How to drive (almost) green for the cheapest possible?


The question sounds like a complicated equation at best, at worst a joke about riding a bicycle or stealing a Tesla. Attention, trap: all electric is prohibited, theft too. There are many real economic (legal) solutions in line with current carbon-fiscal whims. On the other hand, it will be necessary to be pragmatic. If a Toyota Prius 2 or Volkswagen Jetta doesn’t put you off …

The launch of the Dacia Spring, the cheapest electric car on the European market, at least has the merit of democratizing electric mobility (€ 12,400 bonus deducted, it is indeed unbeatable and the Citroën Ami is not comparable) … while carrying out a useful development: the 100% electric being intended by essence for the city, why carry heavy and expensive batteries, carrying motors overflowing with torque, to cover a few tens of kilometers per day at most? The Spring therefore arises as a rational car as possible: small engine (sufficient from 0 to 50 km / h to follow the scooters at a red light), reduced batteries (allowing ample to cover 180 km in urban route). So here is objectively the most consistent electric car ever.

The pioneer of the hybrid for the general public is worth little more than a piece of bread: from 5,000 €, a Toyota Prius 2 in good condition can be found.

And after ? In this enthusiasm, one would almost forget that a good part of the French population is not really concerned by the purchase of a second car at more than 12,000 euros, both from a financial point of view and from a usage point of view. Surprise: France is not a gigantic agglomeration.

A beetroot Prius

Others also refuse, on principle (or claimed autophobia, but they may not read these lines), to make the car their second item of expenditure. Starting from the smallest possible budget, let’s say 5,000 euros, it’s not easy to reconcile ecological fiber and economy, while enjoying a car in satisfactory and reasonably reliable condition. There, we will look at a second generation Toyota Prius, admittedly about fifteen years old, but with remarkable reliability. The hybrid system, still relatively simple in its design, cash without flinching the kilometers. And on the consumption side, we easily manage to stay under 6 l / 100 km on a mixed route. Higher than current hybrids, but far from costly.

The very anonymous Volkswagen Jetta is around 10,000 €, for the first models of 2013. The 1.4 TSI of the hybrid easily accepts bioethanol.

The next step would consist of grafting a lead-free / superethanol bicarburation box onto it. The operation looks like DIY, but is done in a fairly simple way at authorized auto centers or garages (for around 1,000 euros). The price at the pump of the E85 being around 0.70 €, which is half the price of the SP95, depreciation is relatively fast despite the overconsumption. (of the order of 15 to 20% linked to the different combustion of ethanol).

Escape from fashion, go back to notchback sedans

As the years go by, other hybrids are beginning to flock on occasion at tumbling prices. Like the Prius, a Toyota Auris (equipped with the same technology) tolerates the conversion to E85 without any problem. We can also think of the little-known Volkswagen Jetta, offered as a classic hybrid, and the first examples of which can be found for around 10,000 euros (2015, around 100,000 km on the clock). Its 1.4 l TSI 4-cylinder has the same technical basis as the block used by the short-lived Golf 7 Multifuel, E85 compatible, and therefore easily accepts beet juice after fitting a box (some even risk it without modification!). Then count around 6.5 l / 100 km in E85 …

In all cases, the gray card is free and the Crit’air 1 sticker avoids being subject to traffic restrictions in large cities. But here is the champion: Plan 3,000 euros for a Dacia Logan of ten years, displaying less than 100,000 km. Here too, the small 1.2 or 1.4 bottle-fed with Superethanol will further lower the bill at the pump. Obviously, we’ll talk about lap times, glamor and fashion next time.

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