Azara Blog: Supercars that are allegedly eco-friendly

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Date published: 2005/10/02

The Financial Times once (or so) a month runs a special magazine called "How to Spend It" in its weekend edition. Well, the title itself gives the game away, and when you consider the average salary of an FT reader, you can well imagine the types of articles and ads the magazine has. Unbelievably, once in awhile there is an article which pretends it is more to do with conscientious rather than conspicuous consumption. This week there was such an article, about upmarket "eco-friendly" cars. (None of the contents of this magazine seem to make it onto the FT website.)

Apparently at the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed (yes, very eco-friendly) there was an interesting new car:

It was the Venturi Fétish, the world's first electric sports car to go into series production. ... It has a top speed of over 100 mph; it can hit 60 mph from standstill in 4.5 seconds; and it is quieter than an empty milk float. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Venturi Fétish, however, is its price tag of 450,000 Euros (around 310,000 pounds). ... People with serious money are showing interest in fast, eyecatching, luxury cars that are eco-friendly at the same time.

To call this car "eco-friendly" is ridiculous. The fact that it costs 310000 pounds immediately tells you that it takes a heck of a lot of energy to build (more energy, for example, than it takes to build almost any new house in the UK) and most of that energy almost certainly came from oil one way or the other. Further, what is it that makes people think that electricity is so eco-friendly? Sure, if you happen to be in a city you might prefer to see an electric car rather than a petrol car drive past. But that electricity has to be produced somehow, so the pollution is just moved somewhere else. And any electric car that can do 100 mph is bound to be a car that consumes a heck of a lot of electricity. Rich people like the Fétish not because it is eco-friendly but because they can afford it and most people cannot. Of course they might want to pretend, as a bonus, that they are being eco-friendly, but they are not.

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