Road Test: 2018 Cadillac CT6 PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid)

Road Test: 2018 Cadillac CT6 PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid)

Cadillac’s Stealth Electrified Full-size Sedan

Waaaay back in 2014 Cadillac offered the short-lived, but very cool looking ELR PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle). Based on the Chevrolet Volt platform and technology, the ELR coupe was ahead of its time for the traditional Cadillac buyer, which was too bad. Fast forward to 2018, the CT6 PHEV is the electrified version of Cadillac’s full-size flagship sedan, delivering the expected Cadillac comfort and luxury, but also quick acceleration and impressive fuel economy.

2018 Cadillac CT6 PHEV

Cadillac’s big move–big car, big MPG

When Clean Fleet Report reviewed the 2014 ELR we noted that Cadillac had created a car unto itself, as there were no other luxury, two-door, plug-in electric hybrids on the market. This time around Cadillac has put its formidable PHEV technology into a full-size sedan, which places it against some of the most recognizable big luxury cars from around the World. The challenge for Cadillac is how to create awareness and interest in an electrified car that happens to be a sedan. With sedan sales in the US declining over the past few years, and SUV and crossover models becoming the vehicles of choice, Cadillac as well as all other auto manufacturers are grappling with how to stabilize or reverse this trend.

Powerplant and Performance

The rear wheel drive 2018 Cadillac CT6 PHEV is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine and twin 100-horsepower (hp) electric motors mated to an electric variable transmission (EVT). Total system power numbers are impressive at 335 hp and 432 pounds-feet of torque. Clean Fleet Report was able to get consistent zero-to-60 runs at 5.2 seconds. The twin-motor EVT is a wonderful technology as it provides smooth acceleration and seamless ready-when-needed power at any speed.

2018 Cadillac CT6 PHEV

Smooth power and ride along with a battery boost

The suspension is on the firm side, which is not a bad thing as Cadillacs of years past could get floaty or too soft. The ride, with 18-inch ultra-bright machined aluminum spoked wheels and all-season tires, is oh-so Cadillac smooth, with handling that borders on surprisingly agile. As a full-size sedan, it cannot and should not be compared with midsize sports sedans. Cadillac doesn’t do it, so set your expectations of it being a large sedan that has little body roll or motion, with good feel for the road through the electric-variable steering.

The size and weight of the CT6 PHEV is never a distraction as the car is well-balanced. Cadillac’s iBooster and electronic stability control system, with four-wheel ABS and disc brakes, are parts of the regenerative braking system. Other stopping aides include front pedestrian braking and forward and reverse automatic braking.

How Far and How Efficient

Combined fuel economy for the electric and gasoline propulsion system, which includes being able to drive 31 miles only on electricity, is rated at 62 MPGe. MPGe is a measurement of how far a car can travel electrically on the same amount of energy as is contained in one gallon of gasoline. Once the electric power has been depleted and operating in hybrid mode, the fuel economy is rated at 25 mpg. In 249 miles of 85-percent highway/15-percent city driving, we averaged 41.8 mpg. An impressive number for a car weighing in at 5,511 pounds.

2018 Cadillac CT6 PHEV

The driver can control the battery regen and use

The 18.4 kWh lithium-ion (li-ion) battery is charged by plugging into a 120V (Level 1) or 240V (Level 2) outlet and through regenerative braking. To replenish the li-ion battery’s 31-mile driving range, estimate eight hours for the former and 4.5 hours for the latter. The CT6 PHEV does not come with a 480V (Level 3) option.

The regenerative charging system converts kinetic energy into electric energy when applying the brakes or coasting and stores it in the battery. This process can be viewed on a dash gauge where you can watch the power flow into and out of the battery and engine. The CT6 PHEV has Regen On Demand technology that is activated by pulling on the paddle shifters located on the backside of the steering wheel. Pulling on the paddle shifters applies the brakes and allows for one-pedal driving. Once you get the hang of it, this will be your go-to method of driving.

It is important to note that fuel economy numbers reported by Clean Fleet Report are non-scientific, representing the reviewer’s driving experience in our reviewer’s city. If you live in cold weather, high in the mountains or spend time in the city or stuck in rush hour traffic, then your numbers may differ.

The CT6 PHEV has three drive modes—Tour, Sport and Hold. Tour is for everyday driving, Sport advances the throttle and tightens-up the steering, and Hold forces the car to not use any of the battery charge, therefore saving it for around town where it can deliver the most efficient driving. The transition between battery-only power and when the gasoline engine engages is seamless and only minimally noticeable.

