News: Volvo Electric Performance Brand Polestar Displays First Car/Showroom

News: Volvo Electric Performance Brand Polestar Displays First Car/Showroom

Images of Polestar 1/Showroom Released Ahead of Geneva Motor Show

Its new owners are taking the Volvo car brand to places it has never been before. The best evidence will be shown to the European public for the first time this week at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. The Polestar 1 will be the flagship of this new sub-brand focused on electric performance.

Polestar 1

First car for the Volvo electric performance sub-brand will be the Polestar 1

Order books for the Polestar 1, a plug-in hybrid GT, will open shortly, while production is slated to start mid-2019. According to Volvo, interest has been strong in the 600 horsepower (hp) coupe that will offer 93 miles of all-electric range. Two electric motors producing 218 hp drive the rear wheels while a 2.0-liter gas engine powers the front. That range can be expected to drop if you put the 738 pounds-feet of torque to work.

The Polestar 1 is also one of the first vehicles being sold on a subscription model. Buyers will pay an all-inclusive monthly fee covering vehicle use, insurance and including a pick-up and delivery service for maintenance, a number of car rental days and access to a range of concierge and on-demand services.

A Minimalist Cube

Prior to the show Polestar also showed drawings of its new minimalist cube retail stores and its headquarters, which is being built on Volvo grounds in Sweden. Polestar started as the performance brand for gas-powered Volvo tuner cars, essentially the Swedish version of AMG. It now is a separate brand with its own engineering and R&D departments, but still will benefit from the scale of larger parent Volvo.

Polestar 1

The Polestar 1’s interior follows recent Volvo styling trends

The brand’s retail stores, called Polestar Space, will open in mid-2019 in the U.S., China, Germany, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands. Other country locations will be added later. Polestar 2 and Polestar 3 models, both full electrics, are planned to follow next year as well. Polestar 2 is described as a midsize battery electric vehicle designed to compete with the Tesla Model 3; Polestar 3 will be an all-electric SUV.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy: Electric Performance

 News: 2019 Volvo V60 Wagon Will Have Two PHEVs

News: Volvo Cars Joins the Electric Parade

News: Mercedes-Benz AMG To Move to Hybrid Powertrains

 

News: 2019 Volvo V60 Wagon Will Have Two PHEVs, One For U.S.

News: 2019 Volvo V60 Wagon Will Have Two PHEVs, One For U.S.

Wagons Making Comeback, Volvo Plugs Them In

In the 1960s, station wagons were the choice of American families. Their sales were usurped in the mid-1970s by the minivan, which later gave way to the sport-utility vehicle. Today, crossover SUVs are at the top of the sales charts. However, Volvo never gave up on wagons.

2019 Volvo V60

The baby brother look (not a bad thing)

In Europe wagons are called “estate” vehicles. Squared off, boxy Volvo wagons may not have been pretty, but they were safe. While they are still regarded as one of the safest vehicles to own, the boxy styling has been discarded by the Chinese-owned Swedish automaker, which has been on a roll over the past few years with a string of visually stunning vehicles.

Volvo’s renaissance continues with the unveiling to the automotive media of the all-new V60 last week in Sweden. The new 2019 Volvo V60 wagon carries over the theme set by the larger V90 wagon that debuted two years ago.

“The family estate driver is an important customer for our business and has been for generations,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars. “The new V60 honors that tradition, but also takes it much further.”

That “much further” includes two plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) models, the latest driver assistance features and other safety technology.

Two PHEV Powertrains

There will be two V60 plug-in hybrid models offered, the T6 and T8. Both Twin Engine plug-ins essentially use the same powertrain: A 2.0-liter gasoline inline four-cylinder engine that is twin-charged—supercharged and turbocharged—powers the front wheels. An integrated starter generator (ISG) is sandwiched between the engines and an eight-speed automatic (the ISG charges the battery and cranks the engine during start-stop events). The engines are paired with a 65-kilowatt electric motor mounted to the rear axle to provide all-wheel drive.

