Clean Car Market Gears Up As Oil Economy Spins Into Hyper Drive

Anticipating oil supply shortages, forward looking car manufacturers such as Toyota and BMW, invested successfully into alternative hybrid and hydrogen technologies that will reduce the dependence on volatile oil markets. With more than 130,000 Prius cars sold worldwide, Toyota unveiled an even more advanced version of the world’s most successful hybrid power car. This second generation Prius, which will be on display in London from 5-7 May 2005, at the inaugural Clean Energy & Technology Expo (CETEX), is a blend of futuristic design and technology that delivers comfort and performance with exhaust emissions levels that drop to zero in congested city streets.

According to the latest report from top energy derivatives trader Goldman Sachs the oil markets might have entered a "super-spike" period, which could eventually drive prices toward $105. Oil prices have already climbed around 30 per cent this year due to rapid demand growth in Asia's emerging economies and the United States. Furthermore, production problems over the past week have deepened concerns over whether refiners will be able meet gasoline demand this summer.

Tadeshi Arashima, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Marketing Europe said: "The latest Prius is the cleanest family car currently available to the motoring public and successfully demonstrates that being ‘green’ does not equate to dull performance or compromised packaging. Toyota is also launching its Lexus RX400h sports utility vehicle in the UK market. The Lexus RX400h marks an important step forward, introducing the exceptional efficiency and strong environmental performance of hybrid power to the luxury sports utility vehicle market."

Other exhibits include BMW’s hydrogen car, Saab with a bio-ethanol powered vehicle and British Sugar, who is building a £25 million plant in Norfolk to turn sugar beet into a "green" fuel. Intelligent Energy, a British energy solutions company, is displaying an emissions neutral fuel-cell motorcycle and the German Solar Car Association their solar and electric vehicles "Twike" and "CityEl". CETEX, taking place at the London Business Design Centre, will also host the Clean Energy Conference, featuring the latest industry and sector finance trends presented by distinguished industry experts.

Surprisingly, an emergency oil plan to be published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) next month, will call for restrictive measures only to reduce motorway speed, shortening the working week and driving bans on certain days. Michael Liebreich, managing director of independent industry consultants New Energy Finance, remarks that this crucial IEA report falls short on more proactive ways to mitigate the dependency on oil supplies as offered by alternative fuel and emerging smart transport technologies.

8 April 2005 Staff

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