BMW Goes Electric on Two Wheels, Too
In the past few years, the auto industry has been busy moving to electric drive. Much of the attention has been on cars and even semi trucks, but the motorcycle world is being impacted as well. One prime example is BMW’s new model of scooter. Let’s see why the new BMW C Evolution Electric Scooter is a game changer.
BMW is moving to electrify on two wheels and four
The Emergence of BMW C Evolution Electric Scooter
The motorcycle industry has becoming more and more competitive over the years. New companies have emerged on the scene and old companies continue to make innovations. BMW, for one, made another creation–the BMW C Evolution Electric Scooter.
BMW C Evolution Electric Scooter: The Specifications
Let’s look at this motorcycle’s specifications and features to get a better idea of why it has become such a game changer in the industry.
Model: C Series
Engine: Electric Motor
Top Speed: 80 mph
Battery: Air-cooled high-voltage battery
Battery Voltage: 133 V (nominal)
Features of the New BMW C Evolution Electric Scooter
The C Evolution is available in Ionic Silver Metallic and Electric Green. The color scheme emphasizes the shape of the motorcycle. Additionally, the touch of light electric green with the complementary color of the ionic silver, creates an attractive guise.
The electric performance of the C Evolution is at the same level as that of a combustion engine. With its 19 kW continuous output, and 35 kW peak output, this motorcycle offers remarkable power.
The C Evolution uses the same plug as electric cars
The version of the C Evolution for the European market also provides about the same level of drive power, with an 11 kW continuous output.
The C Evolution’s European version has top speeds of 129 km/h (80 mph)in long range and 120 km/h (74.5 mph) in the average range. So make sure you have all your safety equipment along.
With its engine technology, the C Evolution can take motorway driving and overtaking with complete ease. It can even carry two people with the same level of affluence. Plus, it can handle just about any type of road – from a steep slope to narrow roads.
Compared to traditional combustion engines, the C Evolution’s electric drive offers significant driving advantages, especially when you’re at low speeds. Its power electronics set-up allows the rider to have a sensitive and spontaneous response.
- Innovative Electric Drive
The C Evolution’s electric drive is integral to its swing arm. The e-motor behind the motorcycle’s battery casing functions as the swing arm’s integrated component.
BMW’s C Evolution also enables an optimum suspension set-up and a sensitive, yet spontaneous response. This is made possible by the proximity of the e-motor output shaft and the arm axles. Together, they minimize the inertia around the swing arm’s center of rotation.
The motorcycle’s secondary drive is positioned by the tooth belt from the location of the e-motor to the output shaft. The total gear reduction of the secondary drive is 1:8.28, and the e-motor’s maximum rotational speed is 10,000 rpm.
BMW has conducted a number of different road tests in order to develop a method of energy recuperation. Moreover, the C Evolution’s intelligent recuperation is unique from any other sing-track vehicles in the market. More importantly, it doesn’t have to initiate recuperation as the vehicle does the recuperation automatically when necessary.
BMW’s electric two-wheeler can keep up with the competition
The C Evolution makes use of Torque Control Assist (TCA) as the vehicle’s slip control feature. TCA limits the engine torque on rear wheel slip.
These features are only a few of the reasons why the new BMW C Evolution Electric Scooter is a game changer. Give it a try and see so for yourself. Basically, The C Evolution electric scooter has a lot of features to offer.
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Our First Time Behind the Wheel of the Hot Little Tesla
The Model 3 brings the Tesla magic to a smaller, more affordable package. However, the car isn’t in press fleets, so it’s been hard to get any time with one. Luckily, a friend of mine shared hers with me on a sunny Saturday morning.
The friend connection gave us a chance to experience one of the hottest new cars
The car looks a lot like its big brother, the Model S. The designers managed to capture the same flowing shape in a foot-shorter package. The grill-less nose resembles a Porsche, while the taillamps are generic-looking, lacking the chrome garnish of the S. My white Tesla Model 3 Long Range wore satin finish chrome trim and the optional 19-inch wheels.
Not a hatchback, the Model 3 has a rear trunk, but it looks roomy. The “frunk” in the nose would easily accommodate some modestly proportioned soft luggage. What you won’t see at either end is a motor or other technical component—as it rarely needs service, it’s tucked away.
The Inside Story
Stepping inside before our test drive, I was impressed by the overall quality of the car. Tesla doesn’t use animal-based leathers, so the seats and steering wheel feel good, but there is no new-car aroma. The Model 3 seats are comfortable and supportive, and felt that way from the moment I sat down in the driver’s chair.