2019 Volvo V60

A Swedish aesthetic inside–safety and serenity

In the T6 Twin Engine, the 2.0-liter makes 253 horsepower (hp) and 258 pounds-feet (lb.-st.)of torque. With the rear electric motor added, the overall system output is 340 hp and 435 lb.ft. Step up to the T8 and the four produces those ratings upped to 303 hp and 295 lb.-ft., with total output of 390 hp and 472 lb.-ft. Both models have the same electric-only range of up to 28 miles. Despite their different power outputs, both will make the 0-62 mph run in 4.8 seconds.

2019 Volvo V60

Lots of space in the back of a wagon

While that’s good news, the bad news is the T8 is not coming to the U.S., at least not for now. When it arrives, the V60 will launch with a buyers’ choice of a 250 horsepower 2.0-liter gasoline turbocharged T5 four-cylinder front-wheel drive or T6 plug-in hybrid. At least we can expect it to top the XC90 PHEV’s 62 MPGe (though fuel economy numbers have not been released and easily join Clean Fleet Report’s 30 MPG AWD Club.

New V60 Joins Volvo’s Latest Styling Direction

In profile, the new 2019 Volvo V60 looks much more sculpted and stylish than the wagon it replaces. Up front, the V60 borrows heavily from Volvo’s V90 wagon. The “Thor’s Hammer” LED lights proudly flank the grille and the T-shaped running lights look very similar to the ones on the larger wagon. But the V60 differentiates itself with larger, more pronounced lower intake openings. On the backside, Volvo’s traditional L-shaped tail lamps follow the shape of the rear D-pillar and then slice inward toward the center of the hatch.

The new model is based off Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture that underpins other models like the V90 and XC60 and XC90 crossovers. The most obvious difference between the V60 and big-brother V90 is in length. The V60 is almost 7 inches shorter than the V90, though the wheelbase length has only been reduced by 3.9 inches. Elsewhere, the V60 is only an inch or two smaller in both width and height.

2019 Volvo V60

Volvo keeps on its traditional road, but with contemporary equipment

Inside Like Other New Volvo Models Plus, Lots of Safety

The 2019 Volvo V60’s interior is visually identical to that of the XC60 crossover and 90-series cars, with a vertically oriented touchscreen in the center console, only a few buttons and knobs below it, a digital gauge cluster and the same lovely wood and aluminum inlays on the dash and doors. The Sensus infotainment system, which carries over unchanged, is fully compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and has a built-in 4G Wi-Fi hotspot.

Being a Volvo, the V60 comes with a number of safety and driver assistance systems, including lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring. Standard safety features include advanced driver support systems found in the 90-Series and XC60. The City Safety with Autobrake technology uses automatic braking and detection systems to assist the driver in avoiding potential collisions. Volvo says it is the only system on the market to recognize pedestrians, cyclists, and large animals.

The 2019 Volvo V60 also comes with the latest version of the company’s Pilot Assist semi-autonomous system that can now operate unassisted on “well-marked roads” at a maximum speed of 80 mph. It also will be equipped with Run-off Road Mitigation and Oncoming Lane Mitigation.

Official pricing will be announced at a later date. Following its official reveal in Sweden last week, the V60 will greet the public at the Geneva Motor Show on March 8.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy: Other Volvos; Other Wagons

News: Volvo Cars Joins the Electric Parade

Road Test: 2016 Volvo XC90 PHEV

Road Test: 2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

Road Test: 2017 Volkswagen Alltrack

Flash Drive: 2017 Tesla Model X

Road Test: 2018 Subaru Outback

Road Test: 2016 BMW 328d xDrive Sports Wagon

News: 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrids Bring Some Green to Chicago Auto Show

News: 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrids Bring Some Green to Chicago Auto Show

Eco-Friendly Sedans Show Off New Looks and Features

After refreshing the standard gasoline model last year, Hyundai took the wraps off its Sonata hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants this week at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show. While the two powertrains remain the same, the Sonata Hybrid and Sonata Plug-in Hybrid get the same refresh in exterior and interior design that was bestowed upon the non-hybrid Sonata last summer along with some new tech features.

