Climate Neutral Driving...for Dummies?


Sometimes it is tricky to know where good intentions end and greenwash begins, and Volvo's line of Flexifuel cars, available in Europe, seems to toe the line. The V70 Flexifuel - recently released for sale in Sweden - runs on regular gas or ethanol E85. In addition to the already available V50 and the S40, Volvo also just announced the sporty C30 will also be made available as a Flexifuel racing car.

Putting aside all the contentious issues around ethanol, Volvo is calling Flexifuel vehicles 'eco-cars' and has big ad spreads in Swedish papers with headlines such as, "New Volvo V70 Flexifuel - a blend of ethanol and wind power." But wait...what's wind got to do with it?Well, turns out that with each Flexifuel vehicle purchased, Volvo will buy wind power certificates of emissions reduction to help offset the estimated CO2 emissions for the first 45,000 kilometers (27,000 miles) the car is driven. Volvo's calling this climate neutral driving.

Tricorona, the Swedish company Volvo is buying the certificates from, is offsetting the emissions of Flexifuel cars by investing in Kyoto Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects, in this case wind farms in China. A Volvo spokesman said the only reason the company wasn't just putting up wind turbines at home in Sweden was that it thought getting wind farm permits would take too long.

But wait, there's more! Buy a Swedish V70 Flexifuel and you get to attend a free course in safe and environmently-friendly driving skills, get lifetime discounts on your purchases of E85 and pay less to rent eco-cars at Hertz. The two guys and the houseplant are not included, however. Volvo says it expects to sell 7,000 Flexifuel vehicles by year's end, mostly in Sweden. No plans at the present to introduce Flexifuels to the US market.
::VolvoV70 (in Swedish but still a cool site)

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