Ford Motor Company unveiled the all-electric version of the Ford Transit Connect – the 2010 North American Truck of the Year – at the Chicago Auto Show and confirmed the zero-emissions small van will be in fleet operators’ hands later this year.
The 2011 Transit Connect Electric will use a Force Drive electric powertrain manufactured and integrated by Azure Dynamics who has built electric delivery truck drive systems for the U.S. Post Office, Purolator Courier, and Fed Ex.
Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development, said, “Not only is this an ideal vehicle for eco-conscious fleet operators, it is an important part of Ford’s future.”
In addition to the Transit Connect Electric, Ford will sell the Focus Electric in 2011 and Plug-in Hybrid 2012.
Transit Connect Electric is well-suited for fleets that travel predictable, short-range routes with frequent stop-and-go driving in cities and have a central location for daily recharging. The electric vehicle will have a top speed of 75 mph and a targeted range of up to 80 miles on a full electric charge. At 240V, the 28kWh Johnson Controls-Saft (JCS) lithium-ion battery back can be recharged in 6 to 8 hours. The battery pack is liquid cooled. An onboard charger converts the AC power from the electric grid to DC power to charge the battery pack.
JCS has supplied Ford for many years. JCS will supply the 8 to 13 kWh lithium battery for the 2012 Ford Plug-in Hybrid which we forecast will be part of an all-new Ford Focus family.
A transportable cord that works with both types 120V and 240V outlets will be available for recharging at both kinds of locations. The onboard DC/DC converter allows the vehicle’s main battery pack to charge the onboard 12V battery, which powers the vehicle’s various accessories, such as headlights, power steering and coolant pumps.
Azure Dynamics’ proprietary Force Drive battery electric powertrain will be the driving force in the Transit Connect Electric. Force Drive components have previously been deployed in more than 40 vehicle integrations and have more than 25 million miles of on-the-road experience.
With rising gasoline prices, the Transit Connect Electric will be a money maker for local businesses with a delivery range of less than 80 miles daily such as drug stores, auto parts dealers, and florists. Tax incentives, local clean air funds, and added business from green conscious customers will all be part of the equation. Some government fleet applications will also be a good match. Ford identifies the following savings in vehicle maintenance:
•The number of components typical in an internal combustion engine and transmission are dramatically reduced in an electric vehicle to just a few moving parts in the electric motor and transaxle, which results in much fewer parts to wear out or maintain
•Electric powertrains operate with solid state electronics, which have demonstrated low or no maintenance over the life of the product
•Electric vehicles have completely sealed cooling systems that do not require refilling, replacement or flushing
•Electric vehicles require no oil changes or tune-ups
•There are no belts to wear out or break and no spark plugs or injectors to clean or adjust
•There is no exhaust system to replace and no liquid fuel system to freeze or clog
•The use of regenerative braking reduces wear and tear on brake pads
Transit Connect Electric is a strong addition to Ford’s successful Transit Connect. Both have the following specs:
•135 cubic feet of cargo volume with 59.1 inches of floor-to-ceiling load height and 47.8 inches of load width between the wheel arches
•Load length of just over six feet of cargo floor space
•Split rear cargo doors that open at a standard 180 degrees, or an optionally available 255 degrees
•Lift-over height less than two feet when the vehicle is unloaded
•Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering allows a 39-foot curb-to-curb turning circle for maneuverability in tight urban spaces
•Bulkheads, racks, bins and other upfits can be mixed, matched and configured to suit many specific commercial applications and needs
Although the 135 cubic feet of cargo is no match for the cargo space in 16,000 pound vans widely used by UPS and FedEx, the vehicle size is perfect for many city delivery applications. As detailed in our FedEx Clean Fleet Report, the volume and weight of an average package is now less. People are shipping more iPods and less big stereos.
Fuel from Wood and Waste Not Food and Haste
By John Addison (3/6/09)
The 9 billion gallons of ethanol that Americans used last year helped drive down oil prices. For those of us who fuel our vehicles with gasoline, as much as 10 percent of that gasoline is ethanol. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires that more biofuel be used every year until we reach 36 billion gallons by 2022.
Reduced oil prices are good. We can go from good to great, if we move past fuel from food and haste to fuels from wood and waste. Although the economics do not yet favor major production, pilot plants are taking wood and paper waste and converting it to fuel. Other cellulosic material is even more promising. Some grasses, energy crops, and hybrid poplar trees promise zero-emission fuel sources. These plants absorb CO2 and sequester it in the soil with their deep root systems. These plants often grow in marginal lands needing little irrigation and no fertilizers and pesticides, standing in sharp contrast to the industrial agriculture that produces much of our fuel.
