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DRIVETIME: MOTORING: Government's green gaffe.

THE government has emerged with a red face after it announced a green car challenge this week.

On Tuesday it urged car makers to build a model to cover 1,000 miles between refuelling. Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said he also wanted the industry to produce the ultra-low carbon emissions car within eight years.

He called for a five-door family car, but a three-door model already exists.

Volkswagen has had one in production for some time that meets or exceeds the critical standards set in the challenge.

The Volkswagen Lupo 3L TDI, which is a full four-seater production car and available in Europe, achieves a government combined cycle figure fuel consumption of 94.1mpg and emits just 81g/km carbon dioxide.

On this basis it also comes close to the government's target of 1,000 miles, at 827 miles. However, it is only a three-door and the economy is achieved on only 8.8 gallons, where the government allows a tank capacity of 12 imperial gallons.

In economy tests, Japanese doctor Dr Shigeru Miyano did 1279.3 miles on one tank of just 40 litres, to return an average fuel consumption of 145.2mpg.

Either a Volkswagen Lupo 1.4 TDI Sport or a Lupo 3L TDI model has won the Fleet World RAC MPG Marathon outright every year. This RAC-observed competition provides fuel consumption comparisons in real driving conditions between all types of production car over two days and a distance of over 400 miles.

In winning the competition for three years in a row, Volkswagen has consistently demonstrated the best fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions of any other vehicle in the competition including specialist and much more costly hybrid vehicles which combine internal combustion and electric power.

The Lupo 3L TDI is also in the Guinness Book of Records for returning the lowest fuel consumption, 119.48 mpg, while driving around the British coastline. Volkswagen spokesman Paul Buckett says the Lupo 3L is not currently imported into the UK because it uses a number of specialist components in assembly. In Europe it accounts for just 10pc of total Lupo registrations. But he added that research is continuing into high mileage and very clean cars and a future model might be imported.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:May 9, 2003
Words:373
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