Since it first went on sale in mid-2013, the Chevrolet Spark EV has always been a bit of a rare car. Now, with the announcement that Chevrolet will end production of the Spark EV in August, it looks like the little subcompact EV is going the way of the Dodo.
The Spark EV was revealed in June of 2013 and first went on sale in 2014, exclusively in California and Oregon. In 2015, Chevrolet began sales in Maryland as well, but the Spark EV never really gained any traction. According to Inside EVs, only 7,348 units were sold in the U.S from when it first went on sale to the end of 2016.
Despite its poor sales numbers, on paper the Spark EV is actually a good little car. With an EPA estimated 128 mpge city and 109 mpge highway, an estimated range of 82 miles and 327 lbs-ft of torque, the Spark EV seems like a perfect city run-around. Clean Fleet Report liked it when we tested the 2014 edition.
So why is the Spark EV going out of production? Probably the biggest factor is the new Chevrolet Bolt EV.
As the incoming generation of EVs mostly have ranges which exceed 200 miles, cars like the Spark EV are becoming somewhat old fashioned. Because of this, and dismal sales numbers, Chevrolet decided to pull the plug on the Spark in favor of its new big brother.
What is important to remember, however, is that the Spark EV proved to the world that Chevrolet could make a legitimate, fully electric vehicle, and paved the way for improved technology.
In a way, the Spark EV is much like Tesla’s first roadster. Both were small, not very practical, but both helped their respective manufactures develop truly innovative technology.
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Elon Musk declined to speculate how many Tesla Model 3 cars will get built in 2017 but did say he expects production of 5,000 a week by the end of the year.
The post Elon Musk Talks About Tesla Model 3 Production Ramp appeared first on Gas 2.
Those looking for a means of keeping close track of their use of their Tesla Model S or Model X may want to take a closer look at the TesLab app, which is currently in the beta testing phase
The post New TesLab App Allows Tesla Owners To Keep Close Track Of Use appeared first on Gas 2.
The 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf has 50% more range and more power. But will that be enough to make it competitive in the US market?
The post New Volkswagen e-Golf Priced, Comes With 50% Larger Battery appeared first on Gas 2.
Around 37% of all new personal vehicles sold in Norway last month were plug-in electric vehicles, according to recent reports
The post 37% Of New Car Sales In Norway Are EVs, Could Be 100% By 2025 appeared first on Gas 2.
The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq looks to be a serious contender in the affordable clean transportation sector, as buyers have the option of choosing from three different flavors — a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, or a fully electric car — of the platform, all at prices right in line with (or better than) the rest of the cars in their class
The post First Drive Impression: 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid & Electric appeared first on Gas 2.
During the Q4 earnings call, Elon Musk told investors lots of things about the upcoming Model 3 and Tesla's plans for the future. Here's more.
The post Tesla Model 3 Reveal, New Gigafactories, And More From Q4 Earnings Call appeared first on Gas 2.
As an auto journalist, I’ve driven nearly 1,200 cars over the last 25 years. I’ve sampled pretty much every electric and hybrid car you can get, from the Mitsubishi i-MiEV to the Nissan Leaf to the Cadillac ELR. I even took a short drive in the ill-fated GM EV1. I liked the smooth, quiet ride and loved the environmental benefits of driving an EV, but none of the cars had enough range to make me feel like I could use them most of the time.
I normally test cars for a week, but last year, I snagged a three-month test of a Fiat 500e. It was delightful, but again, range was a concern. So, when I heard about the Bolt EV, with its 238-mile EPA range, I decided then and there to get one.
One month ago today, I went to Boardwalk Chevrolet and drove my brand new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV home. I remember how beautiful it looked parked in front, plugged into the charger, soaking wet with rain. I didn’t see it dry for days.
I ordered my car in October and waited nearly three months for it. There was no picking one off the lot–I didn’t see a real Bolt until I visited the San Francisco Auto Show around Thanksgiving.
The ordering process was easy, but I got impatient. My salesman, Don, as well as mychevrolet.com, gave me periodic updates: my order was accepted, the factory was ready to build it, it was in the loading area waiting for the train from Orion, Michigan, and finally—that it was here.
I agonized over the paint color. I liked the light blue and medium blue. But white looks great on the Bolt, too. I even went down to my local Chevy dealer and stared at cars in the lot painted in those three colors. I eventually went with my gut and ordered the Kinetic Blue Metallic I loved best—and it turned out to be a $395 extra cost (but worth it).
The day I got the good news from Don, was the same day I turned in my old neglected 1993 Plymouth Voyager minivan to California’s Vehicle Buyback Program. From gas guzzler to EV in one sweep.
After a month and 1,646.1 miles, the car is all I’d hoped for. I am surprised, though, that nobody seems to notice me as I drive all over the place. Maybe the looks aren’t distinctive enough.
