We're all encouraged to adopt greener motoring habits. Take a scroll through our jargon-buster to find out what the terms really mean.
Volkswagen's name for the fuel-saving versions of its
Polo, Passat and Golf models. The savings are made thanks to narrower
tyres and lighter bodywork.
Mercedes uses Bluetec to describe the technology that makes
diesel cars just as clean as petrol engines. The system reduces diesel
particles by up to 80 percent with an oxidizing catalytic converter and
particulate filter combined with other systems to reduce nitrogen
BRAKE ENERGY RECUPERATION
Energy which is normally lost through
heat while braking is used to recharge the battery. BMW introduced the
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are seen as one way to
dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions. The hydrogen used in the
cells is extracted from petrol or natural gas, and a chemical reaction
with oxygen produces energy.
The only by-product is water. The main drawbacks are the amount of
energy needed to produce hydrogen and the infrastructure needed to make
it widely available.
The most common hybrid engine is a combination of
electric and petrol, but some producers favour an electric-diesel
hybrid because diesel engines uses less fuel.
A petrol engine offering the high torque and fuel economy
of a diesel paired with extremely clean emissions. Mercedes is highly
optimistic, calling it "the future of the petrol engine."
Opel's name for low-consumption, low-polluting models with
small electric and diesel engines that were launched at the 2007 Frankfurt
Ford's name for a new range of cars with lowered
suspension, aerodynamic profiles and narrow tyres that help reduce both
emissions and fuel consumption. The first model is expected to hit the
market in 2008.
BMW's umbrella term for its environmentally
friendly cars, which use Brake Energy Recuperation and Stop-Start
Electric cars are particularly environmentally
friendly because they do not produce any emissions. But early attempts
to master the technology faltered because of limited battery life.
Enormous progress has been made recently to improve this.
Currently used in cars such as the Toyota Prius and by
Honda, hybrid is a combination of a petrol and electric engine. In
urban areas, hybrid cars mainly use the electric function, cutting down
on emissions. For longer-distance driving, the petrol function can be
The engine cuts out when the vehicle comes to
a halt and automatically starts again when it needs to drive off,
saving fuel and cutting emissions.