You can adjust the seats (manual standard, electric with the Premium package), and as with pretty much everything else, the central screen becomes a storage repository for those settings. The screen is so critical that even the glovebox opens only with a virtual button on the screen.
The steering wheel contains two little balls at the thumb positions. These have multiple uses, depending on which item you’re attempting to control. You can adjust the outside mirrors and steering wheel this way, for example, as well as the typical audio volume and station selection.
The Sky Above
Covering the entire rear half of the car is a stunning glass roof. The glass over the driver and front passenger is only part of the premium package. None of the glass opens, but it certainly lets the world in.
The front seats are supportive–and the back ones seemed low
The gleaming piano black center console pops open to reveal a rubber surface that will hold two cell phones. Press them onto the charger and they connect to the car. Below this panel is a deeper storage bin. My friend says the surfaces are magnets for fingerprints.
In the rear, the seat is surprising low, with a short cushion. Despite providing sufficient legroom, is not very supportive for long distance travel. That’s likely the price you pay for the car’s low, sleek profile. It’s a sedan, not a crossover or hatchback, much lower than, for example, the Chevrolet Bolt.
A Minimalist Dash
The dash is stunningly plain, with a wood veneer strip and slim vents behind the big center panel. The vents themselves are adjustable from the center screen, and you can use your fingers to configure where the air is going, which is kind of fun. You only see the slot, so the air is distributed more subtly.
Only one big distraction here
I found that the screen’s center-mounted position means you’re less likely to consult it underway—or pay attention to speed, for example. But at 15 inches, it is big enough to show you a lot at a glance, and the UX design is state of the art.
The steering column stalks have basic functions only, with the center panel serving up most controls. The left stalk controls windshield wipers and washers, but you can configure more on the screen. Windshield cleaning is completely automatic by default. The right stalk controls the automatic transmission settings. If Autopilot is engaged, pressing D (Drive) twice initiates it. However, this car did not have Autopilot enabled, as the owner didn’t add $5,000 to get it included, and there apparently are some software updates to come to make it fully operational.
More Central Control
Audio controls, like everything else, are accessible from the center panel. The current selection appears on the lower strip of the right side, under the navigation system map. Swipe up to enlarge the panel, and you can choose from a wide variety of digital channels, as well as FM and the contents of your phone. Many blends and specialized stations appeared, although I didn’t spend time experimenting with them. The sound was excellent, although I don’t know the brand or the size/quality of the speakers, which were tucked away unobtrusively.
One screen to rule them all
The doors open electrically with a small button at the top of the grip—it would be easy to miss it. The window drops slightly first, and then you can push the door open and step out. The door panels are quite plain compared to the Model S. This is an area where mass production necessitates simple, straightforward components.
Out on the Road
I placed the gear selector into D and pressed lightly on the accelerator and off we went. Driving someone’s personal car meant I was especially careful. We drove down the street and made a right onto a residential road. I tried pressing harder on the pedal, and the car moved out vigorously. While the Model 3 doesn’t feature a “ludicrous mode” like the S and X, it is good for 5.1 to 5.6-second zero-to-60 times. The steering is taut, and you can change direction with barely a touch. The suspension is firm, so the car feels planted. A big battery below the floor keeps the center of gravity low on electric cars like these.
We jumped on the freeway, where the car took off, as you’d expect. With its optional 310-mile range, the Model 3 should be a willing long-distance traveler, although the superchargers are not free for it, as they are for the Model S and X. The standard Model 3, out later this year, will feature a 220-mile range battery, which is still good for most local travel and competes closely with the Chevrolet Bolt.
The Model 3’s efficiency is beyond reproach. The EPA gives it ratings of 136 MPGe city/123 highway/130 combined. The Greenhouse Gas and Smog numbers are perfect 10s, as expected. You can’t really do better than that today.
Big and little Tesla side-by-side
My friend also has a Model S, so I could compare the cars side by side; I even drove the Model S briefly after my Model 3 test drive. Both cars have the quick acceleration you’d expect from an all-electric vehicle, although the S is more dramatic, about a second faster zero-to-60. The swirling shapes featured in the Model S’s interior are not part of the Model 3’s more straightforward, linear inside. The Model 3’s relegation of all displays and controls to one centrally mounted panel is completely different, too, as the Model S supplements its huge vertical center screen with a traditional instrument panel display.
