Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?

green_car.jpg
Yesterday marked the opening of the Sexy Green Auto Show at the Eden Project bio theme park in Cornwall, UK. It’s a display meant to demonstrate that "green" cars (like the Ford Focus Flexi Fuel bio-ethanol number at right) don’t have to fit the clunky Birkenstock stereotype. As the Guardian notes,

[T]he main task of the world’s first exhibition of eco-conscious autos…is to convince us at least to give them a spin. This is no easy job. The range of green cars remains very limited and could never be described as sexy. …

Still, manufacturers are finally trying to make their green machines mean as well. From next year we will be able to buy the Tesla Roadster, an electric-powered sports car developed by Lotus. If consumers show more appetite for green cars, manufacturers will respond. And the imperative for us to rethink our transport system grows. As yesterday’s exhibition opened, it was announced that UK emissions of greenhouse gases actually rose last year. The biggest source of carbon emissions remains transport. If we won’t give up our cars we need to make them less harmful to the planet. Not sexy, perhaps, but true.

Of course, sex appeal is in the eye of the beholder. And in certain circles, arriving in a Prius (or, better yet, on a ten-speed) is more likely to get you a second date than pulling up in a Camaro.

But Americans are even less likely than Europeans to get out of their cars altogether, and the Guardian is right that consumer demand will have to drive innovation. Next week, the New York International Auto Show will come to the Javits Center, and Streetsblog will be there to report on the offerings — among which are a few "alternative fuel" options. We’ll let you know what we find and whether or not it turns us on.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Bono, Get a Grip — Stop Fetishizing Cars

|
We heard from a few people over the holiday break who were disgusted by the Jan. 2 New York Times op-ed from U2 front man — and celebrity environmentalist — Bono. In it, the pop star called for the "return of the automobile as a sexual object." In a blog post today, Streetsblog Network member […]

Black Cars to Go Green

|
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Wednesday that the hybrid changeover for yellow cabs will be extended to cover the city’s 10,000 black cars. Under a proposed rule change, the Taxi and Limousine Commission would require new licensed black cars to meet a 25 m.p.g. standard for city driving in 2009 and 30 m.p.g. in 2010 — […]
STREETSBLOG USA

Why Cyclists Love Green Bike Lanes

|
At the end of the day, it’s just paint. But green bike lanes and intersection treatments have a powerful appeal to cyclists, writes Dan Malouff at Beyond DC, because of what they say about streets: The real reason cyclists love green-painted bike lanes so much is simple: They send the clearest-possible message that roads are […]

In Amsterdam Cyclists Always Get the Green Light

|
The green wave of Odense, Denmark. Taking bicycle infrastructure to the next level, Amsterdam traffic engineers have created a "green wave"  along Raadhuisstraat. Cyclists riding at a speed of 9 to 11 miles per hour will never have to stop at a red light. Tests show that the cyclist "green wave" is helping buses move […]
STREETSBLOG USA

Study: Electric Cars Not So Green Unless Powered by Renewables

|
A study by the government of the Australian state of Victoria highlights the limits of electric cars, in isolation, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Victorian government’s ongoing “electric vehicle trial” [PDF] found that electric cars powered by coal may actually produce more carbon emissions than petroleum-fueled cars over the lifetime of the vehicle, from manufacturing […]