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.

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Personal: One Year with My Chevrolet Bolt EV

Personal: One Year with My Chevrolet Bolt EV

Electric Promise Delivered Over 10,000 Miles

One year ago, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I took delivery of my long-awaited all-electric Chevrolet Bolt EV. Twelve months later, it has delivered everything it promised.

After testing most of the EVs on the market, I knew I wanted one, but it had to meet my requirements. I needed enough range to drive 170 miles round trip to visit my granddaughters without charging along the way. I also carry musical gear, including an upright bass. I wanted room for at least four passengers and a high-quality sound system, since I commute up to two hours a day.

Of all the EVs on the market, only the Bolt qualified. It had the range I needed and wasn’t too expensive. Besides, it was brand new. So, after agonizing over what color to get, I ordered my Bolt on October 11, 2016.

Chevrolet Bolt

At the beginning

Almost 10,000 Miles Later

In a year, I accumulated just under 10,000 miles and made zero dealer visits. Other than a few minor entertainment system glitches, which corrected themselves with a restart, the Bolt has been totally reliable. And, of course, there is no oil to change or radiator to flush, although I’ve received discount coupons and reminders from my dealer.

There are many things I like about my Bolt EV. To start, the range is enough for everything I need to do. When I pull into my driveway after a granddaughter visit, I still have 50 miles range left in the battery. Although I only saw the 238-mile EPA official range during the warm months of the year, I routinely get at least 200 miles per charge.

Chevrolet Bolt

The Bolt enabled some extensive, but pollution-free trips

I’ve driven my Bolt EV all over the place without range anxiety. Besides the family visits, I took trips to the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, The Nut Tree in Vacaville, and a little adventure to Bodega Bay in Marin county. I recently drove to Tracy with my bandmate, Dan, for Texas Roadhouse steaks. I even cruised down to Monterey for the annual Media Days event put on by the Western Automotive Journalists.

The Commuting Sweet Spot

The Bolt EV is ideal for commuting. As a pure electric vehicle in California, it qualifies for DMV stickers that let you drive in the carpool lane with a Fastrak as a solo driver. This has saved me time and stress (and half the toll).

Chevrolet Bolt

An essential commuting tool–HOV lane stickers

Charging is easy. I park the car in front of my office building and plug it into the ChargePoint charger, using my smart phone app. Depending on how depleted the battery is, I normally receive a text telling me it’s full by lunchtime. Until I install my Level 2 (240-volt) charger at home, I can top off the battery on weekends using standard household current. I’ve used a DC fast charger just twice—only to test it.

When carrying stuff, I simply remove the lightweight cargo cover and flip down the rear seats. Then, I can slide in basses, amps, microphone stands, cables and the rest. The load floor is showing a little wear already, however, as the surface is soft and the carpet is thin. The cargo area has a hidden storage place under a removable panel. When the panel’s in place, it creates a flat, bumper level loading platform.

Practical Fun

Beyond all the practical advantages, the Bolt is fun to drive. With a 900+ pound battery under the floor, its low center of gravity means it’s quite stable in turns. The electric powertrain zips the Bolt to 60 mph in less than 6.5 seconds. The car is whisper quiet without the clamor of reciprocating pistons, so I can listen to SiriusXM satellite radio through the upgraded Bose audio system.

Chevrolet Bolt

The miles do add up

I really enjoy the one-pedal driving feature. Flip the transmission lever from D (Drive) to L (Low), and you get heavy regenerative braking to not only feed the battery but to slow the car down when you lift off the accelerator pedal. In the Bolt EV, you can literally come to a complete stop without touching the brake pedal.

While driving, I use the 10.2-inch center-mounted touch screen and its large, well-marked buttons to view and select audio, climate, navigation and EV performance info. You can watch the energy flow from battery to wheels and back, and evaluate your efficiency based on several criteria, including road conditions, temperature, and use of the heater and A/C.

The attractive, gauge-free instrument panel shows, besides speed and the usual stuff, your calculated range and high and low estimates, depending on your driving behavior and conditions. This is lovingly referred to as the “guess-o-meter,” though I have found it to be pretty accurate.

Not a Complaint-free Zone

The steering wheel offers numerous controls; I especially like using the audio volume and station/channel selection controls, and being able to check my tire pressures instantly.

