We thought we’d take a quick look back at what rocked your boat in 2012, as we discovered our top news stories of last year. There was a surprising mix of new models and controversy and Arsenal signings. Two appears from Renault (the company’s PRs will be pleased), plus electric car stories AND electric vans make the list.
We hope that through 2013, we will still bring you all the green transport news that matters.
Our top stories of 2012
1. Renault Clio to dodge road tax
We covered the unveiling of Renault’s new Clio ahead of its show debut in Paris and before it arrived in the UK (newly on sale this month in fact).
In revealing the new Clio, Renault let us know that the new supermini was set to become a new congestion-charge and road tax dodger thanks to emissions as low as 83g/km CO2 with the 1.5 dCi engine and from 99g/km CO2 thanks to a new 0.9 TCe. Man, you kids seem to love a new Clio (see story).
2. Kia reveals greener cee’d
Another compact car newcomer, the new cee’d was an important part of Kia’s on-going revolution to make it a true top-level competitor in the European market.
With a stylish and well-equipment new C-segment contender to take on the likes of the VW Golf and Ford Focus, Kia looks set to achieve its goals. On sale since last summer, Kia predicted that the new cee’d would sell best fitted with the highly-efficient 1.6-litre. Generating 128 ps and 260 Nm, fuel efficiency is as strong as 76.3mpg in cars fitted with Kia’s EcoDynamics with CO2 emissions from as low as 97 g/km (see story).
3. Mercedes reveals new 99g/km CO2 A-Class
Repackaged as a small family car, the new A-Class was unveiled in Geneva last March, and launched only last September.
Another road-tax dodger, the new A-Class launched with emissions as low as 99g/km CO2 thanks to A 180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY model. Abandoning its original market segment, Mercedes’ new A-Class is much more desirable than the old and a rival for Audi’s A3 and BMW’s 1 Series (see story).
4. First drive: Renault Twizy
When the quirky Twizy launched in April, we were all very excited to see if this could be the start of a new automotive trend. Instantly likeable, for its fun, alternative approach to motoring, the Twizy became one of the most affordable ways to switch to electric motoring.
Officially classed as a heavy quadricycle, Renault markets it as a safer, greener and more comfortable experience to a motorbike or scooter. Driving the Twizy was definitely one of my highlights of last year, we’re glad our readers seem to like it a lot too (see story for our full verdict).
5. Electric van man to get £8000 grant
The news that electric van buyers were also to be offered grants from the UK government was great news for commercial vehicle buyers across the country.
Modelled on the Plug-in Car Grants which launched in 2011, the Plug-in Van Grants are still available today and give EV van buyers a grant worth 20 per cent of the van’s retail price, capped at £8,000. Plug-in car buyers get 25 per cent of the value of their EV, capped at £5,000. For more details on eligible vehicles and how to claim a grant, see story.
6. Arsenal FC makes new signings: two electric cars
There is clearly a lot of footy fans out there who were pleased to learn that Arsenal’s new signing was a pair of Citroen C-Zero electric cars.
Manager Arsene Wenger, defenders Thomas Vermaelen and Kieran Gibbs, striker Olivier Giroud were among the first to try out the new zero-emission models, according to the YouTube video, they look like they really enjoyed its quiet ride (see story).
7. Electric cars more environmentally intensive than petrol and diesel vehicles
Oh the controversy now. A study from the Norwegian University of Science released in October, seemed to suggest that an electric car’s environmental impact exceeded that of petrol and diesel cars, when you look at the full lifecycle assessment. But they made a few errors in their assessment, as pointed out by Robert Llewellyn in his personal blog (see here). The researchers based their calculations on EVs using static electric motors, the sort designed to drive a large milling machine or industrial lathe, weighing some 1,000 kg motor, rather than the sort of electric motor used in an electric car, like the Nissan LEAF’s motor, which weighs a measly 53kg. Doh! See the story here.