2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrids

Leading the way with a new look

Major Exterior Refresh

Carrying all the same exterior updates as the gas-only Sonata, a redesigned grille anchors the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid’s exterior changes. The larger hexagonal grille includes more horizontal lines, a lower placement of the Hyundai logo and a more defined air dam with ailerons at its corners. A new headlight shape stretches up and back; LED headlights with Dynamic Bending Light functionality are optional. The hood, front fenders and a new shape for the fog lights gives the car a stronger presence and sleek look. The side panel below the doors and rear end are reshaped, as well.

At the back are new taillights and a new deck lid. The license plate holder is now positioned below the trunk. The hybrids get distinctive, flatter, aerodynamic16-inch and 17-inch wheel designs that help distinguish the 2018 models. All of these changes add up to a class leading 0.24 coefficient of drag.

Inside, More Changes

2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrids

Instead of a tach you get to now your charge level

Inside, there’s a new steering wheel, and behind that a revised instrument cluster where a state-of-harge indicator occupies the gasoline model’s tachometer space. The standard seven-inch touchscreen (or eight-inch with optional navigation) is positioned slightly higher and is easier to see and reach than the previous model’s. The arrangement of buttons and controls is cleaner. Other tech improvements include wireless phone charging for navigation-equipped models and an added USB port for the rear seat.

The infotainment system is upgraded with new navigation overhead perspective features. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. Options include the aforementioned navigation and real-time HD traffic updates from mapping company Here.

Repeat Drivetrains

The engine in the hybrid powertrain for both models stays essentially the same with a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder gasoline engine tuned for maximum efficiency and producing 154 horsepower and 140 pounds-feet of torque. Between the engine and a six-speed automatic

2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrids

The engine in both hybrids a a 2.0-liter four

transmission of the 2018 Sonata Hybrid is a 51-horsepower (38-kW) electric motor rated at 151 pounds-feet. Total system combined power is 193 horsepower. A 1.76-kWh lithium-ion battery pack is located under the trunk floor.

Hyundai estimates the 2018 Sonata Hybrid SE (the highest-mileage model) will be EPA-rated 39 mpg city/45 mpg highway/42 combined—an improvement on the 2017 ratings of 38 mpg city/ 43 highway and 40 combined.

The 2018 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid has a larger 9.8-kWh battery and a more powerful electric motor, at 67 horsepower (50 kW) for a total powertrain output of 202 horsepower. It will take less than three hours to charge the battery on a Level 2 charger.

Safety is a big part of this refresh: blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane change assist are now standard. Automatic emergency braking and lane keep assist are new options for these two cars.

Hyundai didn’t release details on projected electric range, fuel economy, and energy efficiency for the 2018 Sonata Plug-In; the 2017 model was rated at 27 miles of electric driving range, 39 mpg combined, and 99 MPGe.

For improved ride and handling, Hyundai makes several suspension and steering tweaks. The front roll bar has been stiffened, the steering assistance has been recalibrated, and the rear trailing arms have been fitted with new bushings.

Pricing, Availability

2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrids

More numbers will be coming later–for now, it’s all about the looks

Pricing for the 2018 models has not been released. The 2017 Sonata Hybrid started at $26,000 before destination charges and the 2017 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid at $34,600 before destination. Sonata Plug-in Hybrid buyers are eligible for a $4,919 federal tax credit.

The standard Sonata Hybrid will be available in the first quarter this year, with the Plug-in version following in the second quarter. However, the PHEV will only be sent to dealers in selected states: California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy:

Road Test: 2017 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid

Road Test: 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Road Test:2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Road Test: 2018 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid

Road Test: 2018 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid

Today’s Vehicle, With a Big Upside

The 2018 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) is a stylish and useful compact crossover. You can drive it much of the time on battery power and, when necessary, take a long trip using the gasoline engine.

Kia has sold an all-electric Soul for several years. It also offers hybrid and PHEV versions of its Optima midsize sedan, but the Niro is meant to be the brand’s green warrior. A hybrid Niro preceded the plug-in; when I tested one, I recorded 43.8 mpg. An all-electric version just debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and is due in a year or so, with a reported range of 238 miles. That just happens to be the same as the Chevrolet Bolt EV, which currently is the most affordable way to go 200+ miles between charges. There is no gasoline-only Niro.

2018 Niro Plug-In Hybrid

The right size and shape for a plug-in?

