BMW launches emissions allowance

BMW diesel emissions

Fancy a new BMW or Mini with €2,000 chopped off the price-tag?

BMW Ireland has just announced its Lower Emissions Incentive Allowance, essentially a €2,000 grant towards a new electric, hybrid or standard model with CO2 emissions of 130g/km or less.

Available until December 31st, to qualify for the scheme you’ll need to trade in a diesel vehicle that meets the Euro-4 emissions standard or below. If you don’t have any idea what that means, BMW has developed a handy online tool to see if your old car qualifies.

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Porsche unveils hybrid Panamera Turbo S

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Hybrid technology, for the most part, tends to be associated with more sensible, environmentally friendly vehicles like the best-selling Toyota Prius, which focuses on better fuel consumption and cleaner driving.

But reducing your carbon footprint isn’t necessarily on the minds of all car manufacturers – icons like Ferrari or McLaren are using hybrid technology not for fuel efficiency, but as a tool to make their heart-racing vehicles go even faster.

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Entering the electric era

The BMW i3
The BMW i3

There’s no doubt that we live in an age of motoring evolution, watching history unfold before our eyes. Hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) were once the butt of many motoring columnists’ jokes, discarded as a waste of time or, at their worst, as something which threatened the joy of true motoring. In a way it’s an ironic viewpoint, considering that electric cars have been around almost as long as their counterparts which rely on miniature explosions for propulsion. But they’re steadily gaining a foothold in the modern era, thanks in part to government schemes, the interest of early adopters and increasingly efficient technology.

Decisions, Decisions

Increasing choice is also attracting more buyers across the globe, though uptake in Ireland remains slow, with somewhere in the region of 2,000 EVs sold here over the past few years. The Nissan Leaf and the Renault Zoe are both affordable, fully electric cars that are comfortable, easy to drive and don’t look like spaceships among their fossil fuel brethren (although the Mitsubishi i-Miev resembles a bug that has crashed into your windscreen at speed). BMW offers two luxury alternatives in the i3 and i8, while Mitsubishi’s plug-in hybrid Outlander melds off-road capabilities with more efficient motoring. At the top of the pile sits the Tesla Model S, a pioneer in the electric vehicle market, though it’s not on sale in Ireland just yet.

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Hop in and go

Councillor Ciarán Cuffe Chairman of Dublin City Council’s Transport Committee, Shane Ross Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, and Steve Tormey, Chief Executive Toyota Ireland
Councillor Ciarán Cuffe Chairman of Dublin City Council’s Transport Committee; Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport; and Steve Tormey, Chief Executive Toyota Ireland at the recent launch

Ireland’s car sharing service GoCar has a new competitor – Toyota Ireland has announced the launch of YUKO Car Club (Yuko means ‘Let’s Go’ in Japanese), part of the company’s vision to help create a more environmentally sustainable future and ease urban congestion.

A range of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, EV and fuel cell vehicles will be available to hire, including the Yaris, Auris and Prius models, with the C-HR and the Prius plug-in hybrid arriving at the end of the year.

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Peugeot’s hottest hatch

308 R HYbrid

When you hear the word ‘hybrid’, it’s understandable that your attention begins to waver. There’s no blame from us – you can’t help but picture the terribly boring Toyota Prius. However, several manufacturers are determined to get rid of this negative image, particularly BMW’s i3 and i8 models, which are quite fun to drive. And it seems as though the Peugeot’s new 308 concept, known as the 308 R HYbrid, will arrive along similar lines.

A compact hatchback with a petrol-electric powertrain, it has 500hp (more than a BMW M4!) and four wheel drive, along with an electronically-limited top speed of 250km/h, not that you’re likely to get anywhere near that. Given the power bubbling away beneath the bonnet there’s no surprise that this very hot hatch is very fast: 0-100km/h takes a mere four seconds.

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Driven: The Game Changer? Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV

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There’s no doubt that we live in an age of motoring evolution, watching history unfold before our eyes. Hybrid and electric vehicles were once the butt of many motoring columnists’ jokes, discarded as a waste of time or, at their worst, as something which threatened the joy of true motoring. In a way it’s an ironic viewpoint, considering that electric cars have been around almost as long as their counterparts which rely on miniature explosions for propulsion. But they’re steadily gaining a foothold in the modern era, thanks in part to government schemes, the interest of early adopters and increasingly efficient technology.31

Nissan’s Leaf is an affordable electric car which has got a lot going for it in terms of comfort and ease of use, even if it isn’t the best looking vehicle on the market. Ford have an electric Focus which doesn’t look altogether different from the outside. Mitsubishi’s i-Miev might look a like a bug which has crashed into your windscreen at speed, but it’s a useful city car and isn’t all that bad to drive. Even BMW have got in on the act, with their luxury i3 and the electric sportscar, the i8. And eventually we’ll see Tesla’s beautifully crafted Model S reach European shores, looking for all the world like the offspring of a Jaguar and an Aston Martin. For the electric car enthusiast there’s quite the range of options, a list which continues to grow.

These vehicles have one thing in common – they’re all road cars, designed for smooth tarmac, urban (and rural) roads. And if you want to delve deeper, off road, via battery power? The options are limited. There’s Toyota’s RAV 4 EV, but that’s only sold in California. Porsche, meanwhile, have launched a hybrid Cayenne, although that is likely to be out of reach for the ordinary EV driver. You could always try to manoeuvre a BMW i3 around a muddy track, but you’re not likely to get very far. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (plug in hybrid electric vehicle) is another story, however.

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The Juke’s competition

downloadIt’s been a week for concept cars, and Toyota have added another entry into the ring. Also due to be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show next month, the C-HR concept is a compact hybrid crossover. A much sportier model than the RAV4, it looks like Toyota will be going head-to-head with the similar Nissan Juke.

There weren’t any specifications included with the photos, but the C-HR does include a hybrid drivetrain, what appears to be keyless entry, muscled wheel arches and a sleek profile.

We’ll reserve judgement (it’s not mindblowing).