Dimensionally, the Model 3 measures nearly a foot shorter nose to tail than the Model S, on a wheelbase that’s just 3.3 inches shorter. It’s four inches narrower, too. Tesla weights vary depending on battery size and features, but this 3 is more than half a ton lighter. The Model S has 30 cubic feet of storage versus the Model 3’s 15, and the S’s hatchback is more practical.
The real difference is in the feel. The Model S proudly wears the mantle of a luxury sedan while the Model 3, not as much. The screen-oriented user experience creates a “car of the future” ambiance, but the layout and presentation are not as impressive. The plainness is reminiscent of a new Volvo, with less bling.
The Price & Visible Flaws
However, that’s easily attributable to price. A new Model S 75D starts at $74,500, while the Model 3 starts at just $35,000. However, you can’t order the base car now, because all of the first batch of Model 3s have the long-range battery (310 miles vs. 220) and Premium Upgrade. You can also opt for special paint (anything but black costs extra) and the gorgeous 19-in wheels. In fact, I saw another friend’s configuration screen for his Model 3, and for now, it’s basically a choice of color and wheels.
Model 3 fit-and-finish looks like a work in progress
My Tesla Model 3 Long Range test vehicle came to $52,500. With enhanced autopilot, it would be an additional $5,000.
The Model 3, however impressive, is not without flaws. If you look closely, there are some slight fit and finish alignment issues inside and out that are not expected in a car with a price above $50,000. While these are not deal breakers, they show that as the company takes on the Herculean task of building a car in larger volumes, some items are simply not getting done as perfectly as they are on a brand-new Kia.
Style–and substance–and work to do
While I only spent an hour and a half with the car, part of that time behind the wheel, I was impressed at how smooth and strong it felt, its quietness, and how enjoyable it was to drive. The styling is quite nice on the outside, while the interior proved comfortable, if subdued. With a hatchback and the smaller battery for $35,000, the Model 3 would be an impressive direct challenger to the Chevrolet Bolt, new Nissan Leaf and other EVs to come.
One thing to think about, though. My friend told me that research had shown that for many Model S buyers, their Tesla purchase was a stretch—much higher than they had ever spent before on a car. I think some Model 3 waiting list dwellers will take the plunge and go for the car, warts and all, even if it’s a bit out of their comfort zone. There’s emotion in the Model 3.
Related Stories You Might Enjoy: More Model 3 News & the Chevy Bolt Competition
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Road Test: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt
Personal: One Year with the Chevrolet Bolt
Because we know you’re curious, Steve’s photo collection from test drive is below:
Flash Drive: Clean Fleet Report “Flash Drives” are concise reviews of vehicles that include the major points and are easy and quick to read. A “Flash Drive” is often followed later by a comprehensive test drive review.
One Year Update for the First Affordable 200+-mile Range EV
Is ‘Game Changer’ over used, or maybe even a bit passé, because everything and anything of late is considered the greatest? Just as actors can be celebrities, but all celebrities are not stars, the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV whooshed right past the celebrity tag and quickly became a star. How else would you categorize an all-electric car that goes 238 miles on a single charge and costs in the mid-$30,000 range? That qualifies as a game changer—and a star.
The Bolt story starts with the gauge that tells you there are 200 gas-free miles ahead of you when fully charged
The five-passenger small car market is increasingly being populated by all-electric offerings, with the Volkswagen e-Golf, Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Ioniq, Kia Soul, Ford Focus and Fiat 500e among the top sellers in this category. To design the Bolt from a clean sheet, Chevrolet knew they had to do something far different than these other EVs that topped-out in the 130-mile range and also cost in the mid-$30Ks. And no, they weren’t looking at them for inspiration.
Chevrolet looked higher and went after Tesla. The Tesla S and X can go between 208 and 335 miles on a charge, depending on which model you buy, but you will pony-up between $70K and $120K. The much anticipated (and delayed) Tesla Model 3 is rated at a 310-mile range (for the big battery pack), but the base price is somewhere around $44,000. The latest word out of Palo Alto is that the $35,000, 220-mile range “Standard” Model 3s won’t begin production until the end of 2018.
So, could Chevrolet produce an all-electric car that costs roughly the same as their main five-passenger small car competitors, but has the range of the larger and more expensive contenders? Yep, they did. The Chevrolet Bolt has been on the market for a little more than a year. It is on sale in all 50 states. We thought it was time to catch up with one of the people behind this ground-breaking electric car.