Chevrolet Bolt

The Bolt can take a load

The low window line and large windshield provide a feeling of airy spaciousness, as does the light gray and white interior. The light dashboard does glare a bit in the windshield in bright sunlight, but polarized sun glasses fix that. I really like the unusually textured white trim sections on the dash.

Some Bolt shoppers and owners have complained about the seats, but they fit me just fine and are firm and supportive, if a bit narrow.

My upper-level Premier model features leather seats and steering wheel, which impart a bit of luxury, although some interior pieces are crafted of typical GM hard plastic. The heated steering wheel is a boon on cold mornings, along with the three-level heated seats.

Tech You Might Not Expect

One of my favorite features is the rear-view camera. This high-tech device replaces your interior rear-view mirror, showing you a wider and clearer image of what’s behind you. I also like the Surround Vision display on the center screen, which helps me park evenly.

The Apple CarPlay interface projects phone content onto the big screen. That suffices for a navigation system, using Apple Maps. I often use the hands-free Siri voice texting app to report my estimated time of arrival to my wife.

My few complaints are minor, and include undersized sunvisors that don’t slide on the side, exposing you to glare, and the entertainment glitches and cheap-looking hard plastic trim. Once, the hook for the rear cargo cover popped off, but it was no problem to slip it back into place.

A Renewal Surprise

One little shock was the price to renew my registration. I wasn’t used to paying the state for a brand-new car with a retail price of $43,905 before rebates. Whew!

Chevrolet Bolt

One year on–the complaint list is short and the fun is long

Last September, I used my EV driver status to host an event at my company for National Drive Electric Week (NDEW)—a longtime dream. I attended two other NDEW events, too, and let people test drive my car at one of them. Many EV owners are proud and pleased to show off their cars at these public events.

The Bolt EV has won a bunch of awards, including Motor Trend’s 2017 Car of the Year and the North American Car of the Year. It has many fans, over 5,000 of whom have joined the Chevy Bolt EV Owners Group on Facebook (I was one of the first 100 members, joining when nobody had a car yet).

The Bolt EV deserves these honors, because it provides electric motoring to most people with its usable range, practical design, and relatively affordable price. I love the way it works for me, and how it looks, inside and out, especially in Kinetic Blue.

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Road Test: 2017 Kia K900 Luxury V8

Road Test: 2017 Kia K900 Luxury V8

Revisiting Kia’s Luxury Sedan

Two years ago Clean Fleet Report had the opportunity to drive Kia’s new luxury sedan, the 2015 K900. As we now revisit the K900, with its V8 engine, we know it is about as far removed from what is usually reviewed on Clean Fleet Report—cars that are powered by alternative fuels or get 40+ mpg on the freeway.

We reviewed the K900 then because we know your automotive needs are varied. Your broad interest in cars, trucks, SUVs and crossovers provides us with valuable feedback, and we appreciate your interest in reading about these vehicles. So, the question is—Is a large luxury car in your future? Could Kia drive into your garage in spite of lacking a luxury heritage. The 2017 Kia K900 asks those questions–and poses some challenging new ones of its own.

Drivetrain

Clean Fleet Report tested the rear-wheel drive 2017 Kia K900 Luxury that was powered by a 5.0-liter V8 DOHC engine, producing 420 horsepower (hp) and 376 pounds-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque, through an eight-speed automatic transmission. It is a rarity when Clean Fleet Report gets into a car with a beastly 5.0L V8, as most cars we test are either four or six cylinders, or don’t have an internal combustion engine at all!

2017 Kia K900

Kia looks to drive into the luxury arena

But we were are glad we did get into the K900 as it was smooth, strong, quiet and powerful—just like we remember it. Something else we faced were fuel economy numbers of 15 city/23 highway/18 combined mpg. We were quickly reminded that the trade-off of a big V8, with its smoothness and power, will be lower fuel economy.

In a few unscientific acceleration runs, the K900 traveled 0–60 in about 5.7 or 5.8 seconds. During lane passes at highway speeds, the eight-speed automatic up-and-down shifted seamlessly and precisely. In 234 miles of mostly Southern California highway driving we averaged 20.1 mpg. In a 150-mile all-highway driving trip, using the advanced smart cruise control, we averaged 25.7 mpg. A very respectable number for a car weighing 4,700 pounds and being almost 17-feet long.

