Are you planning to buy a new car? Choose a greener one…
Monday, 21 June 2021
Mile21 means ‘more information less emissions, empowering consumers for a greener 21st century’ and it aims to provide consumers with real cars fuel (or energy) consumption and CO2 emissions data, to help them make well informed purchase decisions for more efficient vehicles.
This new platform allows users to easily keep track of the real fuel (or energy, for electric cars) consumption and CO2 emissions of their car, and it will provide them with many tips to reduce them. Because of the direct involvement of consumers, as well as vehicle tests on the road, Mile21 will also contribute to the collection of robust large scale monitoring data, which is used to monitor remaining gaps between WLTP type approved fuel consumption/CO2 emissions values and real world values experienced by consumers.
Thanks to the Mile21 platform, consumers also have the opportunity to look up and compare the estimated on the road fuel consumption and CO2 emissions values for a wide range of car models sold in the EU.
The project, financed by the Life+ program of the European Union, has many partners involved, both scientific ones (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Emisia, ICCT, TNO) and consumers organizations from Italy (Altroconsumo), Belgium (Test-Achats/Test-Aankoop), Portugal (Deco) and Spain (Ocu).
Scientific and legislative background
Despite the recent adoption of the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) in the type approval regulation for cars, which may lead to more realistic fuel consumption values declared by manufacturers, real on the road values remain different from those derived from laboratory tests. In the real world, many different aspects can make cars consume more fuel than in the laboratory, including ambient temperature, traffic, driving style, air conditioning, and car loads.
Mile21 compiles official data from several vehicle data sources (e.g. engine specs and official fuel consumption values of each car model), fuel consumption data derived from statistical models, real world emissions testing data, and on road fuel consumption data shared by Mile21 users. Official data relies on the manufacturers product information and are uploaded to the website unchanged.
On road and laboratory measurements are performed by LAT and TNO, who have extensive experience in the field and, therefore, are able to ensure that tests are carried out following strict scientific protocol and using good engineering knowledge.
Furthermore, aggregate data from a larger group of users will provide a good indication of how a certain vehicle model performs in the real world.
The “track consumption” tool
The main service offered by Mile21 is the possibility for users to keep track of the real consumption of their cars. Following registration, they select their car and driving habits, and insert a few data (in particular, the liters of fuel – or kWh of energy, for electric cars – and the total mileage as shown in the odometer) each time the refuel (or recharge) their car. Then, after three full refueling events, Mile21 starts to show the users consumption, declared by the manufacturer, and the consumption expected by Mile21 with your driving habits and conditions (which users can change any time they want, even each time they refuel the car, if needed).
By using Mile21 regularly, users can easily monitor the evolution of the fuel consumption of their cars, the impact they have in terms of CO2 emissions and, as we are going to see, they can try to reduce them.
Fuel consumption and emissions are directly linked, saving 10% of fuel reduces CO2 emission by 10%. The Mile21 platform provides users with many tips to reduce their fuel consumption (and therefore CO2 emissions) of their cars. By applying this advice and monitoring their fuel consumptions, they can reduce the environmental impact of their driving and the money they spent for refueling/recharging their cars. And they can also see the actual impact they achieve, since Mile21 will also the total amount of CO2 they have been saving, starting from the moment they started to follow the green driving advices.
In general, you can reduce your fuel consumption most effectively by avoiding unnecessary braking, as well as by avoiding high speeds on the highway, typically over 100 km/h. This is because most of the power that the engine has to deliver is needed to accelerate back to speed after a stop or to push the vehicle through the air, even in a very sleek vehicle. If you drive a lot in the city, your fuel consumption can decrease significantly by letting the car coast to traffic lights from 100 meters away or farther. The same applies to traffic jams, if you drive slower on the highway, the trip will obviously take a bit longer. In real world circumstances, this difference is often negligible (a few minutes), unless very long distances are driven on the motorway. Note: keep it safe. Never create unsafe situations because of eco-driving.
Keeping a vehicle in a proper state will also help to avoid high fuel consumption, tyre pressure, parasitic braking (brake pads touching the brake disk while driving), wheel alignment (e.g., misalignment caused by small accidents), high unnecessary payload or roof racks (i.e., ski racks and stored snow chains in the summer) can all contribute to a higher fuel consumption.
Choosing a greener new car
The Mile21 platform also offers a “find a car” section, in which all the real world estimated data are collected and presented in a “product selector” design. Users can easily navigate the page, filtering the results by car segment, powertrain type and car maker, and see a list of around 1500 cars present in the EU market. For each one, the fuel (or energy) consumption and CO2 emissions declared by the manufacturers as well as the ones estimated by Mile21 are shown, allowing users to get better informed and to make wiser choices when they need to buy a new car.