/ Motoring

Green cars good, green names bad

BMW 'i' eco brand

BMW revealed earlier this week that it is to set up a new sub-brand specifically for electric and hybrid cars. But are these new awkward eco names really necessary?

Two new models will launch under the ‘i’ banner in 2013. There’s the i3, an all-electric lightweight city car, and the i8, a larger hybrid.

Generally, I’m excited by this news. There’s no doubt that BMW is one of the more eco-focused and forward-thinking car brands out there – it’s Efficient Dynamics technology is genuinely impressive and a real leader in terms of cutting CO2 – and it certainly has the clout to encourage big changes in the way we get around.

Green brands are unnecessary

But one thing that bugs me about car firms ‘going green’ is that they seem to feel the need for a new logo and sub-brand at every opportunity. As a car nut I’m happy to learn the exact difference between a standard model and the so-called ‘green’ version – but I’m not sure everyone is.

There will be plenty more announcements like BMW’s at next week’s Geneva Motor Show – but cynics would say that green brands are chiefly intended to give carmakers some good publicity and dealers another selling tool.

Pretty much every carmaker has an eco-focused range nowadays, whether it be Efficient Dynamics, BlueMotion, BlueEFFICIENCY, DRIVe, Econetic, EcoFlex, Ecomotive, GreenLine or Ecodynamics (points to the first commenter who can match those names to their respective car brands without cheating).

But I cannot help thinking that these will become a little redundant in the future – after all, if every manufacturer aspires to cut emissions across its range, then today’s BlueMotion could equate to tomorrow’s GTI in terms of eco-friendliness.

What’s in a name? Confusion!

Seat, one of the better brands at lowering CO2 emissions, is already suffering from naming confusion in my opinion. Pretty much all of its cars now get the Ecomotive badge as they’ve been tinkered to maximise efficiency. This means that the really low-CO2 models now get the new E Ecomotive logo.

The same goes for Skoda’s GreenLine ‘II’ models. (Damn, I’ve given a few answers away to my own quiz there).

The cars are very impressive, but the awkward names just don’t seem very useful to me – just confusing. Do you think a green-branded car encourage you to buy or put you off?


‘i’ is a very silly choice. To me, ‘i’ indicates intelligent or internet.

Internet isn’t applicable and there’s nothing intelligent about buying a battery car at this end of the decade.

These cars are low-poluting per distance travelled. Any car can be low-poluting per year, by being used less. It’s the usual confusion between low power and low energy.
I think that, instead of encouraging people to replace their exisiting cars with lower power ones, we should be encouraging them to use their exisitng cars less. That way, we can use less enery without any increase in cost.
A financial incentive for this would be to keep petrol prices high and reduce the RFL ( tax disk ) to a nominal amount ( say £20.00 ). I don’t think any government would be brave enough to do that, though.

There are many things which I can think the “i” prefix means 🙂

It’s just a complete gimmick, as it was at the start, explained nicely by top gear on their iHammerheadthrust or whatever it was 🙂

Electric cars still hold absolutely no sway with me, or hybrids, due to the masses of CO2 that it requires to produce them.

For me, if you are buying a new car and you want to keep your “carbon” down, you should buy one that was made in Britain.

Any carbon that you think you are saving is negated entirely by the shipping of the vehicle from it’s factory. Thinking about the creation of batteries and how they are shipped across the world, one would be forgiven for buying solely something that is made in this country.