Bolt Philosophy and Importance
Clean Fleet Report had the opportunity to speak with Darin Geese, Chevrolet cars customer segment leader. We covered a range of topics including the Bolt and the electrification of vehicles at General Motors. It was a fascinating conversation.
CFR: What is the importance of the Bolt and its technology within Chevrolet and General Motors?
Geese: The Bolt for Chevrolet and General Motors is the first long-range, affordable electric vehicle in the industry. We are pretty proud we delivered on the three promises made to Mary Barra (General Motors CEO) at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, that we would be over 200 miles (of range); under $30,000; and available to be onsale by the end of the year. We delivered on all three with a 238-mile EV range, a price of $29,995 (less the Federal tax credit) and the first retail deliveries were December 13, 2016.
As we look forward to what role it is playing, the Bolt is the halo. It provides advanced zero emissions technology, and gives a look at what electric vehicles could be in the future. By packaging the battery pack beneath the floor, this opens the passenger compartment because, with a flat floor you don’t have tunnels and footwells. By not having an engine under the front hood, more components can be placed up there, and the windshield can be pushed forward. The Bolt seems smaller on the outside than it really is on the inside.
The hatchback makes the Bolt a crossover in some folks’ view
CFR: How does this apply to other General Motors vehicles?
Geese: This opens it to different vehicles, body styles and types, and let’s us ask “what are the possibilities?”
CFR: What statement did you want to make about the Bolt?
Geese: We wanted to say: we are an all-electric vehicle, providing enough range that pretty much gets rid of range anxiety, as 238 miles will take you through many days of normal driving activities. We still see the average American driving around forty miles daily, round trip. So at 238 miles, this is five day’s worth of driving before needing to recharge. We do encourage people to treat the Bolt like their cell phone and plug it in overnight.
CFR: The EPA estimates a 238-mile range. What feedback have you received from owners about real-world driving distances?
Geese: The majority of our customers are getting more miles than they expected, with reports of over 300 miles. For Chevrolet, it is good to hear back from an average perspective that we are delivering and exceeding on our promises.
CFR: Any first year warranty issues?
Geese: There has been nothing abnormal to the regular vehicles we produce. It is nits and nats, and mostly customers not understanding how the vehicle is supposed to operate. We get people not knowing how to pair their Bluetooth phone, but nothing at all about the electric vehicle technology.
In its first year on sale the Bolt vaulted to the head of the affordable plug-in cars
CFR: How have sales been in the first year? Is the Bolt EV sold in all 50 states and at all dealers? What percentage of Bolt sales are in California?
Geese: Sales through November 2017 have been 20,649 units (ed. note: full year sales were 23,297, second only to the Tesla Model S in plug-in cars), with 50-percent of Bolt sales in California. The Bolt EV is sold in all 50 states, but we do not require all dealers to sell the vehicle. It does take some investment on the dealer’s part, such as putting in charging stations and all the tools and equipment and training they need to sell and service the vehicle. So, we see about a third of our dealers have signed-up, which is good as they are focused and committed. These are the kind of dealers we want to see.
CFR: When the Bolt was being developed, was the Tesla Model 3 a prime competitive target? What, if any, strategies were designed for the Bolt with the Model 3 in mind?
Geese: There was a strategy to be there (in market) ahead of them, which we did before their first units were produced. This is the first mover advantage. But we had to look at them not as a direct competitor, because they are offering a different body style, sort of like a compact luxe sedan. The Bolt is a small crossover and that kind of buyer does not cross shop between sedans and crossovers. It’s going to be interesting how the consumer reacts to their vehicle, their likes and dislikes, especially the packaging from the standpoint of rear headroom and rear leg room. We think we are very competitive in these areas with the Bolt EV.
CFR: You mentioned the Bolt is a crossover. I see it as a compact car.
Geese: When we do our product research, that is exactly one of the things we try to understand: What would you call this vehicle? How would you describe it? And for the most part customers said
This small wagon that plugs in is popular in California
it is a cross between a SUV and a passenger car. It’s a funny thing, because there is no official SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) definition of a crossover. When we submit our information to the EPA, they also do not have a crossover segment. They have SUVs and they have wagons, so the Bolt ended-up being classified as a small wagon, just like the Kia Soul, Toyota Prius V and Nissan Juke. It’s kind of a mixed bag of what is in there. For the most part, we do feel confident in the crossover designation as you do sit up higher with a bit more commanding view of the road, you have a tremendous amount of cargo space and the flexibility of the vehicle being able to manage both passenger and cargo. We even have the optional Rear Camera Mirror that is geared towards when there is a lot of cargo in the back and blocking your vision.
