Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Built To Last

So the government are trying to boost the car industry and reduce emissions. The new frontier in car manufacture seems to be electric or hybrid vehicles. Such as the Volt from GM. Great idea? The Volt is using a petrol engine to serve an electric motor. So it still produces exhaust gasses and how much CO2 did it take to manufacture? We talk about retrofitting houses, could we do the same for cars?

It is claimed that 15% of the total energy associated with a car is in its manufacture - what's called the "embodied energy" - and when you scrap the car before its useful life has ended, that energy is thrown away. It is also claimed that doubling a car's life reduces its lifetime energy-use by 42% compared with scrapping it and building a new one, because repair and maintenance are more energy-efficient than new manufacture.
Mmmmm.... interesting. Makes me feel better about driving a ten year old Skoda. And I also feel good about the local mechanics taking a percentage of my wages on a regular basis.

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