The base model comes with the 3.8-liter, V6 that produces 311 hp and has a fuel economy rating of 17/25/20. Both engines use regular grade gasoline. Our experience with other cars with EPA ratings in the mid-to-high-twenties gives us confidence the V6 could reach near 30 mpg.

Driving Experience: On the Road

The 2017 Kia K900 felt heavy and big on the road, delivering a smooth, quiet and near bump-free ride. You won’t find any creaking or rattles on the solid K900. While not marketed as a performance or sporty car, Kia does know how to engineer and design cars that handle quite well, so cornering was relatively flat thanks to the 19-inch tires and front MacPherson struts and rear torsion beams. Mono-tube shocks helped even-out the ride and provide for flatter cornering. Stopping was straight and true with no fading from the four-wheel disc, ABS system.

The electro-hydraulic power-assisted steering was a bit light and lacked feel, but gave an acceptable balance between a premium highway ride and confident cornering. We did notice on long,

2017 Kia K900

Touchable interiors and extra tech await you inside

straight stretches of highway, frequent small corrections were necessary as the K900 would tend to wander a bit and the ride would become slightly floaty. We were glad the K900 had lane departure warning! Floaty is a relative term and the K900 is nothing like the large sedans from the 1970s and 1980s. The big Cadillacs and Lincolns back then would, on the open highway at 70+ mph, float through the full travel of the shocks. It was quite a thing to experience!

Driving Experience: Exterior

The 2017 Kia K900 is a large four-door sedan with smooth lines and without any unnecessary ridges, bumps or sharp angles. Chrome is kept at an absolute minimum. The roofline has a classic luxury car sweep, leading to a spoiler-less high trunk lid. While the design is pleasant enough, it is conservative and is playing in a crowded field of more recognizable luxury sedans, both by styling and name recognition. One concern Kia has is that from the front view the K900 is hard to differentiate when parked next to Kia’s other sedans, which sell for $25,000+ less. Hyundai, Kia’s sister brand, has demonstrated a luxury car can have style all its own, in the all-new Genesis G90. Chances are the K900 will be redesigned in the near future.

Driving Experience: Interior

Just opening the solid door of the K900 is enough to tip-off there is something good going on inside. The interior seems to be covered everywhere in soft, supple Nappa leather, which in the case of our K900 came with the VIP Plus Package so the seats were also quilted. Real wood and aluminum trim pieces and accents were in just the right places. Even the headliner is made of a suede-like material, adding one more luxury touch.

2017 Kia K900, rear seat

Because control is the key to luxury

2017 Kia K900

The real luxury is in back

The five-passenger seating dares you to not find a comfortable seating position. The driver seat is 16-way power adjustable and the front passenger seat gets eight ways to play around until that “just right” feeling sets in. The VIP Package adds power front headrests, power lumbar adjustment for front and rear seats, driver seat power leg extension and rear seat recline. The front seats are heated and ventilated, as are the outboard rear seats. Staying in the rear, I can only say you need to sit back there to experience the near-limo legroom. With the rear power sunshade and the manual rear side window shades deployed, your passengers will revel in anonymity, feeling like true VIPs during their trip. When folded down, the center rear seat armrest (which also is a ski pass-through) includes climate controls and a 12V outlet. The complete package adds-up to a luxury interior experience.

The driver has three display areas; the head-up display (part of the VIP Plus Package), which appears on the windshield just above the steering wheel; the 12.3-inch LCD information cluster located behind the heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel; and the center dash-mounted 9.2-inch full-color display with navigation and Kia’s UVO eServices. The 17-speaker Lexicon Logic7 Audio System, with 900 watts of power, sounded like a concert hall. It came with SiriusXM (three-month trial subscription), AM/FM/HD/CD/MP3, USB port with iPod connectivity, Aux-in jacks, Bluetooth streaming audio and hands-free telephone. The voice recognition system, used for placing calls and other commands, was as good as any I have tested. Add in the Homelink auto-dimming rearview mirror and compass for more convenience and safety.

Other nice interior features of the K900 Luxury are the panoramic sunroof, rear and front camera displays, three-zone climate control, power tilt and telescoping steering column, push button start/stop, smart key, power closing trunk and power soft-closing door latches.

