Posted by: Idioma Extra | June 1, 2010

Tuesday’s News

U.K., Swiss embassies run
errands with new electric cars


The Swiss and United Kingdom embassies are showing off fancy new electric cars.

Both countries introduced new service cars that will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 96 percent. The two REVA plug-in electric cars also will save the embassies some gas money, thanks to their energy efficiency.

“When I arrived here I saw that this was the first time I didn’t have a service car,” said Hans-Rudolf Hodel, Switzerland’s ambassador to Costa Rica. “And an embassy needs a service car. So then we needed to decide which car. And here we are in a country where they speak a lot about the environment and we thought we could give an example.”

Each country’s car has a design that helps promote the use of electric cars to Costa Ricans. Both cars have paint jobs representing each country’s respective flags and on the back of each car is information boasting about the cars’ efficiency.

The cars can reach up to 80 kilometers per hour and have a range of 80 kms without needing to be recharged. Charging the car takes about seven to eight hours. The spiffed-up embassy cars – with leather seats and fancier design – cost $15,000 each. The India-built cars normally cost a couple of thousand dollars less.

Kate Cruse, who’s in charge of sustainable operations at the British embassy, said these cars are already drawing attention. The British electric car replaced the embassy’s Toyota Prado sports utility vehicle. Erick de Lomas, the British embassy’s driver for 20 years, is finally having an easier time with downtown San José traffic. Cars are more willing to let him into lanes because they want a glimpse of the car, Cruse said.

“People really respond to it,” Kennedy said. “People wave at you on the street. Or kids wave at you. Or cars toot their horns.”

Costa Rica’s National Power and Light Company also bought 10 REVAs for their operations.

Word of the Day

Main Entry: er·rand
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English erend message, business, from Old English ǣrend; akin to Old High German ārunti message
Date: before 12th century
1 archaic a : an oral message entrusted to a person
b : embassy, mission
2 a : a short trip taken to attend to some business often for another <was on an errand for his mother>
b : the object or purpose of such a trip

More Vocabulary

Boast: v. to speak of or assert with excessive pride
Glimpse: n. a fleeting view or look
Toot: v. to sound a short blast
Wave: v. to motion with the hands or with something held in them in signal or salute

Love those Phrasal Verbs!

Show off: to display ostentatiously

     The trade show was designed so all companies could show off their latest products.

Spiff up: to make better, more appealing (used in article as adjective)

     The company wants to spiff up our offices and give them a more professional look.

Emailing Phrases

Below are some common transition words used when writing professional business emails in English. To learn more, consider Idioma Internacional’s AFD 450 Emailing and Business Communication Course!

Adversative Transitions (used to signal conflict, contradiction, concession, dismissal)


On the other hand,


Either way,
Whatever happens,
In any case/In any event,
At any rate,


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