There was a time when environmental leadership in the auto industry was a scarce commodity. Seventeen years ago, when Green Car Journal announced its first Green Car of the Year® in Los Angeles, it was difficult to identify more than a few dozen truly worthy vehicles to be considered for the honor. Today it is a formidable challenge in a different way. Now, analyzing the expansive field of green cars that champion greater environmental performance can be downright mind numbing, along with the process of honing the list down to a manageable number of candidates for each of our Green Car Awards™.
Still, this is a great problem to have and we’re up to the challenge. In fact, we celebrate the difficult and time-consuming process. This sheer number of greener models means that all of us benefit from the ability to buy and drive an increasing number of vehicles that champion a lighter impact on the environment.
Evaluating Green Car Candidates
As finalists are evaluated during the judging process, Green Car Journal weighs an array of important criteria such as environmental achievement, cost, value, safety, performance, functionality, and availability. These may vary from one award category to another. For instance, cost is less of a factor in Luxury Green Car of the Year™; greater driving range may not be as critical in Urban Green Car of the Year™; and immediate availability is less of an issue for Commercial Green Car of the Year™, since commercial fleets tend to plan well ahead and are used to scheduled batch builds of specialized vehicles. Some criteria take on more importance, such as electric driving range in most categories where EVs are considered; family friendliness in awards where passenger needs or capacity are important; and tow ratings and realistic long-distance towing and hauling capabilities in the case of Green Truck of the Year™.
There are more complex issues at play today. We’ve seen order banks for some new or popular pickups like the Ford F-150 Lightning and Ford Maverick suddenly close for the model year, which means consumers are no longer able to order one, at least at this time. Since price is an important consideration for most award categories, when we see sudden price hikes in the thousands of dollars, we also take notice. Then there’s the issue of supply chain disruptions and materials shortages that can delay a model’s expected availability. We take all of this into account and dive deep to ensure we’re as up to speed as possible to avoid potential surprises.
Green Car Awards Winners
Green Car Journal’s Green Car Awards™ program has evolved over the years, most notably with the addition of more award categories to reflect the ever changing and expanding world of environmentally positive vehicles. Plus, along with the ‘greenest’ vehicles honored by the 2023 Green Car Awards™ program, Green Car Journal now recognizes the crucial roles that infrastructure and technology play in enabling a more sustainable driving future.
Let's get to it. Here are the winners of Green Car Journal’s prestigious 2023 Green Car Awards™:
2023 Green Car of the Year®
TOYOTA CROWN – The Crown is Toyota's sophisticated new flagship that champions high fuel economy, lower carbon emissions, and appealing style. The five-passenger sedan features a stylish and high tech cabin designed to offer a premium feel. It’s powered by a 2.5-liter THS hybrid estimated to deliver 38 combined mpg, or a more powerful 2.4-liter turbocharged HYBRID MAX powerplant with 340 horsepower. On-demand all-wheel drive is standard.
2023 Luxury Green Car of the Year™
CADILLAC LYRIQ – Featuring upscale styling and a premium theme, the Lyriq is Cadillac’s first all-electric vehicle that’s offered in single or dual motor versions with rear- or all-wheel drive. At a base price of $62,990, the Lyriq features an impressive 312 mile driving range. Satisfying performance is delivered by 340 horsepower in the single motor variant and 500 horsepower in the dual motor version.
Among this award’s finalists were the Cadillac Lyriq, Genesis GV60, Lexus RX, Mercedes-Benz EQB, and Polestar 2.
2023 Family Green Car of the Year™
MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER PHEV – Last year’s introduction of the all-new Mitsubishi Outlander made waves with its more dynamic styling and upscale features. Now the next-generation Outlander PHEV has joined the lineup. Featuring standard all-wheel drive, the twin motor plug-in hybrid SUV now features significantly greater battery electric range of 38 miles and 420 miles overall, plus the addition of three-row seating that was unavailable in the previous generation Outlander PHEV.