Cellulosic biofuels are becoming economic reality. Norampac is the largest manufacturer of containerboard in Canada. Next generation ethanol producer TRI is not only producing fuel, its processes allow the plant to produce 20% more paper. Prior to installing the TRI spent-liquor gasification system the mill had no chemical and energy recovery process. With the TRI system, the plant is a zero effluent operation, and more profitable.
A Khosla Ventures portfolio company is Range Fuels which sees fuel potential from timber harvesting residues, corn stover (stalks that remain after the corn has been harvested), sawdust, paper pulp, hog manure, and municipal garbage that can be converted into cellulosic ethanol. In the labs, Range Fuels has successfully converted almost 30 types of biomass into ethanol. While competitors are focused on developing new enzymes to convert cellulose to sugar, Range Fuels’ technology eliminates enzymes which have been an expensive component of cellulosic ethanol production. Range Fuels’ thermo-chemical conversion process uses a two step process to convert the biomass to synthesis gas, and then converts the gas to ethanol.
Range Fuels in Georgia is building the first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in the United States. Phase 1 of the plant is scheduled to complete construction in 2010 with a production capacity of 20 million gallons a year. The plant will grow to be a 100-million-gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol plant that will use wood waste from Georgia’s forests as its feedstock.
Over one billion people are hungry or starving. Agricultural expert Lester Brown reports, “The grain required to fill an SUV’s 25-gallon tank with ethanol just once will feed one person for a whole year.”
Corn ethanol that is transported over 1,000 miles on a tanker truck, and then delivered as E85 into a flexfuel vehicle that fails to deliver 20 miles per gallon is bad. GM and Ford have pushed flexfuel vehicles that can run on gasoline or E85, which is a blend with as much as 85 percent ethanol. For the 2009 model year, the best rated car running on E85 in the United States was the Chevrolet HHR using a stick-shift, with a United States EPA gasoline mileage rating of 26 miles per gallon, and an E85 rating of only 19 miles per gallon.
In other words, if you passed on using E85 and drove a hybrid with good mileage, you would double miles per gallon and produce far less greenhouse gas emissions than any U.S. flexfuel offering. Top 10 Low Carbon Footprint Four-Door Sedans for 2009
The problem is not the idea of flexfuel. You can get a flexfuel vehicle with good mileage in Brazil. The problem is that GM and Ford used their flexfuel strategy as an eay way out, instead of making the tougher choices to truly embrace hybrids and real fuel efficiency. Flexfuel buying credits and ethanol subsidies have created incentives to buy cars that fail to cut emissions.
A new paper – Economic and Environmental Transportation Effects of Large-Scale Ethanol Production and Distribution in the United States – documents that the cost and emissions from transporting ethanol long-distance is much higher than previously thought. Ethanol is transported by tanker truck, not by pipeline, although Brazil will experiment with pipeline transportation.
It’s a tough time to make money with ethanol. Major players, like Verasun, are in bankruptcy. For the industry, stranded assets are being sold for pennies on the dollar. With thin margins, low oil prices, and high perceived risk, it is difficult to get a new plant financed.
Activists worry about oil refiners, such as Valero, offering to buy ethanol producers such as Verasun. But oil companies can bring needed financing, program management, and blending of next generation biofuels with existing petroleum refined gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.
Government mandates for more ethanol do not match today’s reality. Subsidies to industrial corn agriculture are not good uses of taxpayer money. Encouraging federal, state, and local governments with their 4 million vehicles to give priority to flexfuel vehicles with lousy mileage is government waste.
Not all government help is misplaced. Range Fuels large-scale cellulosic ethanol production was helped with an $80 million loan guarantee. The loan guarantee falls under the Section 9003 Biorefinery Assistance Program authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill, which provides loan guarantees for commercial-scale biorefineries and grants for demonstration-scale biorefineries that produce advanced biofuels or any fuel that is not corn- based.
Beautiful is the transition to electric drive systems and the development of next generation biofuels. Last year, Americans in record numbers road electric light-rail in record numbers. In 2008, Americans drove 100 billion miles less than 2007. Americans also drove 40,000 electric vehicles.