Cadillac Style: Exterior

The exterior styling on the 2018 CT6 PHEV is clean and sophisticated. The evolution from the sharp angles of a few years back to a softer look immediately draws attention among large, luxury sedan aficionados. From the front grille with distinctive cross hatching and the proud Cadillac emblem, and the sharp-looking LED head lamps to the LED tail lamps that extend vertically over the fenders, the look is simple and pure Cadillac.

2018 Cadillac CT6 PHEV

Large eco-luxury is here

Cadillac Style: Interior

Cadillac says the CT6 can seat five passengers, which technically is true. But anyone sitting in the center rear seat will be grumbling they pulled the short straw. Let’s just agree that the large, roomy and high-quality interior of the CT6 is better suited for four adults.

The interior materials complement each other with soft and supple leather seats and chrome, wood and carbon fiber trim pieces. About that carbon fiber trim: it really does not match well in the side-by-side placement with the wood trim.

The long list of standard equipment on the 2018 CT6 is what is to be expected on a car of this quality and price. Our CT6 had heated and ventilated driver and passenger seats. Both had 16-way power seats and 4-way power lumbar adjustments. The leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel, with power tilt and telescopic adjustments, made finding a comfortable seating position quite easy.

2018 Cadillac CT6 PHEV

The backseat view will be more common in China

The driver’s seat has a surprise for you if you have not been forewarned: it vibrates as part of the lane departure warning system. If you did not use the turn signal when crossing into an adjoining lane on the highway, the driver’s seat will vibrate to let you know about your lane drift. I found myself changing lanes sans blinker on purpose just for the momentary rush, but after a while it became annoying, but effective, in reminding me to stay in my lane. The true safety impact of this feature is, if the driver is dozing off, the vibration, small as it may be, would wake the driver and hopefully prevent an accident.

The rear leather seats, separated by an armrest with cup holders, are best suited for two adults. On a long driving trip, luggage for four adults might be a stretch for the CT6 PHEV as the battery reduces trunk storage capacity. The power rear sunshade and manual rear side window shades are a nice touch as is heating in the outbound seats. Also worth noting are the 10-inch, pop-up color monitors located in the front seat backs. These come with wireless headphones and remotes.

The CT6 is well-equipped with true convenience features, including a panoramic power sunroof and shade, power rear deck lid, wireless phone charging, remote keyless entry with remote start, power door locks, adaptive cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, keyless push button on-and-off and three years of OnStar.

A note regarding OnStar: a simple push of a button connects you with a friendly General Motors representative to handle emergencies, directions and general assistance to make your driving experience safer and more enjoyable. This is one area where GM is the industry leader and, after the three-year service plan expires, it is well worth renewing.

The CT6 incorporates an open cockpit design with the center stack separating the front seats. Everything is nicely laid-out and within easy reach. The infotainment system on the CT6 starts with the CUE System, for information and media control, and a 10-inch full-color touchscreen display for the Bose Premium surround sound audio system with 10 speakers. Included are AM/FM HD radio with SiriusXM (90-day trial), Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio with multiple USB ports, 12V charge stations, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

In our opinion, the CT6 PHEV interior is nicer than a Tesla Model S. The CT6 PHEV is luxury, while the Tesla is premium. Go see for yourself.

Safety

2018 Cadillac CT6 PHEV

30+ EV miles per charge, but gas to take you as far as you need to go

The CT6 PHEV comes standard with a tire pressure monitoring system, eight airbags, rear vision camera, surround view camera, forward collision alert and lane departure warning (with the previiously mentioned vibrating driver’s seat), pedestrian safety signal (useful when at a crosswalk and someone walks in front of the car), automatic vehicle hold (nice when stopped on a hill), front and rear park assist, and blind zone alert.

Pricing and Warranties

The 2018 CT6 PHEV comes in one trim level with an MSRP of $75,095, plus the $995 destination charge. The CT6 PHEV qualifies for federal and (many) state tax credits that could reduce the final purchase price. Clean Fleet Report recommends contacting your CPA before considering a CT6 PHEV. Not relying on the dealer to provide this information will serve them and you best.

Also worth noting is that in California the CT6 PHEV qualifies for the coveted car pool lane stickers allowing solo driving in the HOV lane. This is no small thing when trying to get anywhere on a freeway in the Golden State.

