Richard Parry-Jones talks to Autocar about 40g/km CO2 family cars
24 July 2008

The average family car could emit just 40g/km of CO2 by the middle of the century, Richard Parry Jones told an Autocar-sponsored lecture in central London on Wednesday.

Parry-Jones - one of the world’s leading automotive engineers who was Ford’s global Chief Technical Officer - said that if proper long-term planning happens now, massive reductions in CO2 from cars is entirely possible. He believes that the equivalent of 180mpg with today's technology will be a reality by 2050.

But rather than forcing emissions-slashing legislation on the motor industry, Parry-Jones believes that governments should allow carmakers to set a ‘glide path’ toward reducing CO2 and meeting green targets over the next few decades.

In the short term, adjustment to aerodynamics, weight reduction, reduced rolling resistance and recalibration of engine management systems will allow a typical Ford Focus to dip below the 100g/km emissions barrier by 2015. Parry-Jones added that battery technology, typically used in hybrid cars, is too expensive and ‘not evolving fast enough’. Crucially, the former Ford executive said he felt that personal mobility should not be curtailed by central government as a reaction to the Climate Change consensus.

He also called on the government to resist the temptation to pick environmental ‘winners’ at this stage of the technology cycle, instead leaving the industry to find the best ways to reduce CO2. During the Autocar speech to top motor industry figures, Parry-Jones also criticised what he called the ‘demonisation’ of motoring, along with ‘punitive fiscal policies’ and the halt in the expansion of the UK’s road network.

He also thinks that, in the future, families will have numerous cars, with the design of each optimised for ‘city, urban and inter-city’ use.

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25 July 2008

I totally agree that the government has a 'knee jerk' reaction which causes it to make poor decisions. jumping on the fashionable options presented by the press...and fundamentally failing to understand the R&D process.

in other sectors, its past attempts to push the wrong technology too soon have come back to haunt it. e.g. e.g with wave power and later on the missed opportunities with wind farms - promoting the oversized turbines instead of going for the small-medium ones which allowed other countries like denmark to get a head start and scale up with experience.

this tendency towards a last minute 'scramble' (as Shell describes it) is only too common with governments who are naturally more focussed on short term votes and results.

However, I'm pretty sure that the commercial industry runs the same way. I don't think that we can rely on car manufacturers to trail blaze in this area without some sort of deadline imposed.

But how do you decide when a pace is being forced at the expense of good decisions? Would I trust a multi-million pound corporation any more than the government? No. The government has its voters, the companies have their shareholders.

At the end of the day, 'no pain, no gain'.

I mean, this debate is hardly new is it? - good grief, even I remember learning about solar panels and renewables at school!

And there is no avoiding it - these things cost. But without some large scale conversion of the industry, the costs are never going to come down. Good subsidy in this area wouldn't go amiss - or government loans - Especially with a credit crunch and recession barking at the door... it can only benefit UKPLC in the long run.

In terms of which technology to back though and how quickly it will take to move from lab to innovation - well, that is the concern of scientists and car manufacturers...not of those sitting in the House of Commons.

25 July 2008

My god!!

A balanced and thoughtful post. Which whilst some arguments can be made for and against, is well laid out and written better than most news articles I've read recently.

A highly comendable peice.

Now lets all try and think our replies through and build an intelligent debate free from knee jerk comments. I for one would like to hear from people with real experience on the ground of the work going towards more "green" and genuine renewable energy sources.


25 July 2008

I'll echo the praise. Normally Autocar forums just consist of 'non de plum' and 'Jon Hardcastle' insulting people!

Aside from the environmental issues, if oil prices continue as they are (despite the recent, temporary dip) we'll need our cars to do 180 mpg just to be able to afford to run them.

The punitive tax hikes and increasing fuel duty seem to be the moves of a govt that lack creative thinking in terms of getting people to switch to greener options. Their 'knee jerk' reactions seem to stem from a lack of understanding of what is it like to be a normal person in this country, having to pay for your own fuel or use public transport. You don't see the PM filling his Jag before he hops in the back to go to the Commons, he's not going to feel the pinch personally.

Of course we're all going to have to make sacrifices, that's unavoidable, but we need to allow the best qualified people come up with viable solutions to this worsening problem. I, for one, would actually like to be driving a car that doesn't use petrol/diesel by 2050.

I won't be holding my breath though.

25 July 2008

Like many views I've read on here, I'm not convinced that punative measures are anything other than a government excuse to tax whilst pretending to have worthy to intentions.

But government hikes tend to be short term. We are almost in a recession - with inflation running high - so the powers that be have plenty of people to blame for the rises and get away with it with almost everybody. There is large city contigent (with good access to local transport) who will not kick up as much as the frugally populated country populus - given that many of them live in the city and can afford to absorb the extra cost.

