show
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2011 Geneva Motor Show
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2010 Paris Motor Show
See our review of the
2010 Geneva Motor Show