I like the styling inside and out. Its looks are cute, but also strongly drawn. The front and rear have interesting textures in the lights and grill. The large windows provide a broad view of traffic around me and the tall roofline add spaciousness. Although the car’s only 164 inches long, it has midsize space, and with the quick-folding rear seats, I can slide in my upright bass, or my electric guitar and amplifier with ease.
You can pick from two interior color schemes. I chose light ash gray and ceramic white instead of the darker gray theme. It adds to the airiness. I also chose the upper Premier model over the LT. It has leather seats, nicer wheels, bonus safety features, and numerous other attractions. I rode in an LT and it felt much the same, so all Bolts are good.
I appreciate the upgraded Bose stereo system, as I commute up to two hours a day. The Bolt comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you can take your apps with you. In fact, your phone serves as a trusty navigation system.
The sweeping curves inside look designer perfect, and the 10.2-inch center screen is easy to use and view. There are no needles on dials in the colorful instrument panel—but all you need is there, especially the range gauge. Seeing 200 miles available is very reassuring.
I’ve been enjoying the camaraderie of the Chevy Bolt EV Owners Group on Facebook (1,752 members at this writing). They even featured a shot of my car as their cover photo for a few days.
A primary requirement for the Bolt EV was to take me on the 165-mile round trip to visit my granddaughters without any charging along the way. We made the trip with 53 miles left on the battery when we got home.
I bought a Level 2 charger for my garage, but I need an electrician. I charge at work, and in a pinch, grab 50 miles or so overnight with slow charging. It hasn’t been an issue. I’m waiting for my stickers so I can drive in the carpool lane and pay half price bridge tolls.
The Bolt EV’s one-speed transmission lets you drive in Drive (D) or Low (L). Low regenerates more electricity while giving you “one-pedal” driving. Just press the accelerator to go forward and lift
your foot to stop. There’s a paddle on the steering wheel to add regeneration, too. It’s addictive, and a real EV-only experience.
Complaints? Well, not many. The sun visors are too short when you use them on the side. I’d like to have adaptive cruise control and automatic intermittent wipers in a car in this price range. But that’s about it.
Base price is $37,495 before the federal tax credit and California rebate kick in. With both, you’d have a new EV for under $30K. My car, a loaded upper-level Premier, retailed for $43,905; I’m expecting the California rebate soon. As a lease, the dealer gets the federal tax credit, but they can factor in some or all of it in the lease payment. I made a larger down payment to keep my monthly payments lower ($335). PG&E (my utility) now offers a flat $500 payment when you buy or lease an EV.
Last night, on the way home from orchestra rehearsal, with my bass tucked in back, I turned off the radio and cruised home in near silence. What a pleasure.
Follow my continuing EV adventures on my blog, www.stevegoesgreen.com.
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Tesla today announced that CFO Jason Wheeler has decided to leave the company in April to pursue opportunities in public policy. Jason will be replaced by Deepak Ahuja, who was Tesla’s first CFO and worked for the company for more than seven years before stepping away in 2015. Deepak will formally take over as CFO in early March, with Jason remaining at Tesla through early April to ensure a smooth transition.
A Tesla Model S P100D recorded 920 pounds feet of torque during a recent Drag Times dyno test, but the testers think if they could eliminate wheelspin and get the battery charge closer to 100%, the number could be as much as 950 pound feet. Astonishing!
The post Tesla Model S P100D Torque Amazes Drag Times After Dyno Test appeared first on Gas 2.
Столичната община предлага за широко обществено обсъждане плана за действие на общината за намаляване замърсяването на въздуха. Може да дадете предложения към плана до 10 март на сайта или писмено в съответната община. Планът е за периода 2015-2020г. На сайта на общината има текст от 264 страници, който показва данни за състоянието на въздуха, анализ на причините за това състояние и предложенията за действия за предишния период 2010-2015г. Отчитат се промените и въздействията от предприетите мерки. Предлагат се мерки за следващия период – до 2020г.
Прегледах документа. Интересни са промените, които са отчетени, след предприетите през предходния период действия.
В доклада се казва, че “трите основни фактора за замърсяване на въздуха са транспорт, битово горене и преносът на замърсяване от външни източници”. Това ясно се вижда от Таблица 8.2 (Емисии по сектори в t/y за 2014 и 2016г.) и Таблица 8.11 (Емисии по сектори в t/y за 2016 и 2020г.). Данните там показват, че най-голямото замърсяване е резултат от транспорт. Ето ги по години:
Замърсяване от депа, кариери
2020г. (прогнозни) 0.22
2020г. (прогнозни) 1570.35
2020г. (прогнозни) 1374.47
2020г. (прогнозни) 71.89
2020г. (прогнозни) 23.75
Виждате, че най-голямото замърсяване е от транспорт. Освен това, транспортът замърсява 12 месеца в годината (с лек спад през юли и август), докато замърсяването от битово горене е само в най-студените месеци.
