Environmental News Archive

An almost weekly update of environmental news, particularly marine updates, with occasional splatters of transportation, indigenous, ideas of sustainability and sustainable development from around the world.


Diesel, hybrid cars becoming attractive options for motorists

By Dominique Loh, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 25 August 2006 1605 hrs

SINGAPORE : With crude oil prices passing the US$70 per barrel mark, some motorists are considering cars powered by alternative fuels for their next purchase.

Nearly all passenger cars in Singapore are petrol-driven; according to the Land Transport Authority, only eight run on diesel.

But if diesel cars have not been attractive due to their emissions, newer technologies now promise better fuel economy and a higher range.

Audi claims its new TDI engine can run 1,000 kilometres on a single tank of diesel, nearly twice the distance of some petrol cars.

Said Michael Kruger, director of engineering at Robert Bosch GMBH, "There was significant progress made in the development of fuel injection equipment, exhaust gas recirculation technology and turbo charge technology as well. All these combined reduce the engine out emissions by more than 90 percent. In addition, due to the overall low fuel consumption, the diesel even contributes to the reduction of the green house effect."

TDI diesel cars make up about 50 percent of cars sold in Europe, but they are harder to sell in Singapore, primarily due to the high diesel fuel tax.

Another option is hybrid cars, which run on a new generation of engine - a petrol engine component works in harmony with an electric motor to stretch that litre of petrol even further.

A full tank may allow you to drive some 800 kilometres before your next fill-up, saving up to 40 percent in fuel.

Honda says that depending on your driving style you could save some S$1,800 at the pump per year.

Kah Motor has already sold 65 hybrids this year; 62 others are in Honda's Diracc car-sharing fleet.

Said Vincent Ng, product manager at Kah Motor, "In 2006 January this year, the government has actually given a new incentive, so it has actually increased the green car rebate from 20 percent to 40 percent. There were also a few other favourable things this year - I would say the low COE, then of course reduced ARF, the weak yen."

Kah Motor expects sales of hybrid cars to pick up and plans to introduce a fuel-cell car next year. - CNA /ct

Source: CNA


Shifting into green gear

By Lee U-Wen, TODAY | Posted: 21 August 2006 1020 hrs

SINGAPORE: It's perhaps the clearest sign yet that the sluggish green car market here is on the upswing.

As of June this year, 129 petrol electric hybrid vehicles have been registered in Singapore, compared to fewer than 10 in June last year.

The significant increase can be attributed to various reasons, such as the increasing awareness of the importance of being environmentally friendly, said Dr Amy Khor.

The Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Water Resources noted that while the number of such energy-efficient cars was a "modest" one, she remained hopeful that more car buyers, especially first-time owners, would choose hybrids over conventional models in the coming years.

One other key factor, she said, was the increased green vehicle rebates for the consumer.

The tax rebate for green cars, which was doubled in January, is now equivalent to 40 per cent of a car's open market value.

The rebate was supposed to have expired at the end of last year, but has since been extended until December next year.

Speaking to reporters after launching the annual Green Transport Week on Sunday morning, Dr Khor, who is also mayor of the South West district, test drove two popular hybrid cars - the Toyota Prius and the new Honda Civic Hybrid.

"It's not that different, in fact I found the cars very quiet. Eventually I'll get one for myself; it just makes sense given the impact on our environment," said Dr Khor, who currently drives a Toyota Camry.

Describing her first three months in her new job as "fast-paced", she said she was currently busy overseeing the first large-scale study on the vulnerability of the impact of climate change on Singapore.

As chairman of the National Climate Change Committee, Dr Khor said the study, which involves both local and foreign experts, would begin later this year and is expected to be completed by 2008.

"Previous studies have always been on a global level, but we've never had one for Singapore. It's very timely given that climate change is a major concern for many countries, and especially so now that Singapore has just signed the Kyoto Protocol," she said.

Meanwhile, the latest Green Transport Guide was also launched. It contains tips on how to cut down on vehicle emissions, advice on buying a car and a list of fuel-efficient driving habits.

Visit www.sec.org.sg/gtw to download a copy. - TODAY

Source: CNA