Up until a few years ago, I used to pick out my favourite cars based purely on aesthetics, mainly the design, the colour and how sexy the car looks. Aside from the obvious utilitarian reason, I never thought about emissions, air quality (okay, maybe a little bit), fuel consumption or hybrid technology, why would I? Growing up, cars were mainly comfortable and convenient forms of getting us from Point A to Point B without very much concern about the environment or my bank account. I suppose that’s what happens when your parents are paying (Oh that doesn’t last when you’re all grown up!) for everything.
All that changed when I met E. A former race car driver turned industrial designer turned Engineer turned spokesperson for the Government’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Program who traveled all over the country extolling the virtues of clean energy and hybrid technology. As much as he was passionate then about cars since working at his parents’ garage and gasoline stations since he was 3 years old, that passion has maturely evolved into something more environmentally conscious and responsible. I’m sure he thought I wasn’t listening when he talked about his work but in fact, I did pay attention despite my usual automatic response of zoning out (normally), I learned more than enough from him and it shaped the way I look at cars now.
That became more evident last weekend when Twenty York Street had the good fortune of being invited by the wonderful staff at Thornley Fallis to the much anticipated Ford Canada’s Urban Life event during the launch of the Ottawa Gatineau International Car Show at the Ottawa Convention Centre.
Joined by a select number of media, bloggers and taste makers in the city, the Twenty York Street Team (Technical Director Eric Meloche, Chief Photographer Richard Tardif and the very excited Janelle G. competing for the Ford Scavenger Hunt prize) was treated to an evening of education and awareness by Ford executives, a speech by City Councillor Maria McRae about Ottawa On The Move initiative, a wide array of hors d’oeuvres and drinks and of course, the real life/virtual game that sent bloggers and their followers into frenzy!
Headlining Ford’s transformed line-up this year is the plug-in hybrid new-ish kid on the block – the C-MAX Energi, which provides greater range in full electric mode than traditional hybrids, helping to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
Though hybrid, clean diesel and other ‘green’ vehicles have been traditionally dismissed for the yoga and granola type of consumers, the technology and especially the design has come a long way since the Smart car first became street legal.
Ford has renewed its commitment to offering the power of choice to consumers who have more than just aesthetics and power in mind. Although, it’s quite notable that Ford actually won the 2013 Best Car Styling Brand among non-luxury car shoppers in the annual Brand Image Awards according to Kelley Blue Book (KBB.com), marking the third consecutive year Ford has earned KBB.com kudos for vehicle design.
If you can keep all that power, fuel efficiency and remain green without sacrificing beauty – I may just be talked into choosing a hybrid these days especially, if I can re-fuel by plugging my car to the wall, next to my iPhone 5 and my Mac Air, while blogging.
In case you missed the 2013 Ottawa Gatineau International Car Show this year, head over to Twenty York Street’s Facebook page for more photos. Ford Canada had an impressive display of over 15 cars – Fusion, Fiesta, Focus, Escape, C-Max (which I will be having the pleasure to test drive this week, follow that journey via Twitter #FordOttawa) , F-150, Flex, etc. and of course, the stunningly popular Ford Mustang Shelby in bright green.
Now, if I can only get the Mustang in a hybrid. In hot pink.
Will you drive with me?