Plugging into a clean, green future

For those who held any doubt about the rapid progress of green cars, a new report suggests that cleanness and efficiency are on top of the agenda for automakers across the world.

One of the main findings from KPMG's 2014 Global Automotive Executive Survey, covering more than 200 executives in car manufacturing, supplying and dealing businesses worldwide, was that plug-in hybrid vehicles are likely to face a strong increase in demand in the following years.

More advanced technologies such as fuel cell cars were also pinpointed as key growth areas. In fact, 69 per cent of respondents believed this technology is "critical to future growth".

"Continuing consumer concern with fuel efficiency and pollution is urging automakers to focus on plug-in hybrid and fuel cell technologies for the near future," said Mathieu Meyer, global head of automotive at KPMG.

To make room for these technologies, however, manufacturers will have to focus on reducing production of traditional internal combustion engines for the time being. According to the KPMG survey, 76 per cent of respondents said downsizing and optimising these engines is a key issue to ensure it doesn't slow the development of newer engine types.

Doing so will ensure manufacturers can "meet the needs of the current marketplace", said Mr Meyer.

There are no real surprises behind the ever-increasing popularity of green cars, given that many consumers now want the top-of-the-range fuel efficient cars. The KPMG survey revealed that 92 per cent of executives believe lowering fuel consumption is a top priority for car buyers.

Any fleet manager would do well to seriously consider investing in green cars such as plug-in hybrids if they haven't already done so. In addition to potentially saving substantial costs for your fleet, you'll be doing your part to conserve the environment.