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Electric, solar or classic cars: Can car passion be green?

A Lamborghini is not a car. It's a statement. Like every other iconic car, it comes with the aura of a certain lifestyle and uniqueness. And a serious carbon footprint.

While never fuel-efficient, today's Ferraris and Lamborghinis can still consume up to a massive 30 liters of fuel per 100 km and produce more than 0.5 kg of CO2 per kilometer. Is it possible to indulge a passion for cars without sacrificing values and harming the planet?

Classic cars undergo green restorations

Car collectors are driven by a passion for the total car experience. They relish the look, sound, and horsepower more than the fact that their vintage cars take them from A to B. But at some point in time environmental regulations could render classic cars undriveable.

A photo of a classic car Mercedes-Benz "Pagoda" turned electric

The current scenario for the world is that we're all going electric. We may as well do it in style, if we possibly can.

Justin Lunny, entrepreneur and founder of Ionic Cars

Justin Lunny, entrepreneur and founder of Ionic Cars, believes there is a market for green restoration of classic cars and for turning them into sustainable, electric cars. Not only does he replace the standard engine with a bespoke electric system, but also he recreates the sound of the engine and the look of the car's dials to ensure a complete and sacrifice-free transformation.

"The classical car market is very large. People love these vehicles. But we feel that within five to ten years, it will be extremely hard to drive these cars in places where other people are, like in cities. And the current scenario for the world is that we're all going electric. We may as well do it in style, if we possibly can," concludes Justin.

From A to B in style with electric cars

The energy transformation gave rise to motor companies that have no legacy of the fossil fuel infrastructure. Instead of experimenting with petrol or diesel alternatives, they started afresh, designing a vehicle with sustainability in mind.

"The energy revolution from fossil energy to renewable energy is probably one of the biggest business opportunities of this century," according to JB Straubel, the co-founder of Tesla. "This is a chance to reinvent the entire infrastructure."

2020 has been a particularly good year for Tesla. The company won investors' trust and, after its share price skyrocketed, became the most valuable car producer in the world. Although its sales volume far from matches that of traditional cars, Tesla has developed a group of devotees since its inception in 2003. Tesla owners believe in Elon Musk's mission and ambition of driving the energy transformation, and want to be part of it.

Is solar energy powerful enough to transform the car industry?

A key issue in the automotive revolution is the energy source, and nothing is as pure as solar energy. This may draw the most sustainability-focused motorheads to solar cars. The Lightyear One’s roof and hood are covered with five square meters of solar panels. The manufacturer claims that this makes the vehicle almost self-sufficient and allows for a truly long ride, e.g. from Zurich to Nice, on a single charge.

Lex Hoefsloot, co-founder and CEO of Lightyear, believes that mobility is undergoing a radical transformation and his ambition is "to make sure that the cleanest choice is also the best choice."

Is the car industry ripe for disruption?

Our car culture is not in sync with today's world and its climate agenda. Air pollution is a serious environmental and health threat, and the automotive industry is one of the biggest contributors. The car industry and the drivers alike are increasingly aware that the old way needs to change. Therefore, the demand for innovation is growing. And while no one wants to sacrifice their passion, the focus is on bold entrepreneurs to redesign the sector and for car lovers to embrace the change.