Critics and special interests try to stop the shift to electric vehicles by wrongly stating that if there is coal power used, then there are no benefits. Mitsubishi estimates that its electric vehicle is 67 percent efficient, in contrast to a 15 percent efficient gasoline vehicle. Efficient electric drive systems lower lifecycle emissions. With the growth of wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewables, lifecycle emissions from electric transportation will continue to fall. For example, my main mode of transportation is electric buses and rail that use hydropower. My backup mode is a Toyota Prius that I share with my wife.
Long-term we will continue to see the growth of electric drive systems in hybrid cars, plug-in hybrids, battery electric, fuel cell vehicles, light-rail, and high-speed rail. Over decades, the use of internal combustion engines will decrease, but the transition will take decades, especially for long-haul trucks. During these decades we can benefit from next generation biofuels that will replace corn ethanol and biodiesel from food sources.
Shell has a five-year development agreement with Virent, which takes biomass and converts it to gasoline – biogasoline. Gasoline, after all, is a complex hydrocarbon molecule that can be made from feedstock other than petroleum. Unlike ethanol, biogasoline has the same energy content as gasoline. Unlike cellulosic ethanol alternatives, Virent produces water using a bioforming process, rather than consuming valuable water. Virent has multi-million dollar investments form from Cargill, Honda, and several venture capital firms. Biogasoline will be its major initial focus. Its technology can also be used to produce hydrogen, biodiesel, and bio jet fuel.
Sapphire is an exciting new biofuels company backed with over $100 million investment from firms such as ARCH Venture Partners, the Wellcome Trust, Cascade Investment, and Venrock. The biotech firm has already produced 91-octane gasoline that conforms to ASTM certification, made from a breakthrough process that produces crude oil directly from sunlight, CO2 and photosynthetic microorganisms, beginning with algae.
The process is not dependent on food crops or valuable farmland, and is highly water efficient. “It’s hard not to get excited about algae’s potential,” said Paul Dickerson, chief operating officer of the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy “Its basic requirements are few: CO2, sun, and water. Algae can flourish in non-arable land or in dirty water, and when it does flourish, its potential oil yield per acre is unmatched by any other terrestrial feedstock.”
Scale is a major challenge. Producing a few gallons per day in a lab is not the same as producing 100 million gallons per year at a lower cost than the petroleum alternative. Yet, some of our best minds are optimistic that it will happen in the next few years. We will see fuel from marginal lands, from crops and algae that sequester carbon emissions. The fuel will blend with existing gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, and run in all engines, not just those with low mileage.
Some think that such a transition is as impossible as an interception with a 100 yard run for a touchdown in a Superbowl. It is exciting when the impossible happens.
John Addison is the author of the new book – Save Gas, Save the Planet – which is now available at Amazon. He publishes the Clean Fleet Report.
Ford Escape PHEV Uses 120V
By John Addison. Ford will introduce a battery-only commercial van in 2010, followed by a passenger car built on the same technology in 2011, and exciting plug-in vehicles by 2012. To accelerate commercialization, Ford will partner with leaders in drive systems, lithium batteries, specialty electric vehicles, and electric utilities.
Ford will build on its existing success with the Ford Escape Hybrid, the most fuel-efficient SUV on the market, and the Ford Fusion Hybrid, an impressive mid-sized sedan that ranks in the Clean Fleet Report’s Top 10 Sedans.
Last summer, I met with Ford’s Nancy Gioia, Director, Sustainable Mobility Technologies and Hybrid Vehicle Programs, and Greg Frenette, Chief engineer for research and advanced technologies. They discussed Ford’s commitment to continued improvements in fuel economy with gas turbo direct injection (GTDI), lighter vehicle weight without any sacrifice in safety, transmission efficiency, and increased use of electric drive systems. Electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are definitely in Ford’s future. In fact, Nancy Gioia, has been driving her own Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid.
The Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid has been successfully in a number of fleet and research environments. One is Boulder, Colorado, which is becoming Smart Grid City. Working with a major utility, Xcel Energy, residents hope to lower their utility bills, improve energy efficiency, and develop city-wide support for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
University of Colorado Chancellor Bud Peterson and his wife, Val, were the first to let Xcel transform their home to be part of Smart Grid City. Xcel put solar panels on the house, gave them a new smart meter for vehicle charging, and a Ford Escape Hybrid which is converted to have vehicle-to-grid capability. Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology is a bi-directional electric grid interface that allows an electric vehicle to take energy from the grid or put it back on the grid. When fully charged, their car plug-in hybrid batteries have enough power to keep their home running for days by using V2G.
