Thursday, March 01, 2007

UCS Engineers Unveil "Green" Minivan Design

Mar 1: Automotive engineers at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) unveiled a minivan design which they say shows that automakers can build affordable vehicles with existing technology that would meet or exceed global warming pollution standards for cars and trucks adopted by California and 10 other states. They said, "Automakers are currently fighting these standards in court." The minivan, dubbed the UCS Vanguard, features off-the-shelf engine, transmission and fueling systems and other technologies that would save consumers money, maintain vehicle safety and performance, and cut global warming pollution by more than 40 percent. All of the technologies in the Vanguard are in vehicles on the road today, but automakers have yet to combine them all in one single package.

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski said, "Today's announcement confirms that we already have the technology and the tools to combat climate change and that now it is simply a question of the political will. Oregon adopted the California tailpipe standard in 2005. Oregon is committed to transitioning to a new generation of cleaner vehicles, and this project demonstrates a clear path forward. It is my hope this will encourage the rest of the nation to join Oregon and the other states already pledged to reduce auto emissions." According to a UCS release installing the Vanguard package of existing technologies fleetwide could significantly reduce global warming pollution for all car and truck size classes. Operational savings would make up for relatively small increases in purchase price. For example, the Vanguard minivan package would add about $300 to the price but result in over $1,300 in lifetime consumer savings, with a payback time of less than two years.

Spencer Quong, a senior UCS vehicles engineer and former automaker consultant who designed the Vanguard said, "Meeting state laws for fighting global warming should be no sweat for the automakers. They already have the solution to pollution right under the hoods of their own cars and trucks." The Vanguard minivan design has eight key components -- including improvements in the engine, transmission, air conditioner, fuel system, aerodynamics and tires -- that can be found piecemeal in more than 100 vehicle models on the road today. The Vanguard is not a hybrid. It uses conventional technology to achieve significant reductions in global warming pollution.

UCS emphasized in their release, "In the absence of federal policies to curb global warming emissions from vehicles, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Oregon and Washington have adopted the California clean car standard. Several other states, including Arizona, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, Tennessee and Texas, are considering or about to adopt the standard. Combined, these states represent nearly half the U.S population. In response, auto industry trade groups have filed lawsuits in California, Rhode Island and Vermont to block implementation."

Access a lengthy release from UCS (
click here). Access the UCS Clean Vehicles website for extensive information on the Vanguard including conference presentation, brochure, animation, technical report; and related issues (click here). [*Air, *Climate, *Energy]