Има много предвидени мерки за транспорта, но те не са насочени към цялостна промяна на транспорта. Вие сте наясно, че аз мисля за промени по линия на повече електромобили. Това би довело до намаляване не само на замърсяването, но и на шума. Да, има предвидени мерки – 2 изградени зарядни станции до момента и предвидени още 80 до 2020г. Закупени са “2 броя електрически превозни средства за транспортни дейности в паркове и градини в централна градска част”. Предвидени са още трамваи и тролеи, електромобилите паркират безплатно на платените зони, но изброените мерки са твърде малко, за да се мисли за трайна промяна в тази насока.
Ако погледнем добрите примери като Осло, там има изградени 2000 зарядни точки – това са общинските, които са с безплатно зареждане, безплатно паркиране на съответното място. Това е резултат от политика, започнала още през 2008г. Политика, която включва мерки, предприети от общината и от правителството. Резултатът е, че през 2015 и 2016г. (септември) 30% от новите коли в Осло са електромобили или хибриди, а Норвегия е първият масов пазар за електромобили. Искам при нас поне да се мисли в тази насока, а не просто да спазим европейските директиви.
Ето 3 от десет основни фактора, довели до бума на електромобили в Норвегия, изведени в този документ:
Няколко бързи предложения в дългосрочен план
Пишете Ваши предложения.
Кратка бележка за споделянето на коли – може би още изглежда странно, може би не си представяте да ползвате такава услуга. Аналогията с колички за пазаруване в магазина е много ясна – не си носите количка от вкъщи, нали? Смята се, че една кола, използвана в система за споделяне заменя 5 до 10 частно притежавани коли. Представяте ли колко по-малко трафик е това? Аз не видях нищо предвидено в тази насока от Столична община, а по света казват, че това е една от насоките на бъдещо развитие на транспорта.
Why do some consumers who want an electric car not go forward with the purchase? Surveys consistently indicate that cost is the prohibitive factor. But what if you could buy a capable battery-powered car—one with plenty of driving range for nearly all your commuting needs—for less than $10,000? That’s highly possible if you consider buying a five-year-old electric car, a cost-effective way to start experiencing all the benefits of an EV.
We recommend the following three electric cars, which currently sell on average at these prices:
2013 Fiat 500e - $8,000
2013 Nissan LEAF - $9,000
2013 Ford Focus Electric - $10,000
Sport utility vehicles are generally known as comfortable, spacious family transportation. The Tesla Model X ranked #1 in a Consumer Reports test of fuel-efficient SUVs. Is it worth the entry $88,000 price
The post Tesla Model X Tops List of 2017 Fuel-Efficient Sport Utility Vehicles appeared first on Gas 2.
We've all witnessed first-hand how in just two decades the internet has digitised industry after industry to deliver an increasingly zero marginal cost society (Marginal cost is the cost of producing an additional unit of a good or service after fixed costs have been absorbed.)
While I don't subscribe to the entire zero marginal cost society thesis, it is a good explanation for the effects that have transformed information industries like media, music & software. The same now applies increasingly to energy. While the fixed costs of the harvesting technologies to generate green electricity are decreasing exponentially, the marginal cost of producing renewable energy is near zero. The sun and the wind are free and only need to be captured and stored.
At a recent shareholder meeting, Elon Musk said Tesla's new solar shingles will cost less than a "normal roof" and the energy would essentially be free. Does this mark the dawn of mass market zero marginal cost mobility? Popular Mechanics recently ran the experiment, powering three electric vehicles with a conventional rooftop PV system. They concluded that buying a rooftop PV system to power your electric vehicle is comparable to prepaying three years worth of gasoline, based on $4/gallon, and never having to pay for it again.
We think the payback time for a retrofitted rooftop PV system can be even shorter! Based on average annual motoring of 15,000 km/year, a small 1.5 kW PV array (Popular Mechanics used 7.5 kw) could power a typical EV like a Nissan Leaf (114 Wh/km quoted energy consumption) on it's daily commute for 25+ years at an average cost of < $0.004/km.
Eliminating the $240/month a typical household spends on vehicle fuel, a modest rooftop PV system would pay for itself in just 6 months. Ticking the box to have Tesla tiles fitted to your new house eliminates the payback stage altogether. It is effectively a rooftop perpetual fuel pump where the per kilometre cost is zero from day 1.
Combine Tesla's solar shingles and EV powertrain which, irrespective of their "infinite Mile" 8 year warranty, is expected to last well in-excess of a million miles, (true for all EVs) with the ever growing installed base of rooftop PV systems (25% of households in some Australian states) and we could soon see zero marginal cost mobility becoming reality at internet speed, hammering another couple dozen nails in the coffin of ICE cars.
