Gwen Leron: 50 Shades of Green


Here's What Nissan Is Doing For The Environment

Eco-friendly cars and manufacturing processes for a greener future

Here's What Nissan Is Doing For The Environment

I am in the market for a new car and the sooner, the better. My current car has seen better’s time. So for the past while I’ve been preparing myself by looking into all the factors I usually look at before committing to years of new car payments (*sob*). There are the standard things such as:

  • price (when I see something I like, the first question is always HOW MUCH? You too, right? It has to work with the budget)
  • if it will work as a family vehicle (this is super-important since a large chunk of our vehicle mileage is used for taxiing children around and for short road trips)
  • Fuel efficiency (no gas guzzlers, please...gas prices are not going down...ever)
  • how it looks (of course!)
  • etc.

One new thing I’ve added to the list since my last purchase, things I want to learn more about, is what the different automakers are doing when it comes to the eco-friendliness factor.

So for the next little while I will be looking at different car makers to see what they are doing in this area—and lucky you! I’ve decided to take you along with me as I learn. Hopefully this will also help you with your next car buying mission.

Vehicle emissions are responsible for emitting gases that contribute to climate change. Nowadays, cars are more eco-friendly than they have ever been by design and by some conscious changes both by drivers and by automakers. Since there is a demand for greener vehicles, manufacturers have stepped up to the challenge by changing their manufacturing processes, the materials they use when making their cars, and by adding eco-features to appeal to a customer base who hold environmental friendliness high on their list of car-decision making-criteria.

I plan on looking at as many automakers as I can before making my decision. At this point, I am not leaning towards any car in particular, I'm totally open to anything.

My first stop was with Nissan. To help me out they lent me a 2014 Nissan JUKE SL, a sport crossover, to drive for a while which was a nice switch-up for me. The car I currently drive is a 2007 and it's very basic. It has been a while since I have driven something new, so this was a welcome change.

The JUKE SL carries the PUREDRIVE logo:

Many (if not all) new cars now carry some sort of "eco badge" which is a little bit of a marketing thing but it’s also a way to show their commitment to keeping up with what customers are asking for. Here is how Nissan describes what their PUREDRIVE badge means:

PUREDRIVE is a global concept and designation demonstrating Nissan’s commitment to creating eco-friendly, improved L/100km and lower CO2 emission vehicles that include innovations to help the vehicle meet or exceed the industry average.

The JUKE, as with other Nissan vehicles, offers an “ECO Driving Mode.”

As I said earlier, my current car is OLD which means no eco mode or any other types of fancy modes in my car. So I had some reading to do. Here is what happens when you switch over to ECO Mode in the JUKE:

When switched over to ECO Mode, ECO detunes throttle and climate control, while keeping the JUKE’s steering in its default setting. When the JUKE was first launched in 2010, not many vehicles had the three different driving modes. Now, many cars now have "eco" settings that detune the throttle for better fuel economy, but few actually reduce climate control settings as well.

In addition to coming up with new ways to make their vehicles more environmentally friendly, Nissan is also taking steps to make their manufacturing process better for the environment starting with the Nissan LEAF. The LEAF is one of the most environmentally friendly, mass-produced cars on the market today.

The LEAF is a no gas, 100% electric car that recently gained the distinction as being “The Greenest Car You Can Buy.” Approximately 25% of the materials that go into manufacturing a LEAF are recycled materials including steel, copper, aluminum, plastics and other materials.

So that, in a nutshell (kind of a nutshell?), is what I learned about Nissan. Lots of really good info to consider.

Stay tuned for future posts where I tell you what I learned about other automakers and what they are doing in this area.

Want more on eco-friendly vehicles? Learn 10 simple things you can start doing today to make your car more eco-friendly and did you know you could buy eco-friendly tires for your vehicle?