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car-2-go-image.jpgSuper simple car-sharing service car2go has launched in the capital this week, bringing a fleet of smart cars to Londoners who want to get around but don't want the hassle of looking after and paying a small fortune for their own wheels.

The car2go service from Daimler and Europcar works a bit like the popular Barclays "Boris bikes" we're all so used to seeing whizz around London. You register with car2go and you're sent a membership card, you then locate a car and activate it by swiping your card against the reader on the window, drive it around as much as you like and then return it to any "Home Area". As we're such geeks here at HippyShopper, we were really happy to hear that there's an app to makes the whole process even easier too, allowing users to locate the nearest available car2go car wherever they are.

The service is already popular in 16 cities across the globe and it's now here in London after being initially rolled out to the boroughs of Islington and Sutton to begin with.

Stefan Mueller, CEO of car2go Europe, said:

"A lot of Londoners don't need or want a car all the time but enjoy the freedom that driving brings. car2go gives the best of both worlds - the ability to go where you want, when you want - and in comfort - but without all the costs associated with owning, running and insuring a car full-time."

That's essentially what's made Boris bikes such a staple part of London transport. It'd be great to have a car, bike or even some crazy helicopter all the time, but we're busy, we don't have much space and wow can us Londoners drink, so we're just broke most of the time anyway.

As you'd expect car2go isn't dirt cheap, it'll cost you 35p per minute to drive around the city, which will be billed directly to your account. But for the odd important journey and taking your Christmas shopping home without losing the will to live on the bus, it's totally worth it.

However, it's not just all about saving you money and allowing you to be lazy now and again, the car2go cars are based on the smart mhd, an efficient, compact two-seater which emits just 98g/km of CO2. So you're kinda doing your bit for the environment too by not blowing what little money you have on your own car. Or at least that's what we're going to tell ourselves next time we hop in one...

There are a number of similar car-sharing services available, especially here in London, but car2go is arguably the most user-friendly, allowing you to just swipe in and out of cars when you need to with ease.

Of course we don't imagine every Londoner will be battling for the car2go vehicles from the word go as much as they did (and still do) for the Boris bikes, but for one-off journeys they're a perfect solution and much cheaper than owning an actual car.

Until the end of this year customers can register for car2go and get 30 minutes of driving loaded onto their accounts, so if you're interested sign up soon.

For more info visit: https://www.car2go.com

Via ShinyShiny

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With over 1.5 million members already sharing more than six million trips per year in Europe (France, Spain and more recently the UK), BlablaCar has created a fast growing community that connects drivers who have empty seats with people looking for a lift. 


Part travel site, part social network, www.blablacar.com creates a trust network allowing users to post details about themselves and rate each other on a range of criteria, from performance and reliability, to how chatty they are. Having recently launched in the UK, the company has grown into Europe’s most active people-to-people car sharing community in just a few years, recently announcing that its community has shared over 1 billion kilometres on the road!


 


The success is attributed to crippling petrol prices, which have increased by an extraordinary 41% in just four years, with drivers looking for ways to share the burden of rocketing petrol costs on journeys they are already making. Drivers could earn as much as £2,200 per annum by only sharing 150 miles of travel per week while passengers find it is an extremely cost effective alternative to any other form of transport on their chosen route. 


 


BlablaCar drivers have saved over £100m since January 2009, making it one of the best money saving sites for motorists. In the process this has saved 200,000 tons of CO2 from polluting the atmosphere. With BlablaCar you can earn/save money and save the environment in a sociable way!


 


To promote the service BlablaCar is rewarding UK drivers sharing their journeys between the North West (including Manchester, Liverpool, Oxford, Birmingham) and London with £500 in cash. Anyone driving between the North West and London can join by posting their trip on BlablaCarBlablaCar team members will act as genuine passengers on the site and hand £500 to the selected winning drivers! (More details on www.blablacar.com/london2NW).

 



 

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Electric CarA number of car manufacturers have made electric, hybrid and low-CO2 emitting vehicles over the past few years, including the likes of Fiat, Honda and Citroen, as well as more niche brands like Tesla Motors.

Most people see these cars as brilliant ideas, but they're often considered a bit too pricey or high maintenance, so reserve a space in the idea of the perfect world we'd all love to live in, where there's also global peace, no diseases and calorie-free cake.

Well now it seems that the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, wants to make that dream a reality after he unveiled ambitious plans to ensure all taxis in the city are electric in ten years, a project he's dubbed Source London. Wow that guy loves transport doesn't he?!

The announcement was made at EcoVelocity, a huge motor show specialising in electric and low-carbon motors. The show will be running at Battersea power station this weekend and looks like it'll be interesting to lovers of design, green tech AND fancy cars.