The 2018 CT6 PHEV comes with these warranties:

Bumper-to-Bumper                    Four years/50,000 miles

Scheduled Maintenance             Three years/36,000 miles

Battery                                           Eight years/100,000 miles

Powertrain                                    Six years/70,000 miles

Roadside Assistance                    Six years/70,000 miles

Courtesy Transportation            Six years/70,000 miles   

Observations: 2018 Cadillac CT6 PHEV

2018 Cadillac CT6 PHEV

The badge is discreet

The 2018 Cadillac CT6 PHEV is the real deal for luxury, performance and fuel economy. Plus it stacks-up well with standard features, better fuel economy and lower price in an apple-to-apple competition with BMW, Audi and Jaguar.

Here’s the catch. The CTS PHEV probably won’t be a big seller in the United States, which Cadillac most likely isn’t fretting over. Where big sales numbers for the CTS PHEV are vital, and important, are in China, where strict restrictions on air pollution are being implemented. Built in Shanghai China, the CTS PHEV is a prime candidate for the Asian market, where executive cars that are easy on the environment are popular.

It is a shame that more people may not consider the CTS PHEV over a SUV or crossover. This is a very nice car in many ways and it really needs to be promoted as such.

Clean Fleet Report suggests calling ahead to make an appointment with a Cadillac factory-trained hybrid expert. This is important as sometimes the general sales person can get the hybrid technology story wrong. Take the time to learn about and experience this fine car, and it just may end-up in your garage.

Whatever you end up buying, enjoy your new car and as always, Happy Driving!

Related Stories You Might Enjoy: Luxury PHEV Choices

News: Volvo Debuts Electric Performance Brand Polestar

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News: BMW Electrification Push Bearing Fruit

Interview: BMW’s Goal 25 Electrified Cars by 2025

All-wheel Drive Cars with the Best MPG

News: 2018 Mercedes GLC F-Cell

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.

Road Test: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox

Road Test: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox

Third Gen’s a Charm

The Equinox compact crossover has been a big hit for Chevrolet, but the latest model is hitting new high marks for fuel economy. With nearly two million sold since its debut in 2004 as a 2005 model, the all-new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox represents a third generation after a long life for the second (2010-2017). It’s one of five Chevrolet crossovers/SUVs.

2108 Chevrolet Equinox

You’ve seen this look before, but not in a high-mpg compact crossover

If you like the look of the Chevrolet Malibu, Cruze, and Volt, you’ll appreciate the Equinox’s new design. It’s sharply drawn, but thankfully, not overdone. The latest chiseled brand face is there, as is a multi-faceted hood and a high, straight shoulder that mimics the look of big brother Suburban and Tahoe. Though all-new, the vehicle still evokes the general feeling and proportions of the old model, which is a good idea, considering its success.

New Inside

Inside, you can see the influence of the siblings as well. There’s lots of movement along the dash and doors, with black control panels and silver accents, and chrome sparkles on the vents and handles. The center of the instrument panel provides useful information straight ahead. The speedometer, common today, goes up to an unattainable 160 mph.

2108 Chevrolet Equinox

Lots to like in the Equinox interior upgrades

The fat, leather-wrapped steering wheel is GM standard, but that’s a good thing. It flaunts lots of handy buttons for controlling audio and other features, so you can keep your eyes on the road.

There are two USB ports in the front of the center console for using and charging devices. You can plug in your phone and see it projected on the 7 or 8-inch center screen, thanks to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Efficiency Boost

Part of the goal of the new Equinox, besides to look fresh, is to increase efficiency, which is why about 400 pounds was taken out of this model. It still comes in at between 3,274 and 3,682 pounds, but that’s significant nonetheless.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox

The Equinox’ interior can take you long

Crossover vehicles like the Equinox are very popular today, because they combine the higher-riding, greater-hauling, cooler-looking SUV experience with a comfortable-riding car platform. The Equinox has a firmness to the ride that feels just right, and the leather buckets are comfortable for commuting. I didn’t have a chance to take this one on a long trip, but it looks well up to the job.

