2008-05-14

Cars and CO2

A fine summer's evening meant a low turnout at the Raven on Monday evening, as the stalwarts gathered for the Science Cafe.

What sticks in my mind from the talk is the fact that CO2 emissions are proportional to the weight of the car, and inversely proportional to engine efficiency. Engine efficiency has improved enormously over the years, but today's Mini is twice the weight of the original, and I believe the same is true of the Fiesta. The result is that CO2 per km hasn't improved a great deal.

Much of the extra weight is a side effect of making cars a lot safer. Can we have low emissions cars that are safe? Surely we can.

My French friend Pascal gave a cheer when it was revealed that Peugeot / Citroen were the most likely to make low CO2 cars.

My bet for the future is on electric cars. The Tesla Roadster is already comparatively cheap to run, and with oil prices rising, I think the public will gravitate to the electric car.

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