The 2018 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid is blessed with appealing, nicely balanced lines and proportions, without any extreme styling excesses. It wears Kia’s now familiar “tiger mouth” grill with the pinch in the middle. It looks good from every angle.

Inside Class As Well

The interior design is complementary, with cleanly rendered panels that blend smoothly and surprisingly rich-looking textures wearing matte finishes. What might be taken for hard plastic on the door and dash panels is slightly padded, giving the car a more upscale feel. The switchgear feels durable and moves with precision. An asymmetrical center console sweeps down from the dash, implying some sportiness.

Both the inside and outside classiness owe their dignity to former Audi designer Peter Schreyer, who has led Kia and Hyundai design for a decade, transforming both brands’ design language and image.

As a hybrid, the Niro combines a 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with a 60-horsepower electric motor, which in PHEV form is fed by an 8.9-kWh battery. This energy source weighs 258 pounds versus the much smaller and lighter battery in the standard Niro Hybrid, which only gathers electrons by regenerative braking. The engine’s 104 horsepower and 109 pounds-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque mixes with the motor, with its robust 125 lb.-ft. of torque, giving a total of 139 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque combined.

2018 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid

The commuting numbers turned out very nice

A stop-and-go system turns the engine off when the car is stationary, further saving gasoline. The drivetrain flows through a six-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The car is no rocket, with an 8.8-second zero-to-sixty time. When you press the pedal down hard, you’ll hear the sound of downshifting and an engine working hard to contribute its part to moving the 3,450-pound crossover forward. I noticed this mainly on the uphill climb to my house, but it was otherwise not a big deal.

The Mileage Numbers

The 2018 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid earns 110 MPGe city/99 highway/105 Combined on the EPA’s tests, and a still decent 48 mpg city/44 highway/46 combined on gasoline only. The official battery range is 26 miles, although my test car’s display always read 24 when it was full. That, luckily, was enough for me to commute all week on electricity alone, leading to an exemplary 81.3 mpg for the week. If you rarely go more than 24 miles on a trip, you may find your gas lasts for months. Kia claims an impressive gas + electric range of 560 miles.

EPA Green Scores are 7 for Smog and a perfect 10 for Greenhouse Gas.

Three Flavors

The 2018 Kia Niro PHEV comes in three trims—LX, EX, and EX Premium. My Platinum Graphite tester was an

2018 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid

The Niro interior stays classy

EX Premium with a soothing light gray interior. The price-leader FE model hybrid isn’t sold as a plug-in.

The LX offers a decent sound system, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, a smart key with pushbutton start, and more. The EX adds safety features, including blind spot detection, lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert. You also get “hybrid” cloth and leather seats, heated front seats and outside mirrors, 10-way driver seat adjustment with lumbar support and more. The EX Premium steps it up with leather seat trim, three-level heated and ventilated seats, a larger 8-inch touch screen on the dash and a voice-command navigation system.

With an 8.9-kWh battery, you can easily fill the battery at a Level 2 240-volt charger in a couple of hours from empty, or fill it overnight at home on 120-volt household current. When I charged at work after my 18-mile commute, I received a bill for less than a dollar! The charge door includes a small light—a thoughtful touch.

You can use the console button to set the car to EV or HEV mode. In the default EV mode, the Niro uses pure electricity until its big battery is depleted, and then runs as a hybrid. In HEV mode, you can select hybrid driving right away and retain the power for later. That’s great for cruising on the freeway in hybrid mode and preserving the electric power for local driving when you reach your destination. I did notice the engine kick in sometimes in the morning when I started up, even when I thought was EV mode.

The Long & the Short of It

At just 171.5 inches long on a 106.3-inch wheelbase, the car is tidy for nipping around town, but can carry 54.5 cubic feet of gear when you flip down the rear seats.

2018 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid

A small badge and a big plug separate this from the straight hybrid

Pricing starts at $28,840 for the LX and moves up to $32,440 for the EX and $35,440 for the EX Premium. All prices include shipping. My car’s only option was $135 worth of carpeted floor mats.

As a crossover, the 2018 Kia Niro PHEV is sitting pretty, right in the middle of today’s most rapidly growing vehicle segment. I found it just right for family and musical instrument hauling.