Seven more electric utility providers are joining the Ford and Electric Power Research Institute to expand real world testing with Ford Escape PHEVs. Utility partnerships and industry standards will be critical to the expansion of a smart-charging infrastructure and to the long-term viability of V2G.
Ford will have Johnson Controls-Saft develop an advanced lithium-ion battery system to power Ford’s first commercial plug-in hybrid (PHEV). The lithium-ion battery system that Johnson Controls-Saft is designing and manufacturing for Ford includes cells, mechanical, electrical, electronic, and thermal components. Initially the cells will be produced at the supplier’s production facility in France, but the system will be assembled in the United States. The five-year supply agreement includes delivery for committed production in 2012 with a target of at least 5,000 units per year.
Commercial sales of the Ford Escape PHEV are planned for 2012. A fully charged Ford Escape PHEV operates in two modes, electric drive and blended electric/engine drive. It uses common household current (120 volts) for charging, with a full charge of the lithium-ion battery completed within 6 to 8 hours. When driven on surface streets for the first 30 miles following a full charge, the Ford Escape PHEV can achieve up to 120 mpg. This 30-mile range fits the average daily needs of most U.S. drivers.
In 2010, Ford also plans to begin sales of zero-emission battery-electric vans. To speed time to market, Ford will be collaborating with Tanfield to offer battery-electric versions of the Ford Transit and Transit Connect commercial vehicles for fleet customers in the UK and European markets. Tanfield’s Smith has over 100 electric trucks and delivery vans in service with customers today. More details may be announced at the Chicago Auto Show this month.
Battery-electric vans are well suited for many applications where ranges are limited and frequent stopping provides for regenerative braking. USPS has used electric postal vehicles for years. FedEx Express has ordered 10 Modec electric commercial vehicles for use in the United Kingdom.
At the Detroit Auto Show, Ford was showing a new battery-electric sedan developed jointly with Magna International with a 23kWh lithium battery pack. Commercial sales are planned for 2011 for a vehicle similar in size to the Ford Focus. Ford will compete with hundreds of battery-electric vehicle competitors including smaller specialty vehicle makers and Nissan, which is determined to be the early volume leader in freeway-speed electric vehicles. Ford will also be competiting with the plug-in Prius and Chevy Volt.
Given the success of Ford and Mercury hybrids, Ford is positioned to do well as it expands into these plug-in hybrid and battery-electric offerings. Success will lead to success, with larger and smaller Ford EVs being likely past 2012.
John Addison publishes the Clean Fleet Report. His new book – Save Gas, Save the Planet – will be available in paperback and ebook on March 25 at Amazon and other booksellers.
By John Addison. Toyota achieves a record 50 miles per gallon with the new 2010 Prius, which just made its formal debut at the North American International Auto Show. This article also covers Toyota’s latest plug-in hybrid and EV announcements.
2010 Toyota Prius with Solar Moonroof
Since the Prius was first went on sale in Japan in 1997, continuous improvements have been made. My 2002 Prius has a combined EPA rating of 41, and that has been its actual mileage. Newer models are rated at 46 mpg. The new 2010 should be rated at 50 miles per gallon, or better. Toyota
In addition to normal driving, Prius now comes with three selectable modes – EV, Eco and Power – to accommodate a wide range of driving conditions.
Hybrid components like the inverter, motor, and generator are now smaller and lighter. The new midsized 2010 Prius improves fuel efficiency with a 0.25 coefficient of drag making it the world’s most aerodynamic production vehicle. Hybrid components like the inverter, motor, and generator are now smaller and lighter. The new beltless 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder gas engine with 98 horsepower, runs at lower RPMs at highway speeds for better fuel efficiency and improved uphill performance. An exhaust heat recovery system, exhaust gas recirculation, and an electric water pump contribute to a more efficient hybrid system with a net horsepower rating of 134.
An exciting new option is the solar moonroof using Kyocera PV that automatically powers a ventilation system on hot days. This system allows fresh air to circulate into the vehicle, cooling down the cabin so that the A/C doesn’t have to work as hard, conserving battery power. The solar roof will be paired with a remote air-conditioning system that is the first in the world to run on battery power alone. LED head lamps are another exciting energy saving option.