By Becca Caddy

[Via Metro]

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So you're en route to doing a spot of environmentally-friendly shopping and for the most part, you'll be using your own two feet to get around. Again, for the most part. You may have not yet found a comfortable green alternative of transport so the bus or car will just have to slightly cramp your sustainable lifestyle. Well here's something that just may save you and I a guilt trip...

It's GOGREENCAR. A green alternative to cabs, the service operates a 40-strong fleet of hybrid cars that boast 60% less pollutant emissions than the regular black cab. GOGREENCAR was founded in 2007 and, like all green initiatives, is a case of fuelling wonderfully massive environmental change through little schemes and great passion.The service is economical as well as ecological, claiming to charge rates that are easy on the wallet. Plus, they are a gigantic leap up from the Hackney cabs first mentioned four years ago, claiming to emit 98% less Nitrogen Oxide.

So which HEV did the eco-friendly service opt for? The top-selling Toyota Prius of course, in addition to Lexus RS. GOGREENCAR's site reminds us the Prius uses a fuel-efficient electric motor, and its engines drives the generator to both power the electric motors and charge the battery. Acceleration is supplemented by more battery power and any energy recovered, for instance from braking, is kept for later use. The Prius is THE number one choice for enviro-friendly car services.

Having said that, there are other environmentally-friendly cab services like Climatecars and Greentomatocars, taking online bookings and calls for both corporate and private hire. Also, GOGREENCAR offer a weekly prize draw to win a free trip in their GOGREENCAR!

Those tiny eco cars always look like shoes. And here's another one: the EN-V concept car. Though given how weird this one is, we're not sure it counts as a car in the first place, resembling a covered Segway more than the average hatchback.

The EN V (short for Electric networked vehicle) only has two wheels, has a joystick instead of a steering wheel, and sort of raises itself up when you get it going like some thing from power rangers.

It doesn't have any aircushions or crash barriers, but does have a smart way of knowing that you're about to hit another object. OH YES - and it drives itself, so don't worry about that bit.

Via ShinyShiny.tv

In London, 4x4 drivers have recently been targeted by the Climate Rush group. The group founded by Tamsin Omond, the grand-daughter of Baronet Sir Thomas Lees, has modified so called Chelsea Tractors license plates with stickers reading "CO2 Kills".

A statement on the groups website reads: 'If people need to drive, we suggest that a 5litre, 4x4 tractor is a little over the top for our urban streets' and to be honest we agree.

If you really need a car in London and want to avoid being targeted by the climate rush groups latest action why not check out one of these great low-polluting cars that are also exempt from the Congestion Charge.

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Ford Motor Company has unveiled its new Focus Electric - the company's first-ever all-electric passenger car.

The zero-CO2-emissions, gasoline-free version of Ford's popular Focus, is the companies first venture into electric vehicles and is positioned as a direct competitor to the Nissan Leaf. The car is to be the flagship of the company's growing fleet of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles which will be coming to North America and Europe by 2013.

Ford's entry into the electric car market is significant for a number of reasons. Not only does it demonstrates that electric technology is becoming serious business, but it also emphasizes the American auto industry's commitment to electric vehicles in the hope of rescuing the industry.

"Focus Electric is the flagship of our new family of electrified vehicles, showcasing our commitment to offer consumers choice when it comes to fuel-efficient or fuel-free vehicles," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president for Global Product Development. "Its advanced powertrain will deliver significant energy efficiency advantages and zero CO2 emissions without compromising driving enjoyment. And its suite of smart driver information technologies will transform the way customers think about energy usage and their transportation needs."

Ford has announced that the Focus Electric will launch in late 2011. The car will offer a mile-per-gallon equivalent better than Chevrolet Volt and competitive with other battery electric vehicles. It is also expected that a full recharge will take three to four hours at home with the 240-volt charge station -half the charge time of the Nissan Leaf.

The Focus Electric also introduces a whole host of new features and technologies - including a unique version of the MyFord Touch driver connect system especially for electric vehicles, a new value charging feature powered by Microsoft and a smartphone app called MyFord Mobile that helps plug-in owners control their vehicles remotely.

Electric vehicles are nothing new and hybrid vehicles, such as the Prius, have already proved themselves to be a successful, however, the American automotive industry has been a bit slow in taking on board the technology. So with Ford finally entering the game, it will be interesting to see how electric vehicles take off.

As far as a PR stunts for saving the planet go, it has to be said that building a boat made from plastic bottles is a pretty interesting one. When I say 'boat' I'm not talking about a model boat, a dingy, or a canoe but a fully functioning 60ft catamaran made from 12,500 recycled plastic bottles.

Today The Plastiki completed its expedition after 128 days at sea, arriving in Sydney Harbor having sailed 8,000 nautical miles.