A solar powered ambulance developed in Bangladesh could save lives by making it possible for people in rural areas to get medical treatment in a timely fashion when an medical emergency takes place.
The post Solar Powered Ambulance Will Save Lives In Bangladesh appeared first on Gas 2.
Tesla will pay to repair a Model S that was used in a daring highway rescue last week. The owner used his Tesla to bring a Volkswagen to a halt on the Autobahn after the driver suffered a stroke.
The post Tesla Will Repair Model S Crash Damage To Car Owned By Good Samaritan appeared first on Gas 2.
With the new Model 3 ready to start production, Tesla is looking to reach out to a new audience. It's LI gallery is one way
The post Long Island Tesla Gallery Is a Lure for New Model 3 Buyers appeared first on Gas 2.
The many drawbacks and limitations of a conventional vehicle are a growing cause of concern among many prospective car and truck buyers. From selecting the right personal vehicle to businesses that are interested in fleet vehicle solutions that may help to reduce overhead and operational costs, environmentally-friendly cars may have much to offer. Investing in a hybrid vehicle, a car or a truck designed to make use of alternative fuels or even a purely electric vehicle can reduce both the environmental impact that drivers have whenever they operate their vehicle as well as reducing fuel costs.
Finding ways to reduce operational costs is a popular concern among many drivers. From investing in a more dependable vehicle to seeking out a quality used parts, there are plenty of ways to reduce the costs associated with owning a vehicle. One of the chief benefits of hybrid-electric and alternative-energy vehicles is their more efficient fuel consumption, which may allow owners to enjoy a level of savings far superior than what would be possible with even the most efficient conventional engine. Upgrading to a greener, more energy-efficient vehicle can allow owners to save more at the pump than they might have thought possible.
Conventional vehicles produce quantities of harmful emissions that are often far higher than many drivers and vehicle owners realize. Alternatives to conventional vehicles, such as hybrid-electric, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, can drastically reduce or even eliminate the emissions created by internal combustion engines. Drivers who are seeking ways to create a greener and more sustainable lifestyle would do well to select vehicles designed to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and that create harmful emissions.
When it comes to environmentally-friendly cars, today’s consumers have access to a greater range of choices and options than ever before. New technologies, such as hydrogen-fuel cells, next-generation battery systems and even self-driving cars are poised to create nothing short of a revolution within the automotive industry. From new innovations that may offer a greater range of potential benefits and advantages to existing technology that is rapidly becoming more affordable, keeping pace with the latest trends and developments can ensure that prospective vehicle owners are able to more easily find and select a vehicle that will better meet their needs. From lowering operational costs to reducing the size of a driver’s carbon footprint, investing in a more sustainable and eco-friendly car is an option prospective buyers would be wise to consider.
Environmentally friendly cars are definitely well worth the expense. They are a great way to help save the planet and really make a difference. All you have to do is find the best possible green car for you.
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The post News: Environmentally Friendly Cars And Why They’re Worth It appeared first on Clean Fleet Report.
In addition to the six battery powered buses launched in December last year, Australian bus manufacturer and operator Carbridge will build a fleet of forty more EV Buses in partnership with Gemiland coachworks and BYD.
The contract was signed at the end of January, three months after the first BYD powered Electric Blu bus made its commercial debut at Sydney Airport.
BYD Asia Pacific auto sales division general manager Liu Xueliang says the organsation is proud to be supplying electric bus components to Carbridge.
"We are the first Chinese company to crack Australia’s electric bus market, having come a long way since the trial of our electric buses at the country’s busiest airport in Sydney in late 2014," he says.
The Electric Blu Toro buses, manufactured by a joint venture between BYD & Carbridge, feature custom Gemiland bus-bodies fabricated from aero-grade aluminium for significant weight reduction. The BYD chassis comprises a ZF front axle and a ZF clone rear axle featuring dual 90 kW / 350 Nm water cooled permanent magnet wheel-hub traction motors.
Energy storage is a 324 kWh BYD iron phosphate battery with the pack split between the forward roof and rear engine compartment zones connected in parallel for a bus voltage of 400 vdc.
The Electric Blu bus has a carrying capacity of 70 passengers with a range of 500 kilometres, making up to 100 transfer journeys on a single charge.
The fleet of six currently in operation at Sydney Airport is also estimated to lower carbon emissions by 160,000 kilograms a year, reduce waste fluids and noise levels.
2 years ago, Kansas City Power & Light began installing 1,000 EV charging stations in its service area. Today, Kansas City is one of the fastest growing EV markets in the country. Is there a connection?
The post Kansas City Power & Light Leads EV Charging In America’s Heartland appeared first on Gas 2.