CFR: Let’s talk about the General Motors autonomous vehicle program. Is Bolt the go-to vehicle for self-driving cars within GM?
Geese: At this time we are utilizing the Bolt EV as the platform to develop our autonomous vehicle technology. And that is pretty much all we can say about it.
CFR: In closing, what are your thoughts on the past year, the next big thing for the Bolt, the Bolt platform, and electric vehicles within Chevrolet and General Motors?
Geese: We are very happy with the Bolt EV at our one-year anniversary. Month-over-month sales increases and everything about the vehicle, from production to customer satisfaction, has been good. You know, these buyers are very tough critics sometimes, very specific about what they want. So, when you hear great feedback and satisfaction, especially with the number one reason they are buying the vehicle, which is the EV range, we are knocking that one out of the park.
We are always looking out for the next big thing, like do we want to do a sedan, or more of a SUV? This market is so new that defining the sweet spot is anyone’s guess at this time. It was very interesting to see all the other manufacturers come out with different types of EVs, with different body styles and how they present those, and the consumers’ reactions.
So, it is very exciting times at this point. We are excited to continue on.
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Cargo & People Hauling To Became Cleaner in 2019
Mercedes-Benz pulled the covers off its new Sprinter van line this week at the company’s logistics center on the Mercator Island in Duisburg, Germany. In addition to the usual diesel- and gasoline-powered models, the truck and carmaker Daimler revealed an all-electric Mercedes-Benz eSprinter. The eSpritner goes on sale in Europe in 2019 and will be offered eventually in the U.S., said Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.
Few Electric Drivetrain Details
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz eSprinter will be front-wheel drive only and at this point Mercedes says the new van will have a 41.4-kilowatt-hour battery pack and a driving range of around 100 miles. The exact specifications could change before the vehicle comes to market, including the battery size.
It’s a big electric box
According to Mercedes, the pairing of the electric battery with dedicated front-wheel drive lowers the load floor by 80mm and may end up as a slightly lighter drivetrain. Both low load floors and lighter vehicle weight are important factors not only for fleet purchasers, but for the drivers who end up running delivery routes in them.
Mercedes says the eSprinter will primarily be used in large metropolitan areas, where range isn’t critical, but emissions are. European cities like London, where electric-vehicles are exempt from a congestion charge, will likely make the electric van a popular choice for small and large trucking fleets. Mercedes says operating an eSprinter will cost about the same as a diesel-powered Sprinter. These electric vans can be tailored for specific payload requirements.
In Profile, Still A Sprinter Van
The 2019 Sprinter van’s exterior hasn’t changed much since its 1995 introduction. In profile, the new third-generation model remains with its boxy design, but the front and rear have some nips and tucks to look fresher. Of note, the new look up front adapts the latest Mercedes design direction that applies to both its latest vans and passenger cars.
The Sprinter dash ups the tech quotient
Inside, the story is much the same. That means the Sprinter retains its durable, everything-is-hard plastic. But changes were made to bring the van into the 21st century, such as incorporating the display screen into a semi-floating part of the dashboard that tilts upward. There’s also a plethora of storage from under-seat cubbies to large slots and bins on the dashboard. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Mercedes-Benz without door-mounted seat controls.
It’s not known what tech gear will be offered on the eSprinter when it arrives, but the standard van is lousy with new=fangled tech, whether it’s intended for driver convenience, safety or the fleet company.
In terms of safety equipment, the Sprinter’s tried-and-true Crosswind Assist system returns to help mitigate the effects strong wind has on a slab-sided van. Distronic will guide the van in its lane on the highway, keeping distance between the Sprinter and any traffic ahead. It’ll brake on its own if something gets in the way, and traffic-sign recognition will help drivers navigate unfamiliar areas.
The Sprinter will come in several different configurations
LED headlights will keep the road ahead nice and bright, while a new “Wet Wiper” system puts the wiper fluid nozzles inside the wiper arms for better dispersal and less spray-related mess. USB Type C connections allow you to charge devices at amperages up to 1.5A, but there’s a traditional 12-volt port in there, too, if you need that.
