Need for speed: eco cars

With environmental issues high on the global agenda, aspirational cars of today must offer an attractive combination of looks, performance and sustainability

Just as the fashionable architecture of today is eco-efficient, gourmet restaurants are green-savvy and dream holiday spas are eminently sustainable, for the wealthy technophile the future of driving is most definitely electric.

Sports car enthusiasts all over the world are becoming increasingly conscious of the need to consider fuel consumption and carbon emissions – in addition to aesthetics – when it comes to vehicles, resulting in a new trend for status symbols that combine luxury and green. 

Californians have been leading the way in stylish eco transport for some time, and Hollywood ambassadors for aspirational green luxury include Leonardo DiCaprio with his early adoption of the hybrid Toyota Prius and Arnold Schwarzenegger with the all-electric Tesla Roadster. The latest incarnation of the luxury eco-car to reach the market is the Fisker Karma, a plug-in hybrid that gives drivers the ability to run emission free on demand.

According to Fisker Automotive’s Executive Chairman and Co-founder, Henrik Fisker, “the Karma offers a unique package of design, performance, exclusivity and efficiency.” It might be the world’s first luxury electric vehicle, but its environmental credentials don’t mean its letting go of performance – under the bonnet a powerful engine ensures it goes up to 40 miles on battery power and reaches speeds of 60mph in just 6.3 seconds.

With a background in designing for some of the top names in the auto industry and a slew of contemporary design icons in his portfolio - including the BMW Z8 and Aston Martin DB9 - Fisker launched his eponymous car last year in the US. It has also been sparkling in the windows of London’s illustrious Harrods department store, while the next outlet on his world map is a showroom in Dubai Festival City.
Innovative environmental features include the use of repurposed wood from sunken logs from rivers and lakes in the USA for the interior trim, and solar energy receptors in the glass roof. “We don’t have to sacrifice the emotional things that make us fall in love with cars to be responsible,” highlights Fisker. 

With the bar now set for luxurious and eco-friendly vehicles, environmental solutions will no doubt become a vital component of any new models brought to market.