UNITED STATES—While those of us whose bedroom walls were once adorned with posters of gas-guzzling muscle cars and exotic European super cars gasped when news that Ferrari, Porsche, & McClaren would be turning to hybrid technology for their next super cars, many gear heads failed to realize that performance brands are amongst those leading the charge for a cleaner planet.
Sure, it is commendable that Acura has made a very clever hybrid power plant the basis for its second generation NSX, but is it really conceivable that automakers known for waging fossil fueled all-out-horsepower wars would go above and beyond to help clean up the planet?
It could easily be argued that the move to hybrid power trains coincides with the implementation of new Formula 1 rules. Among other things, these rules now include hybrid technology as an approved power train option. Many performance brands gradually migrate their proven F1 technology into their consumer product lines. Honda’s venerable V-TEC variable valve timing began life in Formula 1 before it ever saw duty in a production vehicle. Could the move to hybrid technology by Ferrari and its competitors simply be an example of race technology filtering down to the mainstream? Considering Ferrari owners as part of the “mainstream” is already a stretch, but one need only look outside of product line technology to find other evidence of environmentally conscience acts.
For example, on May 19th, BMW of North America announced its support of New York City parks for its TreesCount! 2015 program with a donation of 20 BMW i3 vehicles. With these all-electric vehicles, TreesCount! staff members and volunteers can easily navigate the five boroughs to map more than 600,000 street trees, helping the effort towards a greener future for the City of New York.
“BMW’s vision for a more sustainable future aligns closely with New York City Parks’ TreesCount! mission. We are proud to donate 20 BMW i3 vehicles to help the City collect data that will enable it to understand the environmental and economic benefits of the street trees and inspire a new generation of New Yorkers who care about their city,” said Manuel Sattig, Head of Brand Strategy and Communication, BMW of North America.
“We are so grateful for BMW’s support as we conduct our third street tree census across New York City. The innovative BMW i3 vehicles are a perfect fit with the new technology and mapping tools we are launching during Trees Count! 2015,” said Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, NYC Parks Commissioner.
Porsche flexed its environmentalist muscles earlier this year when the German sports car maker installed 24 Level 2 workplace electric vehicle chargers at its North American headquarters in Georgia at a cost undisclosed as of yet.
“As we continue into the future with electrified vehicles, charging stations are becoming vital not only for our corporate offices at One Porsche Drive, but also for our customers and dealerships as part of our sales and service offerings,” said Tim Quinn, vice president of AfterSales for Porsche Cars North America.
One could argue that neither carmaker carried out its respective environmentally friendly initiative with the bottom line in mind. In fact, BMW could even be diminishing its brand’s “exclusivity” by pressing its i3 into public duty. As the least expensive Porsche plug-in hybrid starts at a base price of $77,200*, it is difficult to conclude that Porsche North America’s investment in workplace electric vehicle chargers is merely a means to promote its own electric vehicle lineup. The fact that these 24 Level 2 chargers were general-use Georgia Power-sourced chargers rather than Porsche’s own proprietary E-Mobility chargers all but solidifies the argument that the move was environmentally motivated.
Are the aforementioned acts a sign that being green is finally transitioning from being the “hip” thing to do, to being a necessary step in achieving the sustainability of our planet? To weigh in on this topic, post questions or comments below, or if reading in print, email Kyle at email@example.com.
*Base price of Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid published by Porsche USA