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?