Hyundai announced today that it will sell its Ioniq electric car for $29,500, which after a federal tax incentive, drops the price to $22,000. That sticker price—for an all-electric vehicle officially rated to go 124 miles on a single charge—handily beats chief competitors on economics, driving range or both. The first US sales of the Hyundai will begin in the coming weeks.
The price of the Nissan LEAF, offering 107 miles of range, begins at $34,200. In other words, the 30-kWh LEAF sells for nearly $5,000 more than the 28-kWh Ioniq, with the Nissan EV getting a range rating that’s 17 miles lower. It appears that the Ioniq beats the LEAF on range, while carrying a slightly smaller battery pack, by virtue of a sleeker and more efficient aerodynamic design.
Sometimes, it's a good thing to change your spots. Shell is doing a bit of that. Shell is not a name I think of at all in terms of clean air infrastructure. More often, I reflect on the problems of the oil company in places it should not be — rainforests, the Arctic, etc. Changing its spots, Shell is offering a new face with a clean air emphasis. Shell is planning a second choice in how it fuels up cars, and it is a good thing for once. Northern Europe will see the beginning of the change. Some Shell stations in UK and Netherlands will reportedly be adding EV charging stations later this year
The post UK & Netherlands Shell Stations To Add EV Charging appeared first on Gas 2.
Volvo Cars will be introducing its first all-electric models in 2019, going by recent comments made by the Senior Director of Electric Propulsion Systems at the firm, Mats Anderson
The post Volvo Will Introduce Its First All-Electric Cars In 2019 appeared first on Gas 2.
We have been hearing lots of good things about the Hyundai Ioniq since last year. It is the first car in the world to offer three different powertrains in the one highly efficient chassis. Buyers will have a choice of a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, and a battery electric. For the first time, shoppers will [&hellip
The battery in all models of the Hyundai Ioniq will be covered by a lifetime battery warranty. That includes the hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric versions of the car. The warranty does not cover battery degradation, however.
The post Hyundai Adds Lifetime Battery Warranty To Ioniq Line appeared first on Gas 2.
The father of a woman killed while driving a Tesla Model S in Indianapolis last November is considering suing Tesla. He says Tesla should not sell such powerful cars to the public.
The post Father Of Woman Killed In Fiery Tesla Crash Considers Law Suit appeared first on Gas 2.
More than 200 years since local public transportation appeared in European and American cities, its basic idea looks and functions pretty much the same as when it started. In most cities, trains and buses are still the primary forms of public transportation.
The French company Navya thinks they have an answer that looks different—and the answer is named Arma. Recently brought to the streets of Las Vegas, the small oval-shaped shuttle has a human attendant, but no steering wheel or brake pedal.
Using GPS, electronic curb sensors and additional technology, the Arma doesn’t need lane lines to make its way along busy Fremont Street between Las Vegas Boulevard and Eighth Street — right in the thick of regular traffic.
Arma holds 12 passengers, and can reach a top speed of 27 mph. However, it will only “speed” up to 12 mph during a two-week test period, the Las Vegas Sun reported.
The vehicle has a range of about 90 miles for each electric charge and takes about five to eight hours to recharge.
Since first testing the Arma in France in late 2015, Navya vehicles have transported more than 100,000 people, and the fleet has grown to 30 and is in use in seven countries around the world, including the United States.
Navya is not the only company pioneering the future of public transportation. American company, Local Motors, showcased its self-driving bus, Olli, on the streets of Washington, DC in June of 2016.
Similar to Arma, Olli is a small, oval-shaped, fully electric and autonomous shuttle. Unlike Arma, however, the only attendant you will find in Olli is its integrated IBM Watson cloud-based cognitive computing system.
Watson’s main function is to analyze and learn from high volumes of transportation data produced by more than 30 sensors embedded throughout the vehicle. Olli’s main party piece, however, is the integration of Watson into the user experience.
Much like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, Watson can understand and respond to passengers’ questions as they enter the vehicle, including questions about destinations (“Olli, can you take me downtown?”) or specific vehicle functions (“How does this feature work?” or even “Are we there yet?”).
After its successful first launch in early 2016, Local Motors plans to bring Olli to more cities around the U.S. in the near future. One unique feature of Olli is that it is designed to be produced locally with the majority of the vehicle created via 3D printing.
As start-ups and tech companies race to find the future of transportation, it sometimes seems as though innovation is pushed simply for the sake of innovation.
Are self-driving shuttles like Arma and Olli the future of public transportation, or are they simply a stepping stone to the next big thing? Only time will tell.
The post News: Self-driving buses: the future of public transportation? appeared first on Clean Fleet Report.
We update this list regularly because the market is changing so quickly. The new models we’ve driven have caused us to rethink the Top 10.
