Green is in. Opel led the way in Bologna with the world premiere of their Zafira Turbo ecoM, a shining example of how to reconcile environmental considerations with real-life motoring demands. Its turbo engine is designed to run on natural gas, but it can also run on petrol if necessary, and it guarantees a drive that is not only ecologically sound but, for the very first time, speedy too. Many more vehicles such as the green-powered Terios from Daihatsu, the Nissan Micra RDS and the Škoda Fabia Combi LPG are ready to run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), a popular choice in Italy.
An electric shock was provided by the Smart Fortwo ed – a car that runs purely on electricity. Likewise the Indian Tata Indica Electric EV, also making its debut, and showing the appetite of Indian manufacturers for the European market. Closer to everyday life in the automotive world are the ever increasing number of hybrid vehicles. Porsche unveiled their Cayenne Hybrid, due to appear in the showrooms soon. And the crisis-wracked Americans at GM brought along their Cadillac Escalade Hybrid with its 6-litre V8 (!) engine and electric motor. Big is beautiful.