Burn baby burn – Telegraph

3 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Burn baby burn – Telegraph
Lexus RX400h

Burn baby burn

wanna burn a Hummer? and extreme, yes, but for some environmental activists it is the ultimate worth risking … Why?

They say it’s burning fossil fuels carbon dioxide (CO2) and is one of the fastest-growing man-made sources of greenhouse gas. Urban or Sport Utility Vehicles with their drag-inducing heavy four-wheel-drive systems and engines, are the tall poppies on a waste mountain and the epitome of a attitude among developed towards global warming. So, too much gas and we’ll burn car.

Two years ago, environmentalists went on the rampage in the home of the urban SUV, California, where even the Arnold Schwarzenegger, drives a Hummer H1. Activists torched 40 H2s and moved the phrase Hummer into the lexicon of modern as a euphemism for extreme environmental – an organisation called the Liberation Front later responsibility. Sporadic SUV-burning have continued since.

So has the breathed a sigh of relief? Er, not Hummer sales are largely and as for the atmospheric effect of setting 40 on fire.

Burning a car creates a nasty cocktail of chemicals, Dr Richard Hull of Bolton Fire Materials Laboratory. carbon monoxide and you get hydrogen from the seat foam, chlorides from the PVC as well. And some German work, they set light to a brand-new VW and measured the gases coming which suggests there’ll be a amount of dioxins, too.

As for the to global warming, for each of carbon-based organic material get about three-and-a-half times the of carbon dioxide. So if a big SUV contains, half a tonne of organic you’re looking at about tonnes of carbon dioxide.

In words, the Earth Liberation created, along with of poisonous chemicals, about 60 of global-warming carbon dioxide or the equivalent of driving every one of vehicles more than miles. Hummers, whether are being burned or driven, are not good for the environment.

British environmentalists appear to be extreme. Two weeks ago, 30 of Greenpeace handcuffed themselves to vehicles on Land Rover’s production line. When the had unshackled the ringleaders, Land directors invited them up to the for tea and a digestive biscuit to discuss the

We’ve taken direct to stop Land Rover these gas-guzzling urban said Greenpeace executive and former Labour government Stephen Tindale. His organisation While Land Rover’s company, Ford, is losing in America making gas-guzzling 4x4s, Asian companies are on making fuel-efficient vehicles.

Is what you told Tony Mr Tindale? Because it isn’t true. Toyota and Nissan their reputations with big such as the Landcruiser and Patrol, and companies are now making their own big SUVs in America, while is making its gargantuan Ridgeline pick-up truck in Canada.

All the car makers are doing very with their 4×4 utilities in Europe as well, and in than two years Nissan be offering no fewer than 4×4 SUVs to the British In the world of who’s doing for the environment, nothing is what it

It would be interesting to see what makes of the new vehicle you see here, the sold under Toyota’s Lexus brand. Powered by innovative hybrid petrol/electric which first saw service in the the RX400h is a two-tonne, high-riding, vehicle capable of 124mph and in 7.6 seconds. Yet it will also an average of 35mpg in the Combined EU against its competitors’ equivalents of

So, it’s the sports ute that save the world. Or is it?

The Lexus RX is a American urban SUV. expensive, with the rugged all-wheel drive and tall favoured by affluent Californians, but little off-road ability. The RX300 version has a 3.0-litre V6 engine, which emits 288 of CO2 per kilometre.

This RX400h hybrid is almost identical in appearance, but is heavier and emits just of CO2. Given an annual of, say, 10,000, the hybrid of the RX will save about quarters of a tonne of CO2, is equivalent to that produced by the normal metabolism of four or by one man cycling 27,000 miles, and less than was contributed by journalist in the flying, driving and involved in the Athens launch of the last week.

Still, quarters of a tonne is a contribution and you be hearing a fair bit about hybrid SUV in the coming months. journalists on the launch wanted to get mayor and noted Hummer-hater Ken into the driving seat. Not Livingstone is stupid enough to be into the RX400h, especially as his form of transport, the London is a lot less environmental, producing of CO2.

Nevertheless, if he did find in the cabin with a hostile he might be moved to point out given the car’s weight of than two tonnes, its environmental will make little if it runs you over.

He might reasonably ask whether it needed to be so fast. In America, the Lexus is sold as a vehicle that V8 power with the economy of a V6. is a message that will more redolence over where there is already an waiting list.

In Europe, tend to buy SUVs with a big instead, although large, models do have a certain cachet, as if their owners are I can afford not to care.

There’s a slight problem with the Toyota’s hybrid system is economical while shunting urban areas, where it is to store and reuse the energy by braking. On a straight, long the Toyota Prius drinks a deal more fuel its quoted EU Combined figure of – nearer to 45mpg, in There is no reason to think the will be any different and long-run in the mid to high 20s is a distinct possibility.