The infotainment screen can display both the backup camera and a top-down view of the world around the van when navigating gets a little tight.
Speaking of infotainment, the Sprinter can also be optioned with Mercedes-Benz’s new MBUX infotainment system. With a 10.25-inch screen, MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) brings new connectivity to the table thanks to a new digital assistant that understands natural-language requests like, “I’m cold” or “The gas tank is empty.” Paired with the MBUX system is the new Mercedes Pro internet connectivity system. It connects customers to help with efficient fleet management, improved navigation, analysis of driving style, digitalized recording and remote vehicle operations.
Regular Sprinter vans will arrive in the U.S. before the end of this year and will be offered for the first time with a gasoline engine in addition to diesel engines. It will have configurations that work for nearly every commercial van use as well as serve as a recreational vehicle platform. It will come as a regular cab—the most popular body for a delivery van—as well as a crew cab.
As for the eSprinter, we’ll just have to wait (hopefully not too long) for details.
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ACEEE Says You Can’t Go Wrong With This Mix Of Green Cars
Choosing a car that meets your household’s needs is one thing, but if you are environmentally conscious your selection might go beyond comfort, cargo room and available options. If you want to reduce your environmental impact, minimize fuel costs or cut the petroleum pipelines from foreign countries, then buy the greenest vehicle that still meets your transportation needs.
To help shoppers choose a greener car, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) in Washington, D.C. compiles an annual survey of what it determines is the most environmentally friendly cars on American roads. Not surprisingly, battery-powered electric and gasoline-electric hybrids are the sole winners for 2018, the 21st year for the list.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Green Vehicle Guide only looks at traditional tailpipe pollutants, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced per mile and fuel economy. The ACEEE uses a complex formula that considers the emissions associated with a vehicle’s entire life cycle–from manufacturing to disposal impact–and the fuel it uses, whether gasoline, diesel or electricity.
The Council also analyzes automakers’ test results for fuel economy and emissions as reported to the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), along with other reported specifications. In addition, the group looks at lifecycle impacts of the car, taking into consideration criteria pollutants, greenhouse gas emissions, looking at upstream emissions of the vehicle’s fuel and also manufacturing and disposal impacts. Four basic data points form the core of the ratings—tailpipe emissions, fuel economy, vehicle curb weight and battery mass and composition (for the hybrid and plug-in vehicles). Finally, they factor in an environmental damage index that tallies the gram-per-mile pollutant rate multiplied by a cents-per-gram of damage costs.
If you’re ready to go shopping for an Earth-friendly new car, here’s the list of the 12 Greenest Cars Of 2018. We are noting their green scores and fuel economy, including the “MPGe” equivalent for EVs. (Beyond the list of 12 environmental winners, the ACEEE also provides car shoppers with lists of more environmentally friendly choices in all car classes at: https://aceee.org/. To add some more data to the mix, we’ve also included links to our road tests and news stories about these models.
Base prices are before any federal, state or local incentives.
2017 Ioniq Electric Vehicle
Leading the pack for the second year in a row is the midsized Hyundai Ioniq Electric. It compiled a “Green Score” of 70 out of a 100, which is the highest rating for a passenger car ever recorded by the ACEEE. The all-electric version of the Ioniq hatchback leads all comers with a class-leading fuel economy equivalent. Base Price: $29,500. EV Range: 124 miles: MPGe: 150 city/122 highway.
Smart Fortwo Electric Drive
Slotting into the number two ranking with a Green Score of 69 is the two-seat Smart ForTwo Electric Drive. Not only is this the cheapest car built by Mercedes-Benz, it is among the greenest rides on the road. However, it is hampered by a limited driving range, a seating capacity of two and a small cargo capacity, but it offers something no other electric car does: the option to drop the top. Base Price: $23,800. EV Range: 58 miles; MPGe: 124 city/94 highway.
A Green Score of 68 was high enough to earn the BMW i3 BEV third on the list in ACEEE’s 12 Greenest Cars Of 2018. This rating is for the odd-shaped i3’s newly available 94 amp-hour battery pack. The i3 is also offered with a small range-extender gasoline engine with fewer EV miles (97), but can travel an additional 83 miles on gasoline. Base Price: $47,650. EV Range:114 miles; MPGe: 129 city/106 highway.