Many Choices

This compact hauler comes in four trims—S, LS, LT, and Premier. And there are three engine choices, too, all of which are turbocharged. The base engine is a 1.5-liter four with 170 horsepower (hp) and 203 pounds-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque. My Cajun Red Tintcoat tester was a top-level Premier, but had this base engine. You can step up to a 2.0-liter four with 252 hp and 260 lb.-ft. It may not appeal to you, but if you’re interested in a diesel, a new 1.6-liter unit is optional, with a mere 137 hp, but a hearty 240 lb.-ft. of torque. Diesel is surrounded by controversy today, after the revelations of malfeasance at VW, but it offers higher fuel efficiency and range for certain applications.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox

Options are many, but you’ll want to check out what you can get in the center stack

The 1.5-liter four seems up to the job in this car. It was unmemorable, but didn’t leave me feeling let down, either. The existence of the 2.0-liter option means you can get added grunt if you know you’re going to be carrying several passengers and cargo, which could affect performance significantly. The 2.0-liter engine is mated to a new nine-speed transmission, while the 1.5 gets a traditional six-speed.

My 1.5-liter-equipped tester earned EPA numbers of 24 city/30 highway/26 combined. Those are not bad stats. Green numbers are a pair of 5’s for Smog and Greenhouse Gas.

You can choose front-wheel or all-wheel drive in this crossover. The all-wheel drive system automatically disconnects from the rear axle when not needed, for greater efficiency. Having this choice means that if you live in sunny California and are not planning on skiing, you can skip AWD and save a few bucks while improving your miles-per-gallon numbers by two.

Options, There Are More Than a Few

There’s a vast set of safety features, many standard and some optional—too many to list here. See http://www.chevrolet.com/suvs/equinox-compact-suv for details.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox

Let’s not forget what crossovers are all about–space

Pricing starts at $24.525 for the S model. My Premier tester had the base engine, but included the Sun, Sound & Navigation package ($3,320) and charged $395 for the Cajun Red paint. The package does include a power sunroof, 19-inch wheels, MyLink Navigation and a Bose Premium seven-speaker system, so the total came to $39,040. That’s one pricey compact crossover.

The all-new Equinox is truly North American, built in Canada with a U.S-sourced engine and transmission and 40 percent Mexican parts. It’s a very important entry in the growing compact crossover segment, battling the two perennial favorites, the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, as well as the popular Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5, and the rest. With this introduction, Chevrolet’s fleet is looking very fresh.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy—the Competition

Road Test: 2018 Honda CR-V

Road Test: 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Road Test: 2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid

Road Test: 2017 Ford Escape

First Drive: 2017 Mazda CX-5

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.

Interview: Chevrolet Bolt EV at One Year

Interview: Chevrolet Bolt EV at One Year

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.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt

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.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt

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.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt

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

2017 Chevrolet Bolt

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

News: 12 Greenest Cars Of 2018 Revealed

News: 12 Greenest Cars Of 2018 Revealed

ACEEE Says You Can’t Go Wrong With This Mix Of Green Cars

Choosing a car that meets your household’s needs is one thing, but if you are environmentally conscious your selection might go beyond comfort, cargo room and available options. If you want to reduce your environmental impact, minimize fuel costs or cut the petroleum pipelines from foreign countries, then buy the greenest vehicle that still meets your transportation needs.

To help shoppers choose a greener car, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) in Washington, D.C. compiles an annual survey of what it determines is the most environmentally friendly cars on American roads. Not surprisingly, battery-powered electric and gasoline-electric hybrids are the sole winners for 2018, the 21st year for the list.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Green Vehicle Guide only looks at traditional tailpipe pollutants, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced per mile and fuel economy. The ACEEE uses a complex formula that considers the emissions associated with a vehicle’s entire life cycle–from manufacturing to disposal impact–and the fuel it uses, whether gasoline, diesel or electricity.

The Council also analyzes automakers’ test results for fuel economy and emissions as reported to the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), along with other reported specifications. In addition, the group looks at lifecycle impacts of the car, taking into consideration criteria pollutants, greenhouse gas emissions, looking at upstream emissions of the vehicle’s fuel and also manufacturing and disposal impacts. Four basic data points form the core of the ratings—tailpipe emissions, fuel economy, vehicle curb weight and battery mass and composition (for the hybrid and plug-in vehicles). Finally, they factor in an environmental damage index that tallies the gram-per-mile pollutant rate multiplied by a cents-per-gram of damage costs.

If you’re ready to go shopping for an Earth-friendly new car, here’s the list of the 12 Greenest Cars Of 2018. We are noting their green scores and fuel economy, including the “MPGe” equivalent for EVs. (Beyond the list of 12 environmental winners, the ACEEE also provides car shoppers with lists of more environmentally friendly choices in all car classes at: https://aceee.org/. To add some more data to the mix, we’ve also included links to our road tests and news stories about these models.

