Toyota Corolla 1.8 Hybrid scooped the ECO Car 2019 (EKO Auto 2019) award at the 54th International Motor Show in Belgrade. The award recognizes the best environmental performance among automobiles available on the Serbian market. A special award for activities contributing to environmental protection went to the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SKGO) for organizing a Car-Free Day as part of European Mobility Week.
The competition, in its eighth year running, was organized by automotive market communications agency Metro Market in cooperation with the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS), the Serbian Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), the Road Traffic Safety Agency, vehicle testing firm AMSS-CMV, Balkan Green Energy News (the Center for Promotion of Sustainable Development – CPOR), and the Eko-mobilnost magazine.
Another 11 cars competed for the ECO Car 2019 award, which was handed by Minister of Environmental Protection Goran Trivan. He also handed the special award to the SKGO for organizing a Car-Free Day as part of European Mobility Week. The award was received by Miodrag Gluščević, Head of Department for Urban Planning and Environment at the SKGO.
Toyota produced the first hybrid 22 years ago
Robert Lukić, CEO of Toyota Srbija, said upon receiving the ECO Car 2019 award, that Toyota’s experts, when considering the future of cars 22 years ago, came up with the idea to create a hybrid car, which gave birth to Toyota Prius.
Toyota also seeks to ensure the manufacturing process itself is not polluting the environment, and is very close to no negative environmental impact, said Lukić, adding that the company sold 200 hybrids in Serbia in 2018.
Trivan recalled that coal power plants, individual boilers and furnaces, and traffic are the leading causes of air pollution, resulting in around 6,500 premature deaths in Serbia alone annually.
Concerning traffic, the ministry has proposed banning imports of used cars over 10 years old and introducing subsidies for electric and hybrid cars.
Data shows that over 50% of vehicles in Serbia are over 10 years old, he said, noting that there will be those who will cite economic reasons not to introduce the ban, but that he is of the opinion that health is more important than other considerations.
Raising awareness key for cleaner environment
In the situation when people are struggling financially, raising awareness is crucial, said Filip Radović, Director of the SEPA and a member of the competition jury.
This is the way to drive change, and campaigns such as the ECO Car award help raise awareness of the issue, he said.
Dušan Stokić, chairman of the jury and Director of the PKS Center for Environmental Protection, Standards and Technical Regulation, said that raising environmental awareness is one of the competition’s three key goals.
The other two key goals are to encourage producers and importers to sell environmentally friendly cars and to back calls to introduce subsidies for buyers of electric and hybrid cars.