The Niro PHEV just won Green Car Journal’s Green SUV of the Year Award, so I expect to see lots of them on the road soon. Plug-in hybrids provide local electric-only clean driving with zero range anxiety when you range farther afield. Until EV batteries are all high-range and quick charge, and the charging network is built out more, it’s the ideal choice for many people.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy:

News: Kia Niro EV Showcased

News: 2018 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid Introduced

Road Test: 2017 Kia Niro FE

Road Test: 2017 Kia Niro Hybrid (Larry’s view)

Road Test: 2017 Kia Niro Hybrid (Steve’s view)

Road Test: 2017 Kia Niro Hybrid (John’s view)

News: 12 Greenest Cars Of 2018 Revealed

News: 12 Greenest Cars Of 2018 Revealed

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.

  1. Hyundai Ioniq Electric

2017 Ioniq Electric Vehicle

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.

  1. Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

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.

  1. BMW i3 BEV

BMW i3

BMW i3

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.

4. Tesla Model 3 Long Range

 

Tesla Model 3

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.

  1. Chevrolet Bolt

 

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV

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.

  1. Kia Soul EV

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.

Kia Soul

Kia Soul

  1. Hyundai Ioniq Blue Hybrid

2017 IONIQ Plug-In Hybrid

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.

  1. Toyota Prius Eco

 

Toyota Prius Two Eco

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. 

  1. Ford Focus Electric

 

2017 Ford Focus Electric

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.

  1. Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid

 

Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid

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.

  1. Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid

 

Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid

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.

  1. Chevrolet Volt

2018 Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt

 

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.

Personal: Batting 1,000

Personal: Batting 1,000

Clean Fleet Report Hits Milestone

Something special happened this week and we just want to let you know. Clean Fleet Report published its 1,000th story. That’s quite a landmark for a start-up, but we’re just getting going. We published more than 200 stories last year as we moved into more in-depth coverage of fuel economy and advanced technology news. The 1,000th story—and the two that bracket it—are a good way of telling the Clean Fleet Report story.

2017 Toyota Mirai

2017 Toyota Mirai–a fuel cell pioneer

Story 1,000 – Toyota Mirai Hits 3,000 Sales

This news story is a good shorthand for the biggest change of this past year’s expanded coverage. In order to bring you more information on the fast-changing world of zero and near-zero emission vehicles. In 2006, when this publication started, fuel cells were essentially science experiments. They worked, but any vision of them as a day-to-day vehicle seemed like some science fiction fantasy. Fast forward to today and, in California, you have a choice of three FCEVs you can lease (or even buy in the case of the Mirai). More models are on the horizon and the fueling infrastructure continues to grow. Several of our staff have had the chance to drive and live with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (John in the Tucson and Mirai, Steve in the Mirai, me in the Clarity). We have a feeling we’ll be reporting on fuel cells more and more as we head to the end of the decade.

Story 999—Road Test of the 238-mile Range Chevrolet Bolt EV

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV–breaking through the 200-mile range barrier

The breakthrough Bolt is celebrating it’s first full year on the market, which we celebrated with our first full road test. Of course, we haven’t been ignoring Bolt news during the year as it racked up more than 23,000 sales. Beyond the test drives and news stories, Clean Fleet Report has been bringing a more personal story about this amazing car through staff Steve Schaefer, who put his own money on the line to lease a Bolt a little more than a year ago. His journey with the car illuminates more details of where the EV market is going.

Story 1,001—Road Test of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid

2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Hybrids keep expanding their reach–and capabilitie

The first story of our second millennium of stories is a good window into how far industry has come. SUVs are hot and even though gas prices are low, companies remain focused on turning out more and more efficient models. The Highlander Hybrid is one of eight in the Toyota lineup (one of which, the hot-selling Prius Prime, is a plug-in hybrid). More important, it’s one of more than a dozen SUVs available as hybrids, plug-in hybrids, full electric or fuel cell vehicles. This changing world is the one we’re here to document, offering you insight into the choices that are out there in vehicles and technologies.

In those three stories you can see a bit of the breadth of news we’ll be covering this year. We’ll add in event coverage and exclusive interviews from our experienced staff. Enjoy the ride!

We always welcome your thoughts and insights as well at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.