Sure, bikes are still by far the best. But the roll out of the Nissan Leaf has shown the world that cars can also be far greener than our current, internal combustion engine dinosaurs. Yet cars are heavy, resource intensive things. So how they are made, and how they are transported to market, is also a major concern if they are going to remain a part of a sustainable system of mobility.
That's why Nissan's announcement that it has unveiled an energy efficient car carrier is so important. The Nichio Maru features a low friction hull for a smoother ride through the water (is aquadynamic a real word?), an electronically controlled diesel engine, LED lighting and a sizable array of solar panels on the roof. The company says that it should save 1,400 tons of fuel annually compared to a similar-sized conventional car carrier.
This is one more encouraging sign of industry-wide innovation in the shipping industry. From kite-powered ships through cutting cruising speeds to injecting bubbles along the hull of a ship, there is significant potential for sizable energy savings in the polluting and fuel hungry shipping business.
If this conversation with Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn is anything to go by, there's at least one major corporation that gets the urgency of reforming our transportation and freight systems from the ground up.