Two of the world’s largest auto manufacturers, Mitsubishi Motors and Toyota from Japan, along with China’s BYD Auto, will showcase their newest green car innovations this September at the annual Driving Sustainability international conference of industry experts being held for the third time in Reykjavik, Iceland.
The import costs for liquid fossil fuels to Iceland for the country’s 200,000 cars has practically doubled in a year due to a dramatic devaluation of the currency following the collapse of the country’s financial system.
Practically all of Iceland’s electricity demand is already met with renewable energy. The country is a world leader in harnessing renewable energy with 80 percent of its total energy consumption from hydro- and geothermal sources. The remainder, mostly fossil fuels, is consumed by the transport and fishing sectors.
“Systematic change in electricity generation was implemented here a couple of decades back, so cars are our next target for a 100 percent sustainable energy society,” says Teitur Torkelsson, managing partner of FTO, and chief organiser of Driving Sustainability.
“The first target is increasing the proportion of Iceland’s vehicle fleet in running on biogas, domestically produced from a Reykjavík landfill. Secondly, the government has for some time now been working on revamping the import duty structure for cars to minimise fuel imports. This will make fuel-efficient cars considerably more affordable and gas-guzzlers more expensive. Thirdly we should expect some financial incentives for zero emission cars that can run on domestically produced green electricity. If, or perhaps I should say when, electric cars become competitive in quality and price, Icelanders will have no problem running all their cars on domestically produced sustainable energy. So this small country has a good chance at being the first in the world.”
“Previous Iceland sustainable energy conferences have been goodB2B and news generating events and I believe it will be so again this year,” says Torkelsson. The 2008 event culminated in the signing of an agreement between the Icelandic government, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on fleet testing of the electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV in Iceland and the development of a service network and infrastructure for such cars.
Further information on the Driving Sustainability conference 2009 can be found on: www.drivingsustainability.org