Safety and Convenience

Standard and optional safety and convenience features for the 2017 Kia K900 Luxury include eight air bags, remote keyless entry, a tire pressure monitoring system, electronic stability control, traction control System, four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes (ABS), vehicle stability management, adaptive LED headlights, LED fog and rear tail lights, illuminated entry, front and rear parking sensors with Kia’s Park Guide System, blind spot detection, lane departure warning and rear cross traffic alert. The power folding outside mirrors (with puddle lamps) were a nice touch as were the hydrophobic front door windows and rain sensing windshield wipers will be in a rain storm.

2017 Kia K900

The front end says Kia–maybe too much Kia

The K900 Luxury has radar technology with Advanced Smart Cruise Control and an autonomous emergency braking system. When used together, they help maintain a safe speed with the car in front and can bring the K900 to an unassisted complete stop. This is one of the features that will be a part of self-driving cars. It’s technology I found to be especially valuable in stop-and-go, rush hour traffic. Because, once set, it is not necessary to apply the brakes or touch the accelerator mile after mile after mile in zero-to-10-mile-per-hour speeds. The last step will be autonomous steering, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

For parking lot safety, the K900 Luxury has Kia’s Surround View Monitor System which are four small, wide-angle cameras that are strategically placed to provide a down and outward view, surrounding the car. When parking, these views appear on the full-color LCD screen and are extremely helpful to reveal objects that could easily be run into.

Pricing and Warranties

The 2017 Kia K900 comes in three models with these base prices.

Premium V6           $49,900

Luxury V6             $54,900

Luxury V8             $61,900

Clean Fleet Report’s K900 Luxury V8 was equipped with the VIP Plus Package adding $6,000 for a total price of $67,900. All prices listed do not include the $950 freight and handling charge.

The 2017 Kia K900 comes with these warranties.

Powertrain             10 years/100,000 miles

Basic                     Five years/60,000 miles

Roadside               Five years/60,000 miles

Observations: 2017 Kia K900 Luxury

Kia’s first foray into the luxury class has delivered a competent full-size car that is wonderfully equipped, powerful, pleasant to look at and fantastic to ride in. The next step for them will be to emulate their sister brand Hyundai and completely redesign the K900 in the coming years so it takes the next step to competing with the like of Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Cadillac and BMW.

2017 Kia K900, badge

Kia wants this to say luxury, but it still has a ways to go

Clean Fleet Report is interested in how relevant the K900, or other full-size luxury cars and SUVs, is to your lifestyle. Have you achieved career success and need, or have earned, a large car that can seat five full adults in luxury? Or will you continue to look for luxury touches in smaller cars that get considerably better fuel economy? We want to hear from you.

Coming to Clean Fleet Report means you are looking for fuel economy first and foremost. If your needs are for a more substantial car that gets your guests and you around in luxury, then you should be looking at and appreciating the 2017 Kia K900.

Whatever you buy, Happy Driving!

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Disclosure:

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, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles 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 publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

Tech: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Ecotec 1.6L Turbodiesel

Tech: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Ecotec 1.6L Turbodiesel

GM Doubles Down on Diesel for MPG and Torque

At a time when many auto manufacturers are leaning away from diesel, General Motors seems to be all in. General Motors is rightfully proud of the Duramax turbocharged diesel truck engines, with the 6.6L found in its full-size heavy-duty Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups and the 2.8L in the mid-size trucks—Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. Clean Fleet Report tested the 2016 Colorado Diesel and was impressed with the engine’s smooth and torquey power and the 30+ mpg fuel economy.

Ecotec 1.6L Turbo Diesel illustration

In inside view of the newest diesel in GM’s lineup

But what about drivers that don’t want or need a truck, but still want the fuel economy of a diesel? Chevrolet has you covered with the Cruze Diesel that gets in excess of 50 miles per gallon on the highway. With Volkswagen no longer offering a diesel power plant, the Cruze Diesel should satisfy drivers with long commutes who want efficiency in a sedan or hatchback.

This is all good for truck and compact car diesel enthusiasts, but what about the fastest growing and largest sales segment of the auto industry—crossovers and sport utility vehicles? Chevrolet hasn’t left you wanting as the 2018 Equinox comes in a gasoline and diesel variant, with the diesel engine accomplishing a notable feat.

