The realities of global warming have changed minds about what cars are cool to drive. Big fuel-thirsty carbon-spewing vehicles are out. Electrics, hybrids and biofuel cars are in. In fact, some of society’s most revered celebrity trendsetters have demonstrated—by what they drive—how greener alternative vehicles can tread lightly on the planet, aned still deliver on horsepower and style.
Here’s a quick survey of green-driving stars from the past several years, chosen to reveal the full range of eco-friendly alternative vehicle technologies—on the market now or expected soon.
5. Arnold Schwarzenegger – Hydrogen Hummer
It’s been more than seven years since Calif. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger started promoting a hydrogen highway in the Golden State. To show how transformative hydrogen-powered vehicles can be, Arnold took the biggest symbol of petro-excess, the Hummer, and converted it to run on hydrogen. He believes that hydrogen vehicles could one day help us eliminate tailpipe pollution from our cars. Building the necessary infrastructure and finding the best sources of fuel to produce hydrogen remain a challenge. The Hummer brand bit the dust in 2010, but the future for hydrogen vehicles is alive and well. Toyota, Ford, General Motors and Daimler are all targeting 2015 as the year they will introduce a hydrogen fuel-cell car to the mass market.
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4. Daryl Hannah – Biodiesel Chevrolet El Camino
Green driving goes beyond hybrid and electric cars. Vehicles can also green up their act by running on biofuels, as championed by movie star Daryl Hannah. When she found that using grown fuel for her car was as easy as pumping biodiesel into any diesel vehicle, she quickly made the switch—transforming a 1983 Chevy El Camino into a “badass” ride. (Her word.) “It’s so much cleaner burning,” she said. “It gets us off of our dependency on fossil fuels and foreign oil as well so we don’t have to go to war for oil.” After auctioning her first biodiesel El Camino on eBay, she missed it so much that she bought another one. “My car loves to drink vegetable oil,” she said.
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3. Paul McCartney – Lexus LS600h
An elegant all-wheel-drive long-wheelbase Lexus sedan could serve quite nicely as the limo for Sir Paul McCartney of Beatles fame. But as a long-time environmentalist and vegan, Paul was looking for a greener ride. Lexus, a sponsor of one of the singer’s tours, offered a car—so Paul opted for the Lexus LS600h hybrid. The gas-electric powertrain on the ultra-luxurious and high-tech $110,000 car earns a 20 percent boost in city MPG, compared to the gas version, and is certified as a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the singer, the Lexus hybrid sedan was flown from Japan to Britain. The eco-impact of the flight was 100 times greater than it would have been if shipped by sea. McCartney’s disapproval of the shipping method illustrated the importance of looking at the big picture eco-impact of our lifestyle choices.
Photo Credit: green.autoblog.com
2. Jay Leno – Chevrolet Volt
Comic Jay Leno is legendary for his collection of more than 100 vintage automobiles. But for his daily commute, he takes the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid that he has owned since late 2010. “It’s my daily driver,” Leno told The New York Times. “My commute, and all my other daily running around, totals less than 35 miles.” This allowed Jay to rack up 11,000 miles of daily driving without a single visit to the gas station. One of the other fave vehicles in Jay’s garage is also zero-emissions—the Baker Electric built in 1909. That vehicle rips apart the myth that EVs are new and untested. Electric cars have been around for more than 100 years.
Photo Credit: green.autoblog.com
1. Justin Bieber – Fisker Karma
When Justin Bieber turned 18, his agent, singer Usher, gave him a car for his birthday. But it wasn’t any ordinary teen ride. The Biebs received the $100,000 Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid that runs for its first 30 or so miles purely on electricity. Then, it uses a gas engine to extend range by hundreds of miles. Not only does the Karma sport stunning great looks—enhanced by Justin with a shiny chrome paint job—it’s lightning fast. Justin discovered the car’s incredible performance when, fleeing paparazzi, he exceeded 100 miles per hour on L.A. streets. He was cited for reckless driving, but the incident only brought more attention to the ultra-cool Karma.
Photo Credit: autoblog.com