Feature: Green Matters: Color Your Lifestyle Organic

German Auto Makers Offer High-Horsepower and Green Cars

Author: Nicole Wong
Published: September 14, 2011 at 1:22 pm

BMW i3 

Increasginly, German auto makers wants to capture two kinds of car buyers: those who desire road-dominating, high-horsepower engines, and those who want fuel-efficiency on four wheels.

BMW's new M5, Audi's S7, Mercedes Benz's AMG, and the new Porsche 911, all boast of higher-than-ever horsepower.

But the very same auto giants also produced a line of green cars. Mercedes offers a fleet of electric Smart cars. There's the new B-Class, a compact hatchback that has a wallet and environmentally-friendly car mileage.

Such offerings carry at least two possible interpretations: that car manufacturers are offering both types of cars in order to gauge what the consumers really want, or, car manufactures already know that green is the way to go; and that offering two options is only a way to wean consumers off their addiction to big cars.

Seeing that the Frankfurt Motor Show took place just this week, it's too soon to tell how the sales of these automobiles will go, but it might be that the newer generation of drivers are more inclined to choose sleek, compact designs instead of gas-guzzling clunkers.

The car trend might be pushed into the green zone by social forces totally unrelated to conservationism or environmentalism. The Population Institute keeps a live count on world population, and there is speculation that in the near future, 70% of the world's population will live in concrete jungles that make up mega-cities.

It appears that increasing oil prices and urban, suburban sprawl combine to make buying and driving fuel efficient cars more sensible on multiple levels.

According to auto watchers, many of the new green vehicles, such as the BMW i3 and i8 aren't simply the cars we know with a battery stuck inside. These cars are actually redesigned and built differently compared to conventional cars that use gasoline.

The i3 has an aluminum chassis that houses the battery pack and electric motors. The passenger compartment is made of a carbon-fiber. The total weight of the vehicle is about 2,760 pounds. To put this into perspective, a Humvee (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle) weighs 5,200 to 5,900 pounds.

Although the top speed isn't high, the i3 can accelerate to 60 mph in less than four seconds. And in most traffic-laden urban and suburban cities, will drivers ever need to or get the chance to exceed 60 mph?


About this article

Profile image for yihyeewong

Article Author: Nicole Wong

Nicole reads voraciously on any topic to keep herself informed and to learn more about making positive changes to her life and the lives of others. She is ready to share her knowledge, expertise, and experience with anyone who is interested. …

Nicole Wong's author page

Article Tags

Share: Bookmark and Share