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"If there's waste, it's badly designed in the first place, and we need to start taking a serious look at the way we produce and design every product we use in our lives" explains David de Rothschild who, after discovering the damage that plastic waste was causing to the world's oceans, decided to become part of the change he talks about and The Plastiki was born.

As well as the several thousand recycled bottles, the rest of the boat's design lives up to its eco-friendly ethic with materials chosen because they are organic, recycled or recyclable. Even the glue that holds the whole thing together made organically from cashew nut husks and sugarcane.

The boat was designed to be fully sustainable, and includes electricity bikes, wind turbines, and even generates its own drinkable water for the crew.

If you want to find out more there is a lot of fascinating information about the boat, the voyage and the aims of the project on The Plastiki's website. Just click HERE


See the video below for the Plastiki story so far:

With claims of being the 'Leading, Environmentally Friendly, Affordable, Family Car', it's no surprise than Nissan's recent announcement to produce their electric Leaf in the UK has caused bit of a buzz in the world of green cars.

The last decade has seen that eco-friendly cars don't have to mean questionable designs, poor efficiency and impracticality. And while hybrids have been leading the market, with everything from hydrogen to seaweed power in between, fully electric cars are now proving that their performance is up to par.

So here are some green car highlights, summed up into a handy list of pros and cons.

CLICK THE IMAGE TO START THE GALLERY

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Cars and eco friendly don't really tend to fall into the same category as each other- unless you're talking about electric cars that is. Even so, style normally seems to be lacking from these economical numbers (for example) but the latest model from Smart has managed to tick all the right boxes.

Not only does its lush green and white leather interior look eminently desirable, they've also given it some features that would make the most hardened eco warrior feel all warm and cuddly inside.

Read on to find out more about those features!

citroen ev'ie.jpgGone are the days when driving electric was only for abnormally slim couples who never carried luggage: The C1 e'vie, claiming to be the UK's first fully electric family car, has just been launched in the UK. The comfy 4-seater uses lithium ion batteries to power and unlike previous generation electric cars like the G-Wiz, doesn't dodge around EU regs by being legally classed as quadricycles. It's a car!

Read on to find out more

Jodie Kidd takes Fiat's eco:Drive

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Jodie Kidd was the first person in the UK to the Fiat eco test drive; a new initiative aimed at showing the benefits of environmentally friendly driving. This scheme is being piloted at ten Fiat dealerships throughout Greater London, and could be available across the UK if it is successful.

Similar to a usual test drive, the eco:Drive also measures a driver's performance in environmental terms through the use of a USB stick which plugs into the car at the start of the drive. When the information is transferred to a computer, it can tell you how you performed and how you can then improve on your driving.

[Via Autobloggreen via ecorazzi]

Related: Carbon offset your baby, driving and flights | Driving tests to assess green car skills

ecochauffeur_logo.jpgITCEC it might not seem like the greatest of ideas to launch a chauffeur service. However Ecochauffeur are entering the market with the aim of converting all those cigar-chomping bigwigs who are just too good to travel by bus into caring tree-huggers.

Ecochauffeur have introduced Lexus GS 450h SE-L Hybrids into their fleet of motors, which means VIPs can be transported in a vehicle which is reported to be 25% more cost effective on fuel than your usual chauffeur service cars like Mercedes and BMWs.

In addition to greener vehicles, the company partakes in carbon offsetting by investing through Climate Care. However, despite the Hybrids costing 20% less to hire than gas-guzzlers, clients apparently still prefer the cache that comes with rolling up in a traditional A-List motor - company director Will Senior admits: "At the moment the reality is that the S-class Mercedes, BMW 7 series, Range Rover, Bentley Continental Flying Spur and Rolls-Royce Phantom make up the majority of our fleet."

[source: Times Online]

electric_mini-thumb-240x288.jpgBy virtue of being small, the mini is already one of the less polluting vehicles on the roads, but this model goes one better and has an electric engine, bumping it up into the seriously green car category.

The Mini E is a zero emission, two seater version of the famous 3 door hatchback, swapping a gas guzzling internal combustion engine for a lithium-ion battery powered motor.

london_taxi.jpgLondon's iconic Hackney cabs have been subject to plenty of makeovers in the past, but never before has anyone tried to make them greener. At present, the taxis run on diesel, and aren't especially efficient but all this is about to change: the Chinese automaker that co-owns the company that produces black London taxis, has met UK government officials about bringing electric-powered cabs to the UK capital. This would result in a fleet of super-green plug-in taxis that could play a major role in reducing the capital's carbon emissions; a prospect that Mayor Boris is already pretty excited about. Current estimates put the rollout of the first 'green' black cabs at being only a year away. Let's just hope there'll be people who can afford to pay the fares by then!

[Via the Londonist]

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