Better mileage is also the result of using lighter materials. Weight was saved through use of aluminum in the hood, rear hatch, and some other components. Toyota uses plant-derived, carbon-neutral plastics in the 2010 Prius. This “ecological plastic” will be used in the seat cushion foam, cowl side trim, inner and outer scuff plates, and deck trim cover.
The new Prius will get an enthusiastic greeting from the owners who now drive over 1 million Priuses and have put over 37 billion miles on their hybrids.
Toyota is also accelerating its roll-out of plug-in hybrids. Beginning in late 2009, Toyota will start global delivery of 500 Prius plug-in hybrids powered by lithium-ion batteries. Of these initial vehicles, 150 will be placed with U.S. lease-fleet customers.
The first-generation lithium-ion batteries powering these plug-in hybrids will be built on an assembly line at Toyota’s Panasonic EV Energy Company battery plant, a joint-venture production facility in which Toyota owns 60 percent equity. During its development, the new Prius was designed and engineered to package either the lithium-ion battery pack with plug-in capability, or the nickel-metal hydride battery for the conventional gas-electric system.
The Prius will face increased competition. The new Honda Insight 4-door sedan, 5-seater, with an Ecological Drive Assist System is expected to be priced for thousands less than the Prius. Honda will start selling the Insight in North America in spring 2009. The Insight will have a combined EPA rating of 41 miles per gallon, over 20 percent less than the 2010 Prius.
The new Ford Fusion Hybrid midsize 4-door sedan will be on sale in the US this next spring, with an EPA certified 41 mpg rating in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid may travel up to 47 miles per hour in pure electric mode. The Advanced Intake Variable Cam Timing allows the Fusion and Milan hybrids to more seamlessly transition between gas and electric modes.
Toyota plans to make a hybrid drive system optional on all vehicles by 2020. At the North American International Auto Show, Toyota confirmed its plan to launch a battery-electric vehicle (BEV) by 2012. The FT-EV concept shares its platform with the revolutionary-new iQ urban commuter vehicle. Toyota continues to give customers an increasingly exciting selection of fuel-efficient hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric vehicles.
John Addison publishes the Clean Fleet Report. His new book – Save Gas, Save the Planet – goes on sale March 25.
Honda Insight to Underprice Toyota Prius
The four-door sedan continues to be a popular vehicle for fleets and for individuals. These sedans often deliver the right amount of space for 4 or 5 passengers and enough cargo space for a taxi. The following 10 four-door sedans have the lowest greenhouse gas emissions per mile of any vehicles available for volume commercial sales in the United States in 2009. In many cases, they also have the best fuel economy. All can achieve freeway speeds. Buying these clean cars often gives fleets tax breaks and special funding opportunities.
Reduced greenhouse gas emissions are becoming a priority with fleet managers and millions of conscientious consumers. These Top 10 Low Carbon Footprint Four-Doors are listed from lowest to highest in carbon footprint.
- Toyota Prius
- Honda Civic Hybrid
- Honda Insight
- Ford Fusion Hybrid
- Nissan Altima Hybrid
- Honda Civic CNG
- Toyota Camry Hybrid
- Toyota Yaris
- Chevrolet Aveo
- Volkswagen Jetta TDI
2009 will be a challenging year for automakers. This list is likely to change with new announcements and also because at least one on the list may not be announced for volume fleet availability.
This list was developed by first searching the U.S. EPA and DOE’s valuable fueleconomy.gov, with its extensive search capabilities. The EPA combined miles per gallon rating is based on 45% highway and 55% city driving. The carbon footprint is carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) based on 15,000 miles of driving, using the GREET 1.7 model.
Fleets are also early adopters of vehicles with even less emissions including electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell, plug-in hybrid conversions, and diesel hybrid concept cars. Because these are not offered for commercial volume sale, they are not part of this Top 10 Four-Door Sedan list. Electric and alt-fuel vehicles are also covered in detail at Clean Fleet Report.
