Fuel-efficient 'Twingo Smile' should be given support

5 September 2006

Fuel-efficient 'Twingo Smile' should be given support

Europe's most fuel-efficient car has been allowed to sit gathering dust for the last decade. According to SP Euro-MP Erik Meijer, who sits on the European Parliament's Transport Committee, it is high time that production and sales of this car – the Twingo Smile, which does 30 km to the litre, or about 90 mpg – were given a stimulus. “I don't think we should sit around waiting for China to realise its earning potential," says Mr Meijer, who today asked the European Commission to consider the introduction of concrete measures to promote the vehicle.

Erik MeijerIt was as long ago as September 1996 that Greenpeace Germany presented this revolutionary petrol-fuelled but super-efficient car. The Twingo Smile was developed by Swiss firm Wenko, which usually specialises in racing cars, on the basis of the Renault Twingo. By virtue of improved streamlining, weight reduction techniques including a much lighter motor, and a system of high-pressure known as ‘supercharging’, the Smile can achieve fuel consumption rates of 30km/l (roughly 90 mpg) over a distance of 1000 kms (621 miles). "That's half the fuel of a comparable conventional car," Meijer points out. "If after ten years European car manufacturers aren't themselves willing to start production we must come forward with legislation which will induce them to do so."

The number of cars on the road is increasing, as is the number of kms per car driven and the amount of particulate and CO2 pollution. “That's directly in conflict with the Kyoto targets," says Meijer. "Clearly technological progress in the car industry has not been able to keep up. It is therefore hard to swallow the fact that Europe's most fuel-efficient car has not been brought into production."

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