Picking the Top 10 electric car makers now involves making some choices as the number of vehicles available increases. Plug-ins are trending in key markets around the country, although much of the action remains focused in California and other West Coast states. By the end of 2016 the total number of plug-in vehicles (that’s pure battery electrics and plug-in hybrids) sold this year topped 150,000. It’s a year of exponential growth with the expectation this 2017 will be another just like it. We think we’ll see many more miles driven on electrons this year.
This list is subjective and weighted toward functionality with an emphasis on fun, but also factors in sales numbers. Enjoy! Let us know what you think.
These little electric rocket ships have now been on the market long enough to establish a good coterie of adherents. While the Golf holds down the 5th spot in pure electric car sales for 2015, we put it at number one for several reasons.
German engineering – das electric
First, it’s a Golf, which is a great small car package. Its cousin, the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Audi A3, is a similar delight to drive and has been holding its own in that market segment.
The Volkswagen e-Golf is very maneuverable, bringing all of the good suspension work of the seventh generation Golf into an electric car. The packaging of the Golf is another plus. It’s got a decent-size interior with room for five (in a pinch, or four comfortable adults) plus storage behind the hatch in back. While the move to electric drive in an existing platform hasn’t allowed Volkswagen the opportunity to really optimize for the new powertrain, we have no complaints about the standard Golf layout. Then there’s performance: it’s fast, as most electrics are, smart with different regen levels and driving settings, and handles like all the other gas and diesel Golfs, which is to say—great! And the $33,450 e-Golf has been joined by a distant cousin, the Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid, which we recently tested and came away very pleased with what we found. VW has made it clear more plug-ins are coming. We’ve driven recent versions of the e-Golf and everything we said in 2014 still holds true. Road Test: 2014 VW e-Golf. First Drive: 2015 e-Golf. Road Test: 2016 Audi A3 e-tron.
2. Tesla – the 4,800-pound Gorilla
Tesla is described as disruptive technology, but in reality the company has done what auto companies have done for a little more than a century—build great cars and match them up with owners who appreciate them. The Model S is the best-selling plug-in car in the U.S. for 2016, followed by the Model X. Almost two-thirds of the battery electric cars sold in the U.S. had Tesla badges on them. We recently spent some time in a brand-new ludicrously loaded Model X P100D and can verify the appeal of the cars.
The roomy Model S luxury sedan starts at about $66,000 with four battery pack configurations, but now offers five all-wheel drive version that feature even faster acceleration, topping out with the P100D model. Production of the Roadster, the company’s initial product, ended after deliveries totaling 2,500. The Model S electric range goes from a nominal 219 miles to 331 miles per charge in its big battery configurations.
Tesla helped former shareholder Toyota to bring back the Toyota RAV4 EV, an electric SUV and also aided its other OEM shareholder, Daimler (which also has since divested its Tesla shares), with the Smart ED and B-Class Electric.
Now known as simply Tesla (not Tesla Motors since its merger with Elon Musk’s Solar City), has booked more than 350,000 reservations for its upcoming Model 3, its affordable ($35,000) smaller model due to start production in 2017. Tesla continues to battle with auto dealers in many states as it tries to establish a direct-sales model, although founder Musk has admitted his sales plan may not work when they move to the more mass-market Model 3, which he hopes to sell in volumes of up to 500,000 per year. Tesla News, Tesla News & More Tesla News. First Drive: 2017 Tesla Model X P100D.
General Motors has done something remarkable, enough so that we were tempted to jump them up to the top of this chart. They have done two major things to deserve the attention they’re getting. First was to introduce the second generation Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car (which gets tossed in with plug-in hybrids even though its system really takes a different approach). It followed the new Volt with the all-electric 238-mile range Bolt this year.
Beating Tesla to the market with the Bolt was quite a coup, particularly with a car as well-executed as this EV is. And that takes nothing away from the redesigned Volt hatchback that has 50+ miles of electric range and more than 400 miles per gasoline fill-up range in its second generation.
The Bolt is priced at $37,495 before various rebates and incentives kick in while the Volt has a starting price of about $34,490, but also is eligible for federal and state incentives. Sales of the Bolt just started in December, but we predict it will likely be the best-selling in 2017. If the Volt continues it reign atop the PHEV group that would be quite a two-fer for Chevy and GM.
We’ve spent quite a bit of time in this car and think it’s a keeper. It’s won more than a few accolades. The versatility to drive around town and potentially commute as an electric car (Chevy has documented that most drivers will go more than 1,000 miles between fill-ups), coupled with the ability to take longer trips relying on the gasoline “range extender” makes it a great choice for a one-car household.
Also at GM, but phasing out are the all-electric Chevrolet Spark EV; it’s a fun city car with 80-mile range between charges. Sales are tapering off for the Cadillac ELR, which uses a plug-in hybrid drive system similar to the Volt, as it goes out of production.