Base prices are before any federal, state or local incentives.

  1. Hyundai Ioniq Electric

2017 Ioniq Electric Vehicle

2017 Ioniq Electric Vehicle

 

Leading the pack for the second year in a row is the midsized Hyundai Ioniq Electric. It compiled a “Green Score” of 70 out of a 100, which is the highest rating for a passenger car ever recorded by the ACEEE. The all-electric version of the Ioniq hatchback leads all comers with a class-leading fuel economy equivalent. Base Price: $29,500. EV Range: 124 miles: MPGe: 150 city/122 highway.

  1. Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

Slotting into the number two ranking with a Green Score of 69 is the two-seat Smart ForTwo Electric Drive. Not only is this the cheapest car built by Mercedes-Benz, it is among the greenest rides on the road. However, it is hampered by a limited driving range, a seating capacity of two and a small cargo capacity, but it offers something no other electric car does: the option to drop the top. Base Price: $23,800. EV Range: 58 miles; MPGe: 124 city/94 highway.

  1. BMW i3 BEV

BMW i3

BMW i3

A Green Score of 68 was high enough to earn the BMW i3 BEV third on the list in ACEEE’s 12 Greenest Cars Of 2018. This rating is for the odd-shaped i3’s newly available 94 amp-hour battery pack. The i3 is also offered with a small range-extender gasoline engine with fewer EV miles (97), but can travel an additional 83 miles on gasoline. Base Price: $47,650. EV Range:114 miles; MPGe: 129 city/106 highway.

4. Tesla Model 3 Long Range

 

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

 

While a Green Score of 67 places the Tesla Model 3 Long Range in fourth place, the wait time for this new car could take up to a year or longer, due to production delays and pre-production demand. This is for the $9,000 optional long range battery Model 3. Base Price: $44,000. EV Range: 310 miles; MPGe:136 city/123 highway.

  1. Chevrolet Bolt

 

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Chevrolet Bolt EV

One of America’s favorite EVs, the Chevrolet Bolt’s 66 Green Score places it in the number five position. The hatchback compact car offers the latest tech and safety features along with a spacious interior, and an operating range that is sufficient for a typical week’s commute. Base Price: $36,620. EV Range: 238 miles; MPGe 128 city/110 highway.

  1. Kia Soul EV

The Hampster lovin’ Kia Soul EV tallied a 66 Green Score to tie the Chevy Bolt. The boxy Soul EV is roomy and comfortable with a nicely appointed interior. However, it is only available in California and nine other states. Base Price: $32,250. EV Range: 111 miles; MPGe: 124 city/93 highway.

Kia Soul

Kia Soul

  1. Hyundai Ioniq Blue Hybrid

2017 IONIQ Plug-In Hybrid

Hyundai Ioniq Blue Hybrid

With a Green Score of 65, the Hyundai Ioniq Blue is the top hybrid on this year’s ACEEE’s list of greenest cars. With handsome styling inside and out, the compact Ioniq hybrid tops all hybrids with its impressive fuel economy. It’s also available in plug-in hybrid and electric models. Base Price: $22,200. MPG: 57 city/59 highway.

  1. Toyota Prius Eco

 

Toyota Prius Two Eco

Toyota Prius Two Eco

The Toyota Prius Eco slipped into second place among conventional hybrids on this year’s ACEEE’s list with a Green Score of 64.  Still America’s best-selling hybrid, the Prius Eco Two trim offers the top fuel economy in the Prius lineup. Base Price: $25,165. MPG: 58 city/53 highway. 

  1. Ford Focus Electric

 

2017 Ford Focus Electric

Ford Focus Electric

A Green Score of 64 lands the Ford Focus Electric in the number eight spot. This compact electric hatchback is affordable, thanks to the one-time $7,500 frederal tax credit and the large cash rebates from Ford. Base Price: $29,120. EV Range: 115 miles; MPGe: 118 city/96 highway.

  1. Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid

 

Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid

Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid

Kia’s Niro Plug-in Hybrid tops the plug-in hybrid class with a Green Score of 63. Also available as a standard hybrid (52 city/49 highway mpg), the plug-in version gains battery-only range, but is less efficient in hybrid mode. Base Price: $27,900. EV Range: 26 miles; MPGe: 105; MPG gas: 46 combined.

