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Innovative initiatives are driving climate-neutral vehicles forward for a greener future. Here are the motor industry’s most sustainable movers and shakers
With the rising cost of petrol, electric cars – while nothing new – are seeing a boom in popularity. But just how green are low-emission vehicles? And how long until they rule the road?
As businesses around the world turn their attention to reducing the effect their products have on the environment and air quality, car manufacturers are having to move away from traditional materials that are hard to recycle – such as leather and plastics – and look for quality alternatives instead.
From electric to fully climate-neutral cars, here are the Marie Claire UK Sustainability Awards winners in the Motor category…
Marie Claire UK Sustainability Awards 2022 Motor winners
Best electric car
Winner: Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles ID. Buzz
Enabling families and adventure-seekers to travel in a zero-emission, stylish, and comfortable way, the ID. Buzz marks an iconic moment for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, becoming the first all-electric vehicle in its history.
With a leather-free interior and the use of recycled materials in many places – including seat covers and floor coverings – the ID. Buzz combines sustainability with comfort. Manufactured using sustainable components – think battery housings and wheel rims made from green aluminium and tyres from low-emission production – there are also future plans to include second-life battery systems and battery recycling, which will allow for more than 90% of raw materials to be reused in future products.
Taking around 30 minutes to charge the battery from 5% to 80%, vehicle-to-home charging is integrated, reducing the reliance on using off-grid energy to charge home appliances.
“Second-life plans for the ID. Buzz, combined with fantastic design, prove that electric vehicles with built-in sustainable futures don’t have to be the hair-shirt option,” says our Sustainability Awards judge and Auto Trader editorial director, Erin Baker. “Bi-directional integrated charging also gets a big tick from us.”
“A leap ahead of its competitors and competitively priced, with a plethora of storage configurations for every purpose, it makes zero-emission vehicle replacement a reality for commercial fleets,” adds Dave Coleman, Sustainability Awards judge and managing director of the Carbon Literacy Project.
Highly commended: Škoda Enyaq iV
Best eco app
The Tesla app lets you access your Tesla vehicle and energy products from anywhere. You can lock and unlock the car, check for software updates and, in cold-weather conditions, precondition and defrost your vehicle directly from the app.
But aside from being able to view your charging history, find charging stations near you, and request roadside assistance, the app also cleverly works with Tesla’s energy products, such as Powerwall, so you can monitor how your grid connection and solar system are working together to provide energy to your home.
“Alongside all the normal features you’d expect from a car app, Tesla offers a monitor energy production feature, which allows you to view your solar system’s energy production and home usage, too. Neat. It clearly illustrates how energy is provided, educating you on the reality of both energy usage and wastage, too,” says Sustainability Awards judge and Marie Claire UK’s health, sustainability & relationships editor, Ally Head.
Best for eco travel
Winner: Citroën Ami
Arriving in the UK this year, Ami is the first vehicle from Citroën designed completely with cities and urban areas in mind. With the UK expanding and introducing new emission zones and vehicle restrictions to improve air quality, Ami is positioning itself as the solution for tackling pollution and offering an affordable transport solution for cities.
Ami is 100% electric, emits zero emissions, recharges in just three hours, and is ideal for traversing areas where space is limited, taking up almost half the parking space compared to an average-sized vehicle. Designed to be 100% recyclable in the future, with a battery that is 85% recoverable, Ami will be priced well below any electric vehicle currently on sale.
“Citroën’s urban mobility solution gets a yes from me – the brand has created what they call a new take on clean urban mobility and I applaud that they’re making moves to offer a more affordable, clean-mobility solution. Promising to be small enough for city living, it’s the ideal winner for this category,” says Head.
Best green-emission initiative
Winner: Polestar 0 Project
Swedish electric performance car brand, Polestar, is leading the car industry in sustainability with its goal to create the first completely climate-neutral car by 2030. By reducing emissions throughout the supply chain and production, Polestar doesn’t want to rely on low-carbon solutions or misleading offsetting schemes. Instead, it’s aiming to eliminate all emissions from raw-material extraction, material manufacture, product manufacture and end of life – which means having to completely rethink everything the team knows about making a car.
“Project 0 is a truly innovative and responsible initiative, in that it is both positive and disruptive, and seeks to remake automotive manufacture into a zero-carbon industry – involving customers, partners and suppliers working together. It initiates the practical steps needed if the automotive sector is to evolve into the sustainable form needed for our economy and society to survive,” says Coleman.
Highly commended: Volvo Car UK #ZeroOmissions
Best sustainable interior
Winner: Polestar O2
In the new Polestar O2, recycled polyester is the only material used for all the soft components of the car’s interior (foam, adhesive, 3D-knit fibres and non-woven lamination). This simplifies recycling and aids greater circularity, while also reducing weight and waste. The different grades of aluminium used throughout the chassis are also labelled to make them easier to recycle.
“I love the sound of the Polestar O2 and really rate that recycled polyester is the sole material used for all the soft components of the interior, marking a significant step towards greater circularity,” says Head.
Marie Claire UK has determined the award winners in accordance with the judging criteria and with the information provided by the entrants. All information provided by the winning brands is published in good faith.