Green Car Journal’s Green Car Awards, the annual awards program honoring the year’s most standout new ‘green’ models, was presented at the Virtual Greenbuild Conference + Expo in November this year. The 2021 virtual awards program was an innovation during an unusual year, amid the postponement and cancellation of international auto shows where the Green Car Awards typically take place.
Over the years, these high-profile awards have grown along with the expanding field of ‘green’ cars on the road. They now recognize not only the magazine’s signature Green Car of the Year, but also exceptional models that speak to families, city dwellers, luxury buyers, pickup enthusiasts, and those requiring the functionality of an SUV. All provide the traditional touchstones of safety, quality, value, style, and performance, plus that fun-to-drive quality important to most drivers. What they add are greater efficiency, lower carbon and tailpipe emissions, petroleum reduction or displacement, or operation on battery electric power.
GREEN CAR OF THE YEAR
This year’s candidates for 2021 Green Car of the Year reflect the auto industry’s transition toward electrification, even as it continues to make internal combustion ever-more efficient. Three of this year’s finalists, the Mustang Mach-E, MINI Cooper SE, and Volkswagen ID.4, drive exclusively on zero-emission battery power. The BMW 330e is a plug-in hybrid that drives up to 23 miles on battery power and hundreds more as a hybrid. The Hyundai Elantra is offered with either an efficient gasoline engine or a gas-electric hybrid achieving up to 50 miles per gallon.
Rising to the top of the field is Green Car Journal’s 2021 Green Car of the Year, Ford’s all-new Mustang Mach-E, a model that boasts an instantly-recognizable name and heritage, while breaking new ground as an all-electric crossover featuring up to 300 miles of range. Performance is part of the package, as is unmistakable style and all the latest advanced electronics.
The 2021 Green Car of the Year® is selected by a highly-respected jury comprised of energy and environmental leaders including Mindy Lubber, president of CERES; Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; Dr. Alan Lloyd, president emeritus of the International Council on Clean Transportation and senior research fellow at the Energy Institute, University of Texas at Austin; Clay Nesler, interim president of the Alliance to Save Energy; and Matt Petersen, president and CEO of Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and advisory board chair of Climate Mayors. Rounding out the Green Car of the Year jury is celebrity auto enthusiast Jay Leno and Green Car Journal editors .
LUXURY GREEN CAR OF THE YEAR
At a more premium price point, 2021 Luxury Green Car of the Year finalists also illustrate the momentum achieved by electric drive in the new car vehicle field. Four of these premium vehicles are all-electric models – the Audi e-tron Sportback, Polestar 2, Tesla Model Y, and Volvo XC40 Recharge. The fifth, the Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring, is the plug-in hybrid variant of Lincoln’s Corsair compact crossover that combines gas-electric hybrid and all-electric driving.
Honored as this year’s Luxury Green Car of the Year is the Polestar 2, a groundbreaking model from Polestar on many levels. This all-new premium vehicle is only the second of this new auto brand’s model offerings, and the first to be all-electric. This zero-emission, two-door fastback looks to the future even as it foregoes futuristic styling, instead choosing to offer an understated yet elegant and sophisticated design, tasteful appointments, and a nearly 300 mile range on battery power.
URBAN GREEN CAR OF THE YEAR
Urban environments pose their own unique challenges – tight spaces, often crowded streets, and hard-to-find parking. Here, smaller vehicles with a compact physical footprint and easy maneuverability are always top choices. The 2021 Urban Green Car of the Year award recognizes vehicles especially well-suited for life in the city. Top choices for this year’s award are the Hyundai Venue, Kia Seltos, Kia Soul, MINI Cooper SE, and Nissan Versa. Four are conventionally-powered – three of them crossover SUVs and one a compact sedan – with the fourth, the MINI Cooper SE, an all-electric crossover.
Taking top honors for 2021 Urban Green Car of the Year is the all-electric MINI Cooper SE. Standing out as an ideal vehicle for the city, the Cooper SE is compact in stature and big on features. Its represents what this brand all about: An iconic look, great maneuverability, and driving fun wrapped in a small package. Plus, electric power means zero localized emissions and no trips venturing out to the gas station in a crowded urban environment.
