The enthusiast group Plug In America noted that, for the first time, U.S. sales of plug-in electric cars (either pure electrics or plug-in hybrids) market will pass a significant milestone this month (May). The 100,000th mark was reached just past two years after their introduction to the market.
Sport utility vehicles and crossovers (crossovers being sport utility vehicles based on a car rather than truck chassis) are popular even as the general trend toward higher MPG vehicles moves forward. The reason is simple: they are functional. One trip to Costco is enough to convince many families that a Prius won’t cut it. Regular trips up to the mountains in the winter to ski could similarly motivate a car buyer to look for an all-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive vehicle rather than the front-wheel drive found on most high-mileage hybrids. Cars don’t always cut it.
All of which leaves the environmentally conscious consumer with some tough choices. If your lifestyle points you toward an SUV or crossover, you still want to do what you can to minimize your contribution to further CO2 in the atmosphere. There are no electric SUVs, no plug-in hybrids (yet) and only a few hybrid and clean diesel models, so the key is to check out the most fuel efficient models that fit your needs. Since one of those needs with this class of vehicles usually entails a good amount of distance travel, we’re using the highway fuel economy as the benchmark for our Top 10 list.
Compared to last year, hybrid sales for the first four months are up 12.3%, almost double the overall market’s gain. Plug-ins are on a tear with 130% growth, but on relatively small numbers. Diesels have taken a dip so far this year, dropping 6.2%, but are expected to rebound when high-volume cars like the Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel, Mazda6 SkyActiv-D, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 hit showrooms later this year. Both the hybrid and plug-in electric segments are also adding models as well.
High-mileage cars are off to a great start for the year with sales up 18% in these three categories in for the first three months of the year compared to last year. The monthly sales average continues to creep up so it is conceivable that sales could edge closer to a million units if the trend continues, which would definitely solidify the market for alternatives to conventional gasoline engines. The first quarter indicates it could be a very good year for high-MPG cars.
You need look no further than the 2013 New York International Auto Show media preview this last week to see that automakers are aggressively laying out multiple paths to get to the fuel economy goals of the U.S., Europe and Japan. Electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, hybrids, diesels and advanced gasoline engines (as well as other technologies) point to a diverse future.
Ford is making a concerted push towards electrification, a key part of its strategy to boost fuel economy across its lineup. The Ford Fusion Energi, which Clean Fleet Report recently had the opportunity to sample for a brief test drive, is the centerpiece of a five-vehicle electrified fleet.
While many recent headlines paint a grim picture of electric vehicle sales and the market future for those vehicles, in reality consumer acceptance of the new vehicles has been stronger than hybrids and can be expected to grow in the future.
Volkswagen showed the latest version of its super-high-mileage cars–and this time said it would put it into production. In testing the two-passenger car delivers 261 miles per gallon. It’s body is made of lightweight but strong carbon fiber and its plug-in hybrid powertrain combines a small diesel engine and electric motors powered by lithium-ion batteries.
While the high-horsepower seventh generation Corvette pointed one future direction for General Motors at the recent Detroit Auto Show, the company had another car that could be as significant for what GM hopes to become in the 21st century. That car is the Cadillac ELR, the company’s second foray into range-extended EVs (after the Chevy [...]
The Prius C hybrid ranked the number one green car of 2013 models by ACEEE. The ACEEE (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy) has been singling out the greenest vehicles for a decade and a half, so their list is eagerly awaited for those focused on fuel efficiency and low pollutant emissions. The 2013 list has some familiar models, but has more new vehicles than any previous list, which shows the rapid shift the market has taken to high-efficiency vehicles.
You can mark 2012 down on the automotive history calendar. For the first time in almost hundred years, consumers have a real choice in cars. We’re not talking about the usual body style, color and equipment choices, but the substantial choice of what kind of powertrain you want under the hood if your focus is [...]
These are not things that are going to mean the death of electric vehicles and may not even slow the solid momentum that plug-ins have built up over the past couple years. But they are not a good sign and definitely put a damper on some of the enthusiasm for alternatives to the traditional internal [...]
Honda is an engineering-led company, which is why it takes pride in accomplishments that might leave other companies scratching their heads at the effort expended. Take for example, its new 2014 Plug-in Hybrid Accord, which Clean Fleet Report recently tested. It became the first vehicle certified to California’s new emissions level–SULEV20. Why should you care? [...]
Auto shows always present a confusing story to the general public because the messages being transmitted through the media are intended for a variety of audiences – everyone from those interested in cheap, basic transportation to the enthusiast looking for the hottest, most-up-to-date muscle machine to the high-roller with money to burn on something exotic. [...]
With 574-miles range, the Accord plug-in hybrid will challenge the Chevrolet Volt, Ford Fusion Energi, and Toyota Prius Plug-in. My test drive was the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV), which will go on sale this January 2013 in California and New York for $39,780. This new Accord has the classic lines of a 4-door, 5-passenger midsized sedan.