2023 Green Truck of the Year™
RAM 1500 –The RAM 1500 is a model of versatility and functionality that provides pickup buyers loads of choices. It’s available in Quad Cab and Crew Cab configurations, offers two pickup box lengths, two- or four-wheel drive, and diverse power options. These include two hybrids – a 3.6-liter eTorque V-6 and 5.7-liter eTorque HEMI V-8 – plus a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel and 6.2-liter supercharged V-8. RAM can carry payloads up to 2300 pounds tow trailers up to 12,750 pounds.
2023 Green SUV of the Year™
FISKER OCEAN – The all-electric Fisker Ocean SUV features an appealing and sporty design enhanced by an attractive and uncluttered high-tech interior. It’s available in three versions with a driving range of 250 to 350 miles. Beyond its zero-emission electric drive, Fisker is committed to making the Ocean a model of sustainability with over 110 pounds of recycled materials used in its construction, including crushed carbon fiber and plastics from bottles and fishing nets.
2023 Commercial Green Car of the Year™
FORD F-150 LIGHTNING PRO – The F-150 Lightning PRO available to fleets offers 240 to 320 miles of all electric range, depending on battery pack, with a payload capacity up to 2235 pounds. Towing capability up to 10,000 pounds is ideal for urban and regional applications where long-distance towing is not required, since towing can significantly reduce electric range. It’s available with Pro Power Onboard outlets for power at job sites. A Special Services Vehicle variant is made for non-pursuit police department applications.
2023 Urban Green Car of the Year™
MINI COOPER SE ELECTRIC – The fully electric MINI Cooper SE carries on the tradition of the MINI as a diminutive two-door hardtop with a fun-to-drive nature and go-kart handling, adding the important distinction of zero-emission operation. The Cooper SE Electric is an ideal vehicle for urban environments, offering a small physical footprint, easy maneuverability, and an electric driving range of 114 miles between charges.
2023 Green 4x4 of the Year™
JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE 4XE – The Grand Cherokee 4xe offers all the outstanding features of Jeep’s conventional SUV with the addition of plug-in hybrid capability. It’s powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine and two electric motors delivering a total of 375 horsepower. This Trail Rated Jeep features 25 miles of zero-emission on- and off-road driving and a combined 470 miles of range, can tow up to 6,000 pounds, and ford up to 24 inches of water since all high-volt electronics are sealed and waterproof.
2023 Green Car Infrastructure Award™
FREEWIRE TECHNOLOGIES BOOST CHARGER – Freewire Technologies’ Boost Charger integrates lithium-ion battery storage to eliminate the need for expensive electrical service upgrades at gas stations adding EV fast charging. Phillips 66 has installed a Boost Charger at a station near its Houston headquarters and plans to leverage its network of 7,000 Phillips 66, Conoco, and 76 branded sites with additional Boost Chargers.
2023 Green Car Technology of the Year™
LI-CYCLE SPOKE & HUB TECHNOLOGIES – Li-Cycle’s Spoke & Hub system recycles end-of-life lithium-ion battery packs without requiring dismantling. Batteries undergo a submerged shredding process at regional Spoke facilities in the U.S., Canada, and Europe that produces no wastewater, with the output a black mass consisting of critical metals including lithium, cobalt, and nickel. A centralized Hub facility then processes the black mass and creates battery grade materials for reuse.
Finalists considered for this award were BMW eDrive Zones, ConnectDER, Ford Home Integration System, GM Hydrotec Fuel Cell Power Cubes, and Li-Cycle Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling.
2023 Green Car Product of Excellence™
Rising above a substantial field of ‘green’ competitors to become a Green Car Awards™ candidate is a noteworthy achievement in itself. To honor these vehicles, all finalists considered in a Green Car Awards™ category are recognized for their commendable environmental achievement with Green Car Journal’s 2023 Green Car Product of Excellence™.