With all of its Bolt/Volt news, rumors keep circulating that GM may expand its offering to include other brands. It will introduce a Cadillac CT6 PHEV in spring 2017, but more models may be in the offing.
Here are some of our road tests/news stories on GM plug-ins—First Drive: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt; News: First Bolt Owner; Road Tests: 2017 Chevy Volt; 2016 Chevy Volt; News: 2017 Cadillac CT6 PHEV; 2014 Chevy Spark EV; Cadillac ELR.
Nissan is the sales leader of affordable pure electric cars and is staying the course in its commitment to this technology. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn reiterated recently that his company will support electric drive while also offering plug-in hybrids and fuel cell electric cars and hybrid-electric models.
The company’s flagship car is the Leaf, a five-door, five-seat hatchback that is the right size and range for many who drive around 100 miles daily. Nissan makes the Leaf and its batteries in Tennessee for the U.S. market and bumped up the range this last year. It is promising a 200+ mile range version soon. Used Leafs are now coming off lease and onto the market, presenting another option for eco-buyers.
5. BMW – the Ultimate Electric Driving Machine?
BMW has charged into the electric car space with two strong contenders—the hot-selling i3 and the i8 plug-in hybrid supercar. We’ve driven both and are impressed by both, as are many others.
The i3 (which actually comes in two versions—a pure battery electric and a ranged-extended EV) is the fourth best-selling plug-in car in the U.S. in 2016, behind only the two Teslas and the Leaf. The i8 is no slouch, either, sitting solidly in the Top 10 plug-in hybrids. Not bad for a car that lists for $136,500. The i3 starts at $42,400. Like most manufacturers, BMW has begun to launch more plug-in models, including the 2016 X5 xDrive40e that we tested, and plug-in versions of the 3-Series and 7-Series. Road Test: 2014 BMW i3. First Drive: 2015 BMW i8.
6. Ford – Variety Is Their Spice of Life
Ford has made a commitment to fuel efficiency that starts with their widely used EcoBoost engines (basically smaller turbocharged direct-injection engines that can replace larger non-turbo port-injection powerplants). Ford has a trio of plug-in vehicles that are the tip of the spear for its environmental efforts. They start with the full-electric Ford Focus and two plug-in hybrids, the Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi (both of which also come in a plain-Jane hybrid version).
Sales have been steady, but the Fusion Energi in particular had a great year and the pair were the second and third best-selling models in the PHEV sales behind the Volt. They sacrifice some trunk space for the added batteries (compared to the hybrid models), but deliver solid performance and enough for 21 miles of electric-only driving (which is being bumped up slightly in 2017). Ford is adding a hybrid version of the best-selling vehicle in the U.S., the F-150 pickup as well.
But that’s not all. Ford is also pushing strongly into the mobility space while also using its electrified vehicles like the Fusion as the test-bed for its autonomous vehicle projects. It’s recent smart mobility projects included adding a crowd-sourced shuttle service, Chariot, and an e-bike sharing program.
Toyota, passing nine million hybrid sales worldwide at mid-2016, has dabbled in both plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars, but then seemed focused on fuel cell electric cars, which uses hydrogen to produce electricity on board and power the electric motors.
Toyota’s Prius Plug-In Hybrid has been renamed the Prius Prime and is more distinguished from the standard Prius than in the past. The new model has a longer EV range than its predecessor. Toyota has had some sales success, and has noe promised a new push into electric vehicles. Clean Fleet Report tested the original model, comparing it with the better-known non-plug-in version.
Toyota also offered a limited model in California: the only all-electric SUV, the RAV4 EV, with an advertised 150-mile electric range (produced with some help from Tesla, in which Toyota was a shareholder) and earlier did a limited EV run of its minicar, the iQ. Now on the market is the Mirai, a fuel-cell sedan with a 350-mile range and a $57,000 price tag (it delivered more than 1,000 Mirais in 2016). Toyota offers 12 hybrid models (Toyota & Lexus) with similar electric motors and advanced battery packs, sometimes shared with its electric cars. We’ve tested most of those. First Drive: 2013 RAV4 EV. Road Test: Plug-In Prius and Prius Liftback. First Drive: 2016 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle. First Drive: Toyota iQ
Don’t forget the Korean plug-ins
Kia has its Soul EV on the market and its making its presence know. We’ve had a chance to test it. Along with its parent company Hyundai, Kia is scheduled to launch two plug-in hybrids (the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima) and a Hyundai Ioniq sub-brand that, like the Ford Fusion, will have a hybrid and plug-in hybrid, but also will add a pure electric model. We covered the introduction. In addition, the ambitious company already has launched the Kia Niro dedicated hybrid, which impressed us as well. Hyundai has been leasing its Tucson fuel cell electric vehicles in Southern California for several years now. Road Test: 2015 Kia Soul EV; Road Test: 2017 Hyundai Sonata PHEV.
