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Australia's Greenest Car

Motoring Channel Staff - 20/January/2009

Australia's Greenest Car
Is this Australia's greenest car?

Australia's Greenest Car
The smart fortwo mhd is Australia's greenest car

Australia's Greenest Car
It's light weight and start-stop technology ensure the
smart mhd is Australia's least polluting passenger car

Toyota Prius Hybrid
The third generation Toyota Prius is expected to
wrest the crown back from the smart car in 2010

Honda Insight Hybrid
The upcoming Honda Insight Hybrid is also
going to be a contender for the greenest car
when it arrives in Australia later in 2010, &
by 2012 electric cars will be on the market

Canberra, Australia — The 'greenest' car in Australia is not a Toyota hybrid. It's not a Honda either.

It's a smart car.

The Mercedes-Benz-owned compact car brand released the smart Fortwo Micro Hybrid Drive (mhd in smart speak) in Australia in December last year, and was awarded five stars by the federal government'sGreen Vehicle Guide. 

The diminutive 2-seater didn't do so well in the luggage space awards though...

The number two slot in the Australian governments Green Vehicle Guide is currently occupied by the Toyota Prius.

Interestingly, the third and fourth greenest, or least polluting cars available in Australia are Italian-made runabouts - the Fiat 500 at #3 and the Fiat Punto at #4.

The Toyota Yaris rounds out the top five least polluting cars and the top 10 list is as follows:

1. smart fortwo
2. Toyota Prius
3. Fiat 500
4. Fiat Punto
5. Toyota Yaris
6. Citroen C3
7. Fiat Ritmo
8. Audi A3
9. Honda Civic
10. Peugeot 207

As the list shows, only three of Australia's least polluting cars are Japanese designed - 70% of them are European. 

Conspicuously, there are no Australian cars on the list - something that will no doubt be remedied when the locally-made Toyota Camry Hybrid arrives in a couple of years.

The number one spot taken out by the smart fortwo micro hybrid drive earned a total score of 17 out of a possible 20 points for both its air pollution and greenhouse ratings.

Power by a small 52kW combustion engine, the smart fortwo micro hybrid drive boasts a combined cycle fuel consumption rate of 4.4-litres per 100km and emits only 105 grams of CO2 per kilometre driven.

The tiny 2-seater smart car also has another trick up its sleeve - the a simple but effective start-stop technology. In dense traffic, the car's computer will automatically switch off the engine when stationary, seamlessly restarting when the driver goes to move off again.

Technically the vehicle is not a hybrid in the general sense, which has petrol and electric motors, but does use a clever fuel saving technique.

"With our smallest car at the top of the government's Green Vehicle Guide we have another important tool to highlight to car buyers how environmentally compatible the smart fortwo really is," said Horst von Sanden, the managing director of Mercedes-Benz Cars in Australia.

"The goal of sustainable mobility lies at the heart of the smart concept, and it's this very car, along with new developments such as the electric smart ed, that have made some of the biggest steps towards the ultimate goal of emission-free motoring," said von Sanden.

The Motoring Channel had an early test drive of the smart cdi in Singapore last year (the diesel-powered model) which sips an unbelievable 3.3 litres per 100km!

There is growing trend in progressive parts of the world, such as California in America and even in Canberra here in Australia, to offer tax cuts or special deals for 'green' cars.

In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), the state government offers a stamp duty exemption for cars awarded five stars under the Green Vehicle Guide - which is all cars from the top 10 list except number nine and 10.

As time goes on this sort of financial enticement will spread to other states in Australia, America, and it is also happening in Europe and Asia as we speak.

When the electric car revolution takes hold in 2011 and 2012, even more government rebates and tax discounts are expected to flow to motorists, to convince drivers to switch to vehicles that pollute less, but vehicles that also don't rely on foreign oil.

For more information on the federal government's Green Vehicle Guide, see the related link below.

Related Links:
- Green Vehicle Guide (Official Website)
Electric Cars: Detroit Goes Green (2009)
Toyota FT-EV (2012)
- Toyota Prius Hybrid (2009)
Holden 4-cylinder Small Car (2010)
- Honda Insight (2009)

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