Hiring an Eco Car - From a Car Rental Company
In the past couple of years, car rental companies have expanded their focus on environmental responsibility. Some have kicked off programmes aimed at ensuring the carbon footprint of their rental networks is as low as possible.
Green Motoring - Government Incentive Programme
Eco cars, be they low-emissions hybrid vehicles or zero-emissions electric cars, have made steady inroads to the motoring mainstream in recent years. The year 2011 promises to see the topic 'green motoring' become a permanent resident in the minds of regular drivers and no longer just the domain of tree-huggers.
Few events support the idea that environmentally-responsible motoring is here to stay like the wave of new vehicles being launched this year. To support the expansion of green transportation, the UK government recently announced an incentive programme that goes a long way to cut the price of entry into low-emissions car ownership.
How to Hire a Green Car
Many car rental chains have steadily added more green vehicles to their rental fleets. We examine a few of the options available to drivers keen to hire a green car.
Hiring a Hybrid Car
Two types of green vehicle are generally available. By far the most popular is the low-emissions vehicle, typically a hybrid. Hybrid vehicles normally combine a small-capacity internal combustion engine designed to be as efficient as possible with an electric-drive system.
Hybrid vehicles normally use regenerative braking, in which the act of braking is used to generate electricity that is stored in batteries for re-use when you want to accelerate. Acceleration is provided through the use of an electric motor, which can at times be the sole source of drive and at other times is used to boost the acceleration provided by the internal combustion engine.
Hiring a Zero Emission Car - Electric Car
Zero-emissions vehicles come in a variety of packages. Though everything from solar-powered to hydrogen-fuelled vehicles have long existed in experimental form, most members of the public, especially if they're looking to rent a car, will generally only deal with electric vehicles.
Electric vehicles are increasingly popular, thanks partially to the fact that many of the compromises have been eliminated. Drivers are increasingly attracted to the idea of an urban runabout for short daily journeys that offers cleanliness, silence and cheap recharging at home.
Eco Car Hire Choices
Choices of vehicle available to hirers can include the VW Golf 1.6 TDi 105ps BlueMotion and the BlueMotion SE model. These diesel-engined Golfs generate as little as 99g/km of CO2. The SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive 1.4 TDi produces only 98g/km of carbon dioxide and is another popular make.
Many of the well-known international names in car hire offer at least one green car in their fleet. Some offer several choices. In addition, many green-motoring hire companies have sprung up, eager to exploit this expanding market niche.
Other green options when hiring an eco car include the VW Passat BlueMotion, which isn't the cleanest of eco cars thanks to its bigger weight, but at 1,527 miles, it does hold the world record for the longest distance driven on a single tank of fuel. If you need a bigger car but are still keen on both economy and the environment, the Passat BlueMotion could be a solid choice.
Hiring an Electric Car
If you're looking for zero-emissions vehicles, however, most major rental brands won't be able to help you. For now, the availability of electric rental cars remains rather limited but increasingly rental companies are offering the likes of the Citroen C1 ev'ie, a four-seat electric car that can hit 60mph and has a range of 75mph.
Benefits of Hiring an Eco Car
Electric car hire is likely to become poplar in London in the coming years as drivers get to enjoy a range of benefits such as free parking, free recharging at designated points and free entry to the congestion zone. Not to mention significantly lower fuel costs.