In America only with electric motors
Daimler is the automotive giant that owns Mercedes-Benz and Smart and also was a Tesla stockholder. While it has had two pure EVs on the market for a while, this year it added three plug-in hybrids—the C350We, GLE 550e and S550 Plug-in.
The two-seat Smart ED has been selling in small numbers (many to the company’s Car2Go car-sharing subsidiary). The Smart ED minicar went through three generations and we’ve driven the latest version, but only with the gas engine. Mercedes has two versions of its subcompact B-Class, a pure electric with 87 miles of range that we recently had a chance to drive and a fuel cell electric vehicle with a more than 300 miles of range, the only versions of that car available in the U.S. The electric B-Class and Smart ED are at the bottom of the sales list for 2016, selling less than 1,300 units between the two models. The company has announced a massive investment in electric drive vehicles so the expectation is that every year more plug-ins will be coming to the market. The next generation fuel cell car also should surface soon. First Drive: First Drive: 2016 Mercedes-Benz B250e; Smart Fortwo ED.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is selling the Fiat 500e somewhat reluctantly, but don’t let that turn you away. Even though FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne famously claims the company
loses $14,000 on every $32,780 500e it sells, they do need to sell quite a few of them to meet California’s ZEV (zero emission vehicle) mandate so take advantage while you can.
It’s a fun all-electric city car. We thought it was the most fun car of the EV bunch until the e-Golf came out and trumped it both in functionality and fun. Very affordable (sub-$100/month) lease deals have been available for this spunky EV in California (its main market). It manages to carry through the Italian charm and personality found in its gas models. The major drawback, which could be an advantage in an urban location, is the small size of the vehicle. As a two-door with a small back seat, its capability of carrying four adults is limited. Road Test: Fiat 500e.
That’s the Top 10, but the good news is there are even more models on the market and some have come and gone already. Coda Automotive, with its warmed-over Chinese sedan, has departed, but Fisker (now Karma) Automotive has revived its high-end plug-in hybrid under new Chinese ownership.
Honda sold a limited number of its Fit EVs and similarly stopped selling the Accord Plug-in Hybrid. Like Toyota and Hyundai, it is focusing on Clarity fuel cell electrics as its main EV strategy going forward, but could return to a pure EV and PHEV depending on market trends. It continues to promote ideas like an integrated car and home energy system that would depend on a plug-in car.
Volvo has just started selling its plug-in hybrid version of the XC90 SUV, though numbers are expected to remain low. We tested it recently and came away very impressed. Volvo has indicated more plug-in models will follow.
Mitsubishi still offers the i (formerly i-MiEV), though the company skipped the 2015 model year, but the 2016 we tested wasn’t much different than earlier models. The i fits into tight parking spaces and tight electric car buyer budgets, starting at about $29,000. It’s a very Japanese model five-door, four-passenger hatchback. The i has an electric range of 62 miles (EPA adjusted) with a 16kWh lithium battery. Although it’s been modified for the US market it still feels very much like the Japanese-market original, which is to say, less substantial than many of its competitors. Mitsubishi also reiterated its intent to bring a plug-in version of its popular Outlander SUV to the U.S. this coming year (as has been promised for several years).
Then there’s Porsche (another VW affiliate) with its plug-in Panamera sedan, Cayenne SUV and 918 sports car also in the market. Other companies have teased plug-ins, but we’ll wait until we see hardware before
A plug-in Porsche
adding them to any list.
California and seven other states reaffirmed their goal to have 3.3 million electric cars (including plug-in hybrids and fuel cells) on the road by 2025. The numbers are basically accounted for in the ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) mandate that the states have in place, but rely on a steep ramp up of sales after 2020. Based on sales reports, more than 500,000 plug-in vehicles have been sold in the U.S. since the Tesla roadster was introduced in 2008. More than half of them were in California.
There is a lot of innovation from around the world that did not make this Top 10 List, which focuses on the current U.S. market. Please bookmark this Top 10 List and check back as we update. Exciting new electric cars are being driven on the U.S. streets and freeways. Nissan is an early mover with battery-electric cars, now eclipsed by Tesla and General Motors has led the way with plug-in hybrids, but competition is heating up and new models due during the next year or two could dramatically alter the field. The winner will be the customer.
Related stories you might enjoy:
How Long Will It Take To Convert The U.S. Fleet To Electric?
Road Test: 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf
First Drive: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt
Road Test: 2014 Chevy Volt
Road Test: 2016 Nissan Leaf
Road Test: 2016 Fiat 500e
The Top 10 Electric Cars You Can Buy
Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class. We also feature those that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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