But I suspect the rises are a short term hiccup before they settle into their normal upwards trend. To create change there needs to be a justified upwards trend. Anything short term won't change behaviour and neither will it create much of a dent in the supply to energy corporation coffers.

So where does that leave us with the long term trend of petrol rises. This is undoubtably on the way up. And if you look at the cost of drilling in some parts of the world, that too has been going up - the sources are getting deeper and harder to get to that even oil companies are aware that they will not longer be economically viable to extract.

On the other hand, hydrogen is at a very high market rate and needs fleet deals to come down. Fleets will only take this sort of thing on with a reliable supply and some subsidy. The former is already being discussed with energy companies but the latter is likely to suffer without investment. This is where any money reaped by the government needs to go. When this happens, the hydrogen price trend will go down. If hydrogen is no more than a small percentage higher than fuel - people will be willing to switch.

Money talks. As does convenience. For the average person, anyway. Either the petrol prices need to go up faster or hydrogen availability should increase and its cost needs to come down faster. At the moment, neither trend is moving to the same degree - nor continuously.

It will be a few decades before they cross but perhaps it is better - at least for the environment - for that cross to happen sooner rather than in 40 years time. A sharp investment in hydrogen energy is the best way of keeping these two trends in check. Any alternative solutions - e.g. making fuel last longer - may provide a distraction. Afterall, the CEOs of today are not going to be around to worry in 40 years time. It is some way off before we get another spike in fuel prices as the economics demand it.

Unless something radical happens, in 10 years time we'll all be sitting here again discussing the same issue and we'll barely be closer to a long term solution as we play with these technological distractions.

Personally, I can't wait to experience this new world of energy. In the same way we experienced the end of the steam era on the railways - well, I missed it myself ;-) - I see this as a fundamentally exciting new world. I'd love to be around to see the new designs inspired by green energy taken to market - especially when we've got over the novelty of the new technology and can really innovate with different vehicles! :-)

27 July 2008

I dont think that getting a car that is capable of doing 180mpg is impossible. I even think that it wont take that long to do that. One of the clear reasons must be that the motoring world is now creating many ways of reducing the fuel consumption of a car. Hybrids, biofuel, energy regeneration and the list keeps growing day by day. If people are saying that its rather irrational of creating such a car, well they should think again. The fuel price is in its steady increase and i dont see any chance of it going down. Creating such a car, will certainly be useful to anybody in this world where money is surely an object to anyone. Perhaps some people may not be affected by this, they should thinb about others who does not share the same fate as theirs.

28 July 2008

[quote kiko92]I even think that it wont take that long to do that[/quote]

I've been doing some digging around in this and you may well be right. There are some 'unsubstantiated' reports in the technology sector that we are almost there now, in R&D terms. So add another decade to get it ready for market and a further decade for policies to be navigated...

Still, as you say, there are several options ahead of us. These alternatives have been discussed for years and their fashion comes and goes with each decade and each government. The worry is that we are still no closer to seeing large scale implementation or a long term viable source.

What does it take to 'shove' R&D in the right direction? 180mpg cars would undoubtably be good news... and thinking about it you're right, it will be of enormous benefit to people financially - and also the environment. But do you think it would be a lasting solution beyond 2050? Or will we be addressing the same issues we have today when 2050 comes?

I would love to see some charts of the figures around this - average miles travelled, number of drivers on the road (including the up and coming nations such as China), predicted cost of extracted petrol against mpg.

Anybody got any figures?

28 July 2008

I'm still a fan of the Aircar.

A car that runs on compressed fresh air has got to be a good thing.

28 July 2008

Speaking for myself. I beleive that the combustion engine as we know it is finished. In the long term there is no logic in continuing it's development, sooner or later we're going to run out of oil.

The 180mpg engine, in my view, should be seen as a short term measure until a viable permanent measure can be produced.

I don't agree with biofuels as we are already seeing the resulting food shortages/price hikes caused by this and our ever over populated world. So I guess that leaves electric/hydrogen fuel cells from the current batch.

I'm being purposely whooly about my views here, not giving any serious details as to alternatives. That is purely because whilst I understand the pronciples behind some of the new technologies I don't understand all the implications of them. How much to produce (cost and resources). I'm hoping that this blog would help illuminate me further.


30 July 2008

It makes sense, doesn't it and it looks quite funky!

One thing about congestion problems and environmentalism, it's changing the way we look at the design of cars. The concepts would even make sense without congestion or polution problems.

Exciting and diverse times for car design.


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