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In a study that will probably make you scratch your head, two researchers from Victoria University in New Zealand concluded that the average mid-sized dog has a larger carbon footprint than your typical large V8-equipped SUV.
With the current trend towards lowering emissions from our transportation devices, it seems even dear old Santa is jumping on the bandwagon, albeit with assistance from Ford Motor Company.
According to Ford designer Paul Wraith, Santa’s team of nine reindeer produce the equivalent of a whopping 214,670 tons of CO2 emissions and, considering that the sleigh travels huge distances (some 200,237, 360 km/125,148,350 miles) Santa also has to deal with a hefty fuel bill of some £122 million ($195 million) for carrots.
As a result, in order to deal with both issues, Ford has developed a new sleigh with cutting edge technology , including a 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine which will help Santa save some 191,843 tonnes of CO2 and £110 million/$176 million on fuel costs, plus such features as Active Park Assist (useful for tight rooftop landings), SYNC (enabling Santa to remain in contact with the elves back at the North Pole, while staying en route, as well as listening to his favorite Christmas tunes); Active Blind Spot Monitoring (allowing Santa to keep an eye out for potential hazards such as aircraft when navigating the skies) and even a MyKey feature (meaning that during the off season, some of Santa’s cheekier elves aren’t tempted to take the sleigh out for joy rides).
“Our tongue may be firmly in cheek as we launch this sleigh design,” declared Wraith “but our heart is in the right place”. ” At Ford, we’re dreaming of a Green Christmas. We’re already thinking of the concept sleigh mark II. With electric vehicle battery technology developing all the time, we are keen to get to work on a zero-carbon version of our sleigh.”
Although Santa wasn’t available for comment due to his currently very busy schedule, Mrs Claus added that while “I am not looking forward to telling Donner and Blitzen the news [about the new sleigh], the polar bears in the North Pole will certainly welcome it.”
Telecom giant Verizon, in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, is making a huge push to acquire more fuel efficient vehicles. The company recently announced that it has bought 576 Chevy Silverado Hybrid pickups, the first of which will be delivered in July, from Fairway Motors, a GM dealer located in Hazelton, PA.
The Silverado Hybrid employs a two mode hybrid system with an electric motor and 6.0-liter gasoline fueled V8, which allows it to run on electric power alone at speeds up to 30 mph and also uses a cylinder deactivation system on the V8 to boost fuel economy. EPA rated fuel economy is set at 21-mpg city and 22-mpg highway. Yet power, torque and payload capacity rival other trucks on the market, with the Vortech V8 generating 332-hp and 367 ft-lbs of torque, allowing the Silverado Hybrid to haul loads in excess of 6000 lbs. In a statement to the press, Brian Small, Fleet and Commercial Operations general manager at GM, stated “we knew the Silverado Hybrid was the perfect fit [for Verizon] because of its outstanding city and highway miles per gallon ratings.”
Once they join the Verizon fleet, the Silverados will be primarily used in urban areas, where potentially the savings of using a hybrid drivetrain can be realized the most. According to James Gowen, chief sustainability officer at Verizon Communications, “a major part of our sustainability strategy is to make smart use of lower carbon alternatives to power our fleet.”
In an effort to further reduce fuel consumption, the trucks will incorporate a lightweight bed insert, courtesy of Brand FX. These fiberglass inserts will house the required equipment for servicing Verizon systems, including ladders, wiring connectors and television set boxes.