Geneva Motor Show Sees First Tesla Model X Competitor
Jaguar has joined the ranks of other automakers who reveal all-new vehicles just a few days before major auto shows. In this case, the British automaker revealed its much anticipated I-Pace battery-electric crossover SUV this week, one week before the public opening of the Geneva Motor Show.
The reveal of the I-Pace took place at the Jaguar Land Rover manufacturing facility in Graz, Austria, with a special live streaming show as the first I-Pace rolled off the production line. As expected, the I-Pace is little changed since the concept was introduced at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show.
0-to-60 MPH In 4.5 Seconds
We’ll cut to the chase and get right to the heart of the I-Pace. Under the alluring sheet metal are two Jaguar-designed concentric electric motors—which feature driveshafts passing through the motors themselves for compactness—placed at each axle, producing all-wheel drive. The two motors produce a net 394 horsepower and 512 pounds-feet of torque. With all four wheels being electrically driven, it’ll romp to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds.
Another all-electric SUV arrives
A 90-kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery sits between the two axles and is mounted low, contributing to a 50:50 weight distribution and a lower center of gravity. The battery will keep the I-Pace going for an estimated 240 miles (EPA and European measurements are still forthcoming). With a 100-kW DC fast charger, it can go from empty to 80 percent charge in just about 40 minutes. Using a 7-kW Level 2 home charger, it’ll take about 10 hours to add the same amount of charge.
Like other modern EVs and plug-in electric hybrids (PHEVs), the I-Pace offers multiple brake-regeneration settings. In its strongest mode, one-pedal driving is feasible when the driver turns off the car’s creep mode. (Creep mode allows the EV to roll forward when the driver’s foot moves off the brake, like most gasoline cars will.)
Looks Pretty Close To the Concept
The 2019 I-Pace has a compact body and is fairly low to the ground for an SUV, but it still seats five while offering plenty of cargo space.
The electric powertrain is designed to enhance the road experience
“The I-Pace’s electric powertrain offered us unprecedented design freedom,” said Ian Callum, Jaguar’s director of design. “Starting with a clean sheet enabled the dramatic cab-forward profile, unique proportions and exceptional interior pace. Yet, it is unmistakably a Jaguar. We wanted to design the world’s most desirable EV, and I’m confident that we met that challenge.”
Its sleek, coupe-like silhouette was influenced by the Jaguar C-X75 supercar concept. That includes C-X75 styling cues with a low, short hood with the automaker’s traditional grill and a built-in hood scoop for aerodynamic improvements. The vehicle has a coupe-inspired styling, sweeping front fenders, muscular rear haunches and flush door handles with a slippery 0.29 drag coefficient.
The rear is squared-off to a sharply angled rear hatch window that features a hydrophobic coating so there’s no need for a rear wiper. Tail lights feature a “chicane line” signature, a new Jaguar design element that replaces the more traditional E-Type round design.
Classed as a midsize SUV by its physical footprint, the cab forward design and packaging of the EV powertrain mean the I-PACE offers interior space comparable to a full-size model. The SUV affords a rear legroom space of 35.0-inches and a useful 0.43- cubic foot central storage compartment in a space that would ordinarily be occupied by a transmission tunnel in a conventional vehicle. Also in the rear, tablet and laptop storage can be found beneath the seats; while the rear luggage compartment behind those seats offers a 25.3 cubic feet capacity, a generous 51.0 cubic feet is available with the second row seats folded flat.
The I-Pace interior is all Jaguar style and quality
In typical Jaguar fashion, the 2019 I-Pace’s cabin is pure luxury. A glass panoramic roof is standard, and the interior can be had in either leatherette or proper leather. As you might expect, you can toss in some pretty fancy trim pieces made from real aluminium or ash wood.
The I-Pace uses two touchscreens to control virtually all vehicle functions. Called the InControl Touch Pro Duo system, the infotainment screens, upper 10-inch and lower 5.5-inch units, are cleanly integrated into the vehicle’s distinctive floating center console. The top half takes care of infotainment duties while the lower half deals with climate control, seat and drivetrain settings. Another 12.3-inch interactive driver display behind the steering wheel can be configured to show vehicle operating data in a variety of formats.
A suite of smart range-optimizing technologies includes a battery pre-conditioning system that allows the vehicle to warm or cool its battery and cabin to an optimal temperature while plugged in to power. The I-Pace will also have its own Amazon Alexa skill. This will allow owners to check the car’s range, lock status and more without leaving the house or even picking up a smart device.
The 2019 Jaguar I-Pace is on sale now in Europe and will be available in the U.S. in the second half of 2018 as a 2019 model year vehicle, in S, SE and HSE derivatives as well as a one-year-only First Edition model derived from a very well equipped HSE trim. U.S. pricing will be announced on March 6, in conjunction with the vehicle’s debut at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. However, Jaguar has already opened up preorders for U.S. buyers.
Related Stories You Might Enjoy: Luxury SUV Competitors
Flash Drive: 2017 Tesla Model X
News: Jaguar I-Pace Concept Becomes Real
News: Jaguar I-Pace Concept Electric SUV Hits the Streets
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
News: First Tesla Model 3 Deliveries
News: Tesla Model 3 Production Starts
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.
Related Stories You Might Enjoy:
Road Test: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt
Personal: One Year with My Chevrolet Bolt
Flash Drive: 2018 Nissan Leaf
Road Test: 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf
Road Test: 2017 Hyundai Ioniq
Road Test: 2016 Kia Soul EV
Road Test: 2016 Ford Focus Electric
Road Test: 2017 Fiat 500e
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.
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–a fuel cell pioneer
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.