“That is hardly surprising, after all, in this test we evaluate greenhouse gases, pollutant emissions and energy consumption of the drive on the roller test bench and on the road, that is, only when driving. Electric vehicles naturally have no emissions when driving and are also very efficient in terms of consumption,” explains Max Lang, vehicle and environmental expert at the mobility club.
An ecologically practically equivalent alternative is the fuel cell-operated Hyundai Nexo, which is the first non-battery-electric car to also achieve five stars in the Green NCAP. “The efficiency of fuel cell technology is a little lower because there are losses when converting hydrogen into electricity. Conversely, the range is significantly higher than that of a battery-powered vehicle,” explains the ÖAMTC expert. “The biggest obstacle to the spread of this technology is currently still the lack of appropriate filling stations. Once the network is denser and the hydrogen is obtained from renewable energy sources, this technology should ensure an even more positive environmental balance than pure electric vehicles do.
Big differences between hybrids and internal combustion engines
There are two approaches for hybrid vehicles: gasoline and diesel hybrids charge an electric motor via the combustion engine while driving, while plug-in hybrids can also be charged via a cable from the power grid. “Both concepts are environmentally friendly. In the Green NCAP, the plug-in hybrid Toyota Prius in particular was able to convince with four stars,” reports Lang. The Toyota Yaris is doing well as a petrol hybrid with 3.5 stars, as is the plug-in hybrid Kia Niro. On the other hand, the Mitsubishi Outlander (plug-in), which only achieved two stars and thus fared significantly worse than the majority of gasoline and diesel vehicles, is less good. “The differences are explained by the mass, size and aerodynamics of the vehicles, but they also have to do with how well the electric drive has been integrated,” explains Lang. In general, the ÖAMTC expert advises owners of plug-in hybrids to charge their vehicles as often and as fully as possible in order to be able to fully exploit the potential.
There is still a wide spread of results for vehicles with combustion engines. With the Skoda Octavia (diesel) and the VW Golf (petrol), two cars with 3.5 stars are well ahead and show how much the combustion engine has also developed in terms of environmental compatibility. “At the lower end of the field, Hyundai Tucson and Land Rover Discovery are once again two large, heavy vehicles,” says Lang. “Overall, the relatively large differences in the rating can be traced back to the dimensions of the internal combustion engines, but of course also to the exhaust gas aftertreatment.”
Overview of vehicles and results
A description of all tests carried out as part of Green NCAP and detailed results of all cars tested so far can be found at www.greenncap.com.