  1. Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid

 

Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid

Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid

Honda made this year’s ACEEE list with the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid that had a Green Score of 62.  The plug-in-hybrid version joins EV and fuel-cell Clarity variants, and it’s the only version of this premium sedan that can be purchased outright. Base Price: $33,400.  EV Range 48 miles; MPGe 110; MPG gas: 42 combined.

  1. Chevrolet Volt

2018 Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt

 

Chevrolet’s Volt is among the dozen “greenest” cars for 2018 with a Green Score of 62. The Volt is equipped with a small range-extending gasoline engine that provides a virtually unlimited operting range, as long as you can find a sas station. But the first 53 miles comes solely on electricity. Base Price: $33,320. MPGe: 106; Gas: 42 highway.

The tally of the Top 12—seven electrics, three plug-in hybrids and two hybrids. Four from Hyundai-Kia, two from General Motors and one each from BMW, Daimler, Ford, Honda, Tesla and Toyota.

News: Chevrolet Silverado Diesel Signals Resurgence

News: Chevrolet Silverado Diesel Signals Resurgence

Four of Five Light-duty Pickups Will Now Offer Diesel Engines

Like Samuel Clemens’ famous anti-epitaph, the death of diesel engine during this past year has been greatly exaggerated, if you look at the news coming out of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Saturday, Jan. 13, Chevrolet announced that its 2019 Silverado pickup will get a healthy dose of car tech along with a stout diesel engine that will allow it to go toe-to-toe with the just-announced 2019 Ford F-150 diesel and two incumbents, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and Nissan Titan XD.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

With the Duramax six, all three pickup leaders now will offer diesels

The Chevrolet Silverado Duramax diesel is an inline six that GM’s Global Product Development Chief Mark Reuss said would be the “best-performing” engine in the class. No specs were released, so it is unclear if Reuss was talking about horsepower, torque, fuel economy or some combination of them all. More details were promised soon.

The new Duramax and the revised carryover 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V8 will mate up with a new Hydra-Matic 10-speed transmission to optimize fuel economy. Those engines will also get something GM is calling Dynamic Fuel Management, which has the ability to shut off cylinders not needed for acceleration. That technology, on which they didn’t elaborate, sounds like Tula Technology’s Dynamic Skip Fire that Clean Fleet Report recently test drove. The engine also will add start-stop capability.

Materials News

In another swipe at its cross-town rival, Chevrolet made a major point of its up to 450-pound weight loss without simply swapping out steel for aluminum. GM took a much more complicated path of analyzing each part and component on the truck and determining the best material to use that would deliver weight reduction while maintaining durability, safety and functionality.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

Chevy’s weight-loss program meant using different materials throughout the truck

That process results in the 2019 Silverado, which ends up with aluminum doors, hood and tailgate, steel body panels and bed, high strength steel chassis and advanced high strength steel for some of the key structural pieces of the cab (they ended up with seven different grades of steel in the truck in the end). The same analysis resulted in substitutions such as carbon-composite second stage-springs that saved more than 12 pounds wherever they were used compared to the previous stamped steel units.

The weight reduction program is even more remarkable when you look at the dimensions of the new truck. It has grown almost four inches in wheelbase and 1.6 inches overall compared to its predecessor. Those extra inches have been used to increase cabin and cargo space.

In addition to weight reduction, the Silverado also got some serious wind tunnel work to reduce aerodynamic drag. Engineers also added features borrowed from car models such as the air curtains in the grill first seen in the sixth generation Camaro.

And All the Car Tech

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

Inside, the Silverado gets even more car-like

The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado (as well as its GMC Sierra cousin, which will be introduced later this year) receives a healthy dose of previously car-based technology. Reuss promised the new Silverado would be “the most connected” truck GM has ever offered. They didn’t announce all of the features, but said the Silverado will get wireless phone charging, 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity, Apple Car Play, Android Auto and more features to be announced later.

Chevrolet’s adding three new trim levels to the Silverado so customers will now be able to choose from nine different models of the pickup. The packages highlight options designed for odd-roading and different tire-wheel combos. Compared to passenger cars, pickup trucks remain highly customizable vehicles, something Chevy clearly wants to tap into.

New 2019 Chevrolet Silverados are expected to go on sale this fall. Pricing will be announced closer to launch, but it’s likely there will be little change from current pricing because of the highly competitive truck market.

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