This really is an SUV designed for urban areas.

It’s tiny inside. While plenty of room in the front and lots of storage spaces, in the the batteries and their cooling are arranged in panels under the seats, which raises the height and reduces headroom. The floor is very high to the rear electric motor and so your flunkies will be to load the bags of JP Tod, and Guess into the back you are double-parked on Rodeo Drive.

It is made and attractive, with materials and a clever design in places echoes that of the BMW The driving position is pretty the seats supportive and comfortable and the conveys vital information and attractively. The centre console has a display for navigation, which as an active diagram showing power is being made and the on-board computer has decided to do it.

This is undoubtedly a clever and, with split-second needing to be made on the most use of the two electric motors and the petrol the on-board computer is huge. the petrol engine and the bigger of the two motors drive the front via an epicyclic gearbox, independently or depending on how much performance is

A separate generator charges the pack when required, either by the petrol engine, power can be split and diverted by the or over-run braking. The rear motor acts independently of the power units and is activated the computer detects wheel

In practice, you don’t need to any of this, or about the motor characteristics of the planetary gears. You climb in, select drive and the throttle. Press gently if the batteries are sufficiently charged, the won’t even start the Lexus will glide around the car park, creeping up on without warning.

Press and the engine starts and the Lexus leap forward. Ask for full and the engine revs frantically, the rubber-band gearing feel of the old Dafs. In normal driving however, the engine mostly the action of the throttle, so the Lexus like a conventional, automatic

It’s fast, of course, but the impression is of refinement. At speed, the is virtually soundless; just a of wind around the top of the screen the fact that your is in excess of three figures. The is superb, stable and comfortable. The is not quite such a success,

This is mainly to do with the which is wildly affected by the motor’s torque; it goes and squirrelly just when you absolute control. The steering goes awol when up in corners, too, with disconcertingly switching between the two wheels – it feels

The brakes aren’t up to much, even though the Lexus an electronic by-wire braking that calculates the amount of required at each wheel. The it puts in never feels enough to stop you, so you some more and then the dips and all the passengers are thrown their belts. For a company the of Toyota (rumoured to be soon over from GM as the world’s car maker), the steering and brakes woefully under-developed.

Like SUVs, the Lexus is a complete in style over function, nothing particularly well, but most it is also completely to drive. I’ve had to refer to my for this test, because from the two things that wrong with it, there is so character and soul in the car that like wallpaper on wheels. might not overly worry its who, if the Lexus Magazine is any seem more preoccupied golf than global

As for Greenpeace, it’s the dangerous plank of using the end to the means, so making untruthful and singling out Land Rover and jobs are seen as expedient of getting the environmental message It’s a rotten strategy, and deserves to be pilloried for it. Besides, we are to see an extra tax on big, heavy within the next few years which few could argue

In the meantime, if you really want to a difference to the environment, go and buy a bicycle and a Skoda Octavia estate and it parked as much as you can.

Perhaps the biggest irony is the only thing that the RX400h from its gas-guzzling sister is a discreet boot which will be invisible to the Hummer-burning mob when it chances your Lexus late one night in the car park. The current to the American fire service is when burned, the nickel hydride batteries in eco-friendly cars create potassium which reacts vigorously certain metals and organic to create hydrogen. Any student of will tell you that and hydrogen are an excitable mix, so that they might you, your car and the eco-activists off to a far hotter than anything by global warming.

Me? I’ll to writing inflammatory things environmentalists: it’s so much

Lexus RX400h [tech/spec]

£35,485-£44,350. On sale June 15.

3,311cc V6 petrol with per bank, four valves per and variable valve timing; at 5,600rpm and 212lb ft of torque at Front 650-volt electric 165bhp from 4,100-5,000rpm, ft from 0-2,000rpm. Rear electric motor: 66bhp 4,610-5,120rpm, 96lb ft from

Four-wheel drive with and electric power to the front via epicyclic transmission and single motor power to the rear

Performance: top speed 124mph, in 7.6sec, EU Urban fuel 31mpg, CO2 emissions 192g/km.

We Relatively good economy,

We don’t like Dreadful lack of interior space, appearance, environmental tokenism. another SUV.

Alternatives BMW X5 SE, £48,110. Land Rover 4.4 V8 S, £37,995. Mercedes-Benz ML 500, Porsche Cayenne 4.5 V8S, Volkswagen Touareg 4.2 V8 SE, £44,255.

XC90T6S, £34,515.

Lexus RX400h
Lexus RX400h
Lexus RX400h
Lexus RX400h
Lexus RX400h
Lexus RX400h
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