Tesla Model 3
While a Green Score of 67 places the Tesla Model 3 Long Range in fourth place, the wait time for this new car could take up to a year or longer, due to production delays and pre-production demand. This is for the $9,000 optional long range battery Model 3. Base Price: $44,000. EV Range: 310 miles; MPGe:136 city/123 highway.
Chevrolet Bolt EV
One of America’s favorite EVs, the Chevrolet Bolt’s 66 Green Score places it in the number five position. The hatchback compact car offers the latest tech and safety features along with a spacious interior, and an operating range that is sufficient for a typical week’s commute. Base Price: $36,620. EV Range: 238 miles; MPGe 128 city/110 highway.
The Hampster lovin’ Kia Soul EV tallied a 66 Green Score to tie the Chevy Bolt. The boxy Soul EV is roomy and comfortable with a nicely appointed interior. However, it is only available in California and nine other states. Base Price: $32,250. EV Range: 111 miles; MPGe: 124 city/93 highway.
Hyundai Ioniq Blue Hybrid
With a Green Score of 65, the Hyundai Ioniq Blue is the top hybrid on this year’s ACEEE’s list of greenest cars. With handsome styling inside and out, the compact Ioniq hybrid tops all hybrids with its impressive fuel economy. It’s also available in plug-in hybrid and electric models. Base Price: $22,200. MPG: 57 city/59 highway.
Toyota Prius Two Eco
The Toyota Prius Eco slipped into second place among conventional hybrids on this year’s ACEEE’s list with a Green Score of 64. Still America’s best-selling hybrid, the Prius Eco Two trim offers the top fuel economy in the Prius lineup. Base Price: $25,165. MPG: 58 city/53 highway.
Ford Focus Electric
A Green Score of 64 lands the Ford Focus Electric in the number eight spot. This compact electric hatchback is affordable, thanks to the one-time $7,500 frederal tax credit and the large cash rebates from Ford. Base Price: $29,120. EV Range: 115 miles; MPGe: 118 city/96 highway.
Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid
Kia’s Niro Plug-in Hybrid tops the plug-in hybrid class with a Green Score of 63. Also available as a standard hybrid (52 city/49 highway mpg), the plug-in version gains battery-only range, but is less efficient in hybrid mode. Base Price: $27,900. EV Range: 26 miles; MPGe: 105; MPG gas: 46 combined.
Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid
Honda made this year’s ACEEE list with the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid that had a Green Score of 62. The plug-in-hybrid version joins EV and fuel-cell Clarity variants, and it’s the only version of this premium sedan that can be purchased outright. Base Price: $33,400. EV Range 48 miles; MPGe 110; MPG gas: 42 combined.
Chevrolet’s Volt is among the dozen “greenest” cars for 2018 with a Green Score of 62. The Volt is equipped with a small range-extending gasoline engine that provides a virtually unlimited operting range, as long as you can find a sas station. But the first 53 miles comes solely on electricity. Base Price: $33,320. MPGe: 106; Gas: 42 highway.
The tally of the Top 12—seven electrics, three plug-in hybrids and two hybrids. Four from Hyundai-Kia, two from General Motors and one each from BMW, Daimler, Ford, Honda, Tesla and Toyota.
Making a Future Move
Harley-Davidson, purveyor of classic American two-wheel rides, is planning to introduce an electric motorcycle in the next 18 months. Amidst declining sales and an aging-out of its core customer base, the company told the Milwaukee Business Journal it is looking to the future as it closes a Kansas City, MO, plant and consolidates production in York, PA.
Harley-Davidson will be up against established electric bike makers like Zero Motorcycles
The new model would likely be based on the LiveWire concept that debuted in 2014. Its motor put out about 74 horsepower and 56 pounds-feet of torque, good for a 0-60 time of about four seconds. Electric motors are good at providing instant torque, without gear changes.
The LiveWire’s 50-mile range would likely be an issue. However, with today’s more advanced battery technology, a range of around 100 miles could help sell the new product to environmentally conscious motorcycle enthusiasts. An electric motorcycle would be best-suited for commuting and local travel, rather than cross-country touring. We’ll have to see if the new bike comes with DC fast-charging capability, which would make it easier to take off on longer trips.
Harley makes an electric move
So much of the riding experience of a motorcycle is the sound and feel of the engine, meaning the new buyer would likely not be from the traditional pool of enthusiasts. Brands such as Zero Motorcycles already offer electric two-wheelers, but H-D is large enough to make an impact in the marketplace with its established dealer network.
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