Ecotec 1.6L Turbodiesel

The Ecotec 1.6L turbodiesel, currently available in the Equinox compact SUV, has just been EPA rated at a best-in-class 39 mpg highway, with a 28 mpg in the city. Combine this with the 14.8 gallon fuel tank, and the 577 miles of driving range is also best-in-class. Horsepower is rated at 137 with 240 pounds-feet of torque.

This “best-in-class” designation includes topping the hybrid versions of the compact SUVs: Toyota RAV4 and the Nissan Rogue. It is no small accomplishment to reach these fuel economy numbers in a 4,000+ pound SUV available in two- and four-wheel drive. Clean Fleet Report will have a full review of the Equinox with the 1.6L turbo-diesel soon.

General Motors Has a Diesel Plan

General Motor’s engine and transmission engineers are now part of the Propulsion Systems team. The new terminology recognizes that engines can be powered by the conventional gasoline and diesel fuels, but also battery electric, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, natural gas and hydrogen fuel cells. GM designers and engineers must now be aware of a diverse universe of power plants to satisfy the needs of customers worldwide.

Gm diesel lineup

GM now has a full lineup of diesels for a variety of applications–covering compact sedans through heavy-duty pickups–and now crossovers

Worldwide, General Motors has 34 diesel models—12 of those being sold in the United States—including five diesel engines ranging from a 1.0L three-cylinder to the 6.6L V8.

The most recent new diesel engine on the scene is the Ecotec 1.6L, found in the 2018 Equinox. Designed in Torino, Italy; built in Hungary; and with engineering teams from the United States and Germany working on the five-year project, this is a prime example of GM’s ability to work on a global scale. Tom Read, GM Global Propulsion Systems Communications, said that “General Motors gives customers a choice in vehicles and propulsion systems, along with efficiency, premium torque and high fuel economy.”

The estimated 2020 compact SUV market will be somewhere around three million vehicles, with 16-percent of these buyers considering diesel. These 480,000 potential consumers for diesel-powered compact SUVs, the category the Equinox lives in, means GM is anticipating strong sales for the Equinox diesel.

Observations: General Motors is All In with Diesel

General Motors has stated its goals of offering multiple vehicle and engine options for customers. Its diesel program offers outstanding fuel economy, great torque and a good variety of models to meet driver’s lifestyles. With diesel power currently in full and mid-size trucks, a compact sedan and hatchback and now a small SUV, consumers should be able to find something that meets their needs.

Clean Fleet Report is a fan of diesel and hopes that GM broadens the model availability with this economical power option.

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The Top 10 Places to Plug In

The Top 10 Places to Plug In

Electric Car Travel Is Easier in These Cities

One of the first questions a new EV owner asks is—where do I plug it in? The first and second choices are home and work. Those aren’t always easy or without a price tag, but they should allow a gas-free commute. That’s on a fixed route, but what about going elsewhere?

Top 10 fast-charging cities

Top 10 fast-charging cities

Even though electric car range is being extended with each new model, any longer trip means finding a place to plug in. Tools like the app Plug Share can help guide you to a local plug, but there’s another metric that can let you know whether you’ve got a fair shot at finding a charging station. If you’re travelling a long distance, you want a fast-charger, one that typically runs at 480 volts (assuming, of course, your EV’s capable to accepting such a charge). With one of those you can typically add 150 miles of range with an hour of charging.

The owner of the largest network of public electric vehicle fast-charging stations, EVgo, took a look at its data and compiled a list of the Top 10 cities for fast-charging based on current usage. The company operates 950 fast chargers in more than 600 locations nationwide, covering the areas where 90 percent of new electric cars are sold.

The Big Chargers

It’s not surprising that California, where the most EVs have been sold, dominates the list.

  1. San Diego, CA
  2. Fremont, CA
  3. San Francisco, CA
  4. San Jose, CA
  5. Cupertino, CA
  6. Berkeley, CA
  7. Los Angeles, CA
  8. Arlington, VA
  9. Atlanta, GA
  10. Daly City, CA

Those station combine for an average of about 25,000 charge sessions per month, totaling 12,052 hours. Nationwide, EVgo chargers add an average of slightly more than three million miles of electric driving to cars per month.

States are working with EVgo and other charging station providers to build networks to facilitate longer distance travel, particularly along major highways and at key destinations.