The Toyota Prius continues to lead the four-door sedan field in fuel economy and lowest lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions. This perennial favorite midsize is lowest on the list with 4 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent for the EPA annual driving cycle; combined fuel economy is 46 mpg. Yes, 4 tons of CO2e is a lot; by comparison the 2009 Lamborghini Murcielago rates at 18.3 tons and only gets 10 mpg. Sorry fleet managers, you’ll need to take that Lamborghini out of the budget. At the North American International Auto Show, Toyota announced the 2010 Prius with an expected 50 mpg combined and an optional solar roof option to power accessories and thereby boost mileage. Prius
The Honda Civic Hybrid compact rates at 4.4 tons of CO2e for the EPA annual driving cycle and a combined 42 mpg. Civic Hybrid
The new Honda Insight four-door sedan with an Ecological Drive Assist System is priced for thousands less than the Prius. Honda will start selling the Insight in North America in spring 2009. The Insight will deliver 41 mpg combined, with annual emissions of about 4.5 tons of CO2e. Honda Insight
The Ford Fusion Hybrid midsized sedan will be on sale in the US by next spring, with an EPA certified 41 mpg rating in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Clean Fleet Report makes an unofficial estimate that emissions will be 4.8 tons of CO2e for the EPA annual driving cycle. The Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid may travel up to 47 miles per hour in pure electric mode. The Advanced Intake Variable Cam Timing allows the Fusion and Milan hybrids to more seamlessly transition between gas and electric modes. Green Car Congress
The Nissan Altima Hybrid also delivers good mileage for a midsize, benefiting from Nissan’s continuously variable transmission technology. The EPA rating is 5.4 tons of CO2e for the EPA annual driving cycle and a combined 34 mpg.
The Honda Civic CNG emits 5.4 tons of CO2e for the EPA annual driving cycle and a combined 28 mpg equivalent. This vehicle is popular with fleets that also want to reduce their criteria pollutant emissions and have their own CNG fueling. Heavy CNG buying accelerated last year when oil prices soared.
Toyota Camry Hybrid delivers good mileage for a midsize with an automatic transmission. The EPA rating is 5.4 tons of CO2e for the EPA annual driving cycle and a combined 34 mpg. Toyota has been showing a concept Camry CNG Hybrid which would lower CO2e to only 4.6 tons should Toyota decide to offer it to fleets.
Toyota Yaris is a less expensive subcompact, when priced in comparison to the larger hybrids listed above. The Yaris delivers good mileage for this affordable subcompact when using a 5-speed stick, and is respectable with an automatic. The Yaris has a 5.7 ton CO2e footprint and a combined 32 mpg rating. Yaris
The Chevrolet Aveo is a pick for fleets that prefer to buy from a company headquartered in the United States. This affordable compact delivers good mileage with a manual 5-speed, delivering an EPA rating is 6.1 tons of CO2e for the EPA annual driving cycle and a combined 30 mpg.
The Volkswagen Jetta TDI delivers very good freeway mileage for this turbodiesel which outperforms many hybrids. This VW rates at 6.2 tons of equivalent for the EPA annual driving cycle and a combined 34 mpg with a 6-speed shift. The mileage is equally good in the SportsWagen version, and almost as good with an automatic transmission. Drivers often report getting over 40 mpg.
Carbon emissions are of growing concern. Government fleets are showing leadership in transportation solutions with shrinking carbon footprints. The stock market is favoring corporations that are sustainable. As states implement climate solution law, lowering CO2e is critical. California, in 2009 has the CO2e emission standard of 323 grams per mile for passenger and light-duty vehicles. The standard drops each year to 205 grams per mile.
Not considered in this Top 10 list are vehicles with the lowest smog-forming emissions, once the only factor considered by government regulators and buyers. In general, vehicles with low greenhouse gas emissions are low in criteria pollutants.
The list should be more exciting in 2010. During 2009, expanded fleet trials of plug-in hybrids, fuel cell vehicles, and electric vehicles are on-going.
Fleets need wide range of vehicles. The 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid has more cargo space and a smaller carbon footprint (5.7 tons) and better mileage (32 mpg) than some of the above sedans. The optional AWD is desirable where roads get icy. With a common drive system, the Mercury Mariner Hybrid and Mazda Tribute Hybrid deliver the same carbon footprint and respectable mileage.
Delivering lower emissions than some on the list is the Honda Fit, which is a four-door small station wagon with a carbon footprint of only 5.9 tons of CO2e. Honda is developing an even more efficient Fit Hybrid which it is likely to commercialize in Japan and possibly the U.S.
If you are planning to buy any four-door sedans, this list may be a good starting point. The focus is on low CO2e emissions and likely commercial availability in the United States, thereby excluding some of the small diesel wonders in Europe and electric vehicles in Asia. Some people will need larger sedans, while others will need affordable small cars, including small station wagons and two-doors which are not part of the list. Executives and sales managers that once required luxury sedans may now insist on one of the green alternatives in the Clean Fleet Report Top 10 Low Carbon Footprint Four-Door Sedans for 2009.