October 15, 2004

Alternative fuel vehicles show improvements at Challenge Bibendum

Shanghai, China – Out of 150 vehicles presented at Challenge Bibendum 2004, 74 competed in vehicle performance tests, and more than 50% of them were battery- or fuel cell-powered, and a significant number of internal combustion engines using biofuels: 38 cars, 20 two-wheel vehicles, 1 truck and 15 buses.

China was strongly represented with 43 vehicles enrolled, including 20 two-wheel vehicles and 15 buses.

Vehicle performance was assessed on the basis of the following criteria and tests: acceleration, braking, slalom, rally, noise, fuel efficiency, local pollution, CO2 emissions, autonomy, and crash tests.

Average energy consumption was less than 5 litres per 100 km (or equivalent) for cars, with some vehicles achieving 3 litres/100 km. Diesel was highly competitive in this field, just like diesel hybrid, while very good results were also recorded for gasoline-powered hybrids.

Meanwhile, electric vehicles continue to post remarkable progress notably on the back of lithium-ion batteries that deliver range in excess of 300 km.

The carmakers who attended Challenge Bibendum 2004 also showed they could optimize conventional engines as well as propose realistic alternatives. Most fuel cell-powered vehicles presented this year for example post significant progress in terms of performance, reliability and integration of technologies.

With respect to local pollution, the internal combustion engines achieved further substantial progress. It is worth noting that one gasoline vehicle and one 4X4 hybrid SUV achieved pollution emissions which are so tiny they are almost unquantifiable. Another strong message that came out of this sixth Challenge Bibendum was that three vehicles targeted at the Chinese market meet Euro 4 emission standards, which gives them a key competitive advantage at a time when the Beijing government is about to apply Euro 3 standards.

When taking a closer view at CO2 emissions, overall performance data based on the well-to-tire cycle* (that takes into account the CO2 emissions resulting from the production of the energy used), show that biofuels score particularly well. Turning to hydrogen and electricity, performance levels depend on the mode of energy production.

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