The prospect of washing more than 550 000 cars a year with virtually no water at all in fewer than 30 minutes per vehicle seems preposterous.

This is however what Combined Motor Holding (CMH) CEO, Jebb McIntosh, intended to accomplish through his vision of converting the current water and electricity depleting wash bays in the company’s national network of vehicle dealers and First Car Rental.

McIntosh laid down the challenge after he studied the environmental impact of the CMH wash bays. Over 200 litres of water per car were being used as well as many litres of washing detergents that had to be disposed of responsibly. The scenario presented a clear challenge for cost saving by the group.

Now, the CMH Green Machines can be spotted in wash bays across South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, the United Arab Emirates and even the United States. One of these machines uses only 750 ml of water per wash, which means the CMH saves over 199 litres per car or over 100 million litres of mostly drinking water per year.

The unit is a compact all-in-one wash bay solution that dispenses an environmentally friendly wax through a pressurised system. The wax suspends dirt away from the vehicle’s surface and is wiped away with a special microfiber cloth, which is regularly rinsed. The wax, cloths, environmentally friendly wheel, mag and window cleaner and an industrial vacuum cleaner are all contained in a compact push-trolley design that is small enough to fit between parked vehicles.

The CMH Green Machine is available for purchase or on a rental option that includes service and training. CMH is currently expanding its network to other products, while interest from countries such as Namibia and the United Arab Emirates has expanded the reach of this local innovation.