Thursday, August 5, 2010

Volkswagen's Dirty Automotive Brands

Volkswagen may be receiving awards for their greener cars, but other automotive brands belonging to the company have large environmental footprints.

Volkswagen owns three of the world's most exotic brands, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley, yet even these gas guzzling car companies are striving to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.

The Porsche 918 Spyder, was first unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2010. With its three electric motors, Porsche claims that in the "Eco" mode (one of the car's four settings), the Spyder gets an astounding 94.1 mpg and emits just 70g carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometer. However in this mode the battery has a range of only 16 miles.

In "Race" mode, the car's power plant is supplemented by two electric motors giving it an extra 218 horsepower. The electric motors also redirect energy lost in braking back to the wheels. Despite the car's dynamic use of mobile electricity, the 918 is primarily powered by a 500-horsepower V8 internal combustion engine. The car is a marvelous feat of engineering, it can get from 0-62 mph in just 3.2 seconds and has a top speed of 198 mph, but at these speeds, it is also devours fossil fuels and emits high levels of emissions.

Although Bentley claims it will cut CO2 emissions and fuel consumption 15 per cent by 2012, the Bentley Brooklands emits CO2 at a rate of 465g of CO2 per kilometer. According to the EPA, the company currently makes some of the least fuel efficient cars on the US market. The Bentley Continental GTC, with a 12 cyl, 6 L engine gets only 10 mpg (17 hwy). The Bentley Azure, 8 cyl, 6.8 L and the Bentley Brooklands, 8 cyl, 6.8 L get only 9 mpg (15 hwy). According to the EPA, the only cars with worse fuel economy are manufactured by Volkswagen's other brand Lamborghini.

Despite dropping CO2 emission 20.5 percent in 2010 compared to the previous model, The Lamborghini Murcielago still emits CO2 at a rate of 539g of CO2 per kilometer. The EPA lists Lamborghini as the manufacturer of the least fuel efficient car in the US. The Lamborghini Murcielago, 12 cyl, 6.5 L and the Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster, 12 cyl, 6.5 L, get only 8 mpg (13 hwy).

Volkswagen is advancing greener car technologies, including cars powered by methane from human waste, but there is nothing green about the vehicles produced by some of the company's other brands. Owning companies that manufacture some of the most environmentally destructive cars on the planet obscures Volkswagen's new brand.

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