As a car enthusiast, I’m used to seeing hundreds of auto company lobbyists filling the halls of Washington complaining about how they can not build more fuel efficient and less polluting cars. Traditionally, there has only been one company that sends lobbyists to say “no prob”, that’s Honda. Albeit, they are blessed with a line up of mostly cars that pollute less than the tanks Detroit has made over the last 20 years.
So, you can imagine my surprise at reading Autocar this week. Ford’s Chief Technical Officer, Richard Parry-Jones, says that Ford can cut CO2 emissions from a fleet average of 160 g/km to 40 g/km by 2050. That’s a long ways out though, so it might still be Detroit BS, but Parry-Jones continues: Ford supports the EU mandated 130 g/km by 2012. He also believes that a cut to between 80-100 g/km is possible by 2020. That is refreshingly optimistic.
The big problems that Parry-Jones, who has over 30 years experience in cars, but none in building airplanes, is battery technology and the reliability of sourcing biofuels. I thought his comments on biofuels was particularly interesting: “Biofuels can provide big-scale benefits, but not all such fuels are good (some threaten food supplies, some threaten rainforests) so biofuel sources should be accredited, just as the Soil Association accredits organic food [in Europe].”