New research has upended the assumed hierarchy of vehicle environmental impact, with surprising revelations indicating that certain petrol and diesel vehicles outweigh hybrids in their eco-friendly credentials. This revelation comes from recent data analysis by Green NCAP, specialists renowned for evaluating the environmental impact of vehicles and awarding grades based on their ecological footprint.
In a comprehensive ranking system, cars are assessed across crucial parameters such as their capacity for clean air, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions, culminating in an averaged final score. Predictably, electric vehicles dominate the top spots, with models like the Tesla Model S, BYD Atto 3, and ORA Funky Cat securing a stellar average score of 97 per cent, thereby claiming an immaculate five-star rating.
Among the top-rated vehicles, a notable pattern emerges: all seven five-star holders belong to the electric category, maintaining an average score surpassing the 90 per cent mark. However, a noteworthy twist unfolds as the ranking extends beyond electric models. Contrary to common assumptions, several petrol and diesel vehicles outperform their hybrid counterparts in these rankings.
The diesel Vauxhall Mokka emerges as the highest-ranked non-electric vehicle in the 2023 standings, securing a respectable 57 per cent average score and a commendable three-star rating. Surprisingly, despite its diesel classification, the Mokka impressively scores 6.5 for clean air, 5.8 for energy efficiency, and 4.8 for greenhouse gas emissions, showcasing its comparative environmental prowess.
Preceding hybrid vehicles in the rankings are two internal combustion engine models: the diesel BMW 2 Series Coupe and the petrol Skoda Kamiq, further challenging the assumed superiority of hybrid technology in eco-friendliness.
Breaking the barrier into the hybrid segment, the Renault Austral E-Tech full hybrid takes the lead, albeit with a 52 per cent overall score, indicating a gap in performance compared to some conventional petrol and diesel counterparts.
In light of this research, industry experts advocate for greater transparency from manufacturers regarding the emission outputs of hybrid vehicles. They raise concerns over the weight disparity between hybrid and traditional petrol/diesel cars, highlighting potential consequences such as increased tyre wear due to the heavier vehicle exerting more pressure on the road surface.
Startling data from Emissions Analytics further emphasizes these concerns, revealing that particulate matter (PM) resulting from tyre wear can soar to levels up to 1,000 times higher than emissions from car exhausts. This alarming revelation underscores a critical aspect often overlooked in the hybrid versus traditional vehicle debate.
The comprehensive Green NCAP ranking also exposes outliers in the eco-friendly spectrum, with some vehicles earning a mere one-star rating and an average score plummeting below 20 per cent. Notably, the petrol-powered Ford Range Raptor claims the dubious distinction of a record-low 11 per cent average score, with its 4×4 variant receiving a zero rating for energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions, painting a stark environmental picture.
Despite these revelations, hybrids retain their standing as a middle ground for drivers hesitant to fully commit to electric vehicles while striving to reduce reliance on petrol and diesel. The latest statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) affirm this, indicating a notable 24.6 per cent growth in hybrid electric vehicle registrations, nearing the 20,000-unit mark.
As the automotive landscape continues to evolve, this research challenges established notions, encouraging a deeper examination of vehicle technology and its true impact on the environment, urging both manufacturers and consumers to reevaluate their perceptions and choices in the pursuit of a greener future.