FAMILY GREEN CAR OF THE YEAR
While any model can serve family duty, those offering extra versatility and thoughtful family-friendly features are high on many shopping lists. Today, driving ‘green’ has also become a priority. Minivans have always been a solid choice, but these days three-row crossover SUVs can also do the job as family hauler. Finalists for 2021 Family Green Car of the Year are the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sorrento Hybrid, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, and Toyota Sienna. The Kia Sorrento Hybrid and Toyota Highlander Hybrid crossovers drive on efficient hybrid power. Honda’s Odyssey minivan features an efficient V-6 with variable cylinder management. The Toyota Sierra is exclusively a hybrid-powered minivan, while the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan also offers plug-in hybrid power.
Standing out as Family Green Car of the Year is the Toyota Sienna, a minivan that seeks to set the standard for modern family haulers. The stylish and fuel-efficient Sienna offers premium sedan-like style, admirable hybrid fuel efficiency, and a thoughtful blend of family-desired features along with driver-centric characteristics not always associated with minivans. It shows Toyota’s keen grasp of how to make a modern minivan that not only serves up family functionality, but also premium car style and appeal.
GREEN SUV OF THE YEAR
The hottest segment in the automotive field today is the SUV, either full-size or compact, traditional or crossover, two-row or three, conventional, hybrid, or plug-in. There are no shortage of choices, which makes narrowing the field to five outstanding finalists no small challenge. The top five finalists emerging this year for Green SUV of the Year are the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e, BMW X3 xDrive 30e, Jeep Wrangler 4xe, Toyota RAV4 Prime, and Toyota Venza. Four of these –from Audi, BMW, Jeep, and Toyota – are plug-in hybrids with an all-electric driving range from 18 to 42 miles, and additional hundreds of miles on hybrid power. Toyota’s Venza is an all-wheel drive, tech-rich hybrid with exceptional fuel efficiency.
Taking top honors for the 2021 Green SUV of the Year title is the Jeep Wrangler 4xe, an SUV that’s different in many ways from others in its class. To some, it’s an SUV in the traditional sense with high functionality and loads of versatility that’s perfect for the diversity of everyday life. But to others, it’s that, plus a means of escape, heading toward the city one day and then driving the path less taken on another, a path often rough, unpaved, and pointed towards adventure.
GREEN TRUCK OF THE YEAR
This year’s Green Truck of the Year finalists embody all the workhorse capabilities expected of a modern pickup while offering passenger car-like comfort, advanced on-board electronics, and levels of fuel efficiency unheard of in pickups of just a decade ago. Pickups honored as finalists for Green Truck of the Year are the Chevrolet Colorado, Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel, and RAM 1500. All offer diverse powertrain choices, from gasoline and diesel internal combustion to variations of mild- and full-hybrid power.
Powering its way to well-deserved recognition as 2021 Green Truck of the Year is the Ford F-150, a pickup long distinguished as the best-selling model in the nation and a champion of innovation. Beyond its wide array of configurations, powertrain choices, payload capacities, and towing capabilities, it now adds such innovations as an efficient PowerBoost hybrid powerplant, fold-flat ‘sleeper’ seats, and an available Pro Power Onboard output system with outlets that allow the truck to function as a mobile generator at worksites or campsites.
The Green Car Awards™ program, presented annually since 2005, is an important part of Green Car Journal's mission to showcase environmental progress in the automotive field.
The 2020 model year is an important one for ‘green’ cars as an increasing number of more environmentally positive vehicles make their way to market. What’s also notable is that this is happening across the board, from entry-level sedans and luxury cars to pickups and crossover/SUVs.
Green Car Journal undertakes an extensive vetting process that considers the universe of potential ‘green’ finalists in the U.S. market and narrows the field to a top five in popular, high-profile award categories. Winners are identified in each of these categories, with awards presented by Green Car Journal editor/publisher Ron Cogan and senior editor Cam Benty at awards press conferences in Los Angeles, San Antonio, and Washington DC.
Award winners earn their Green Car Awards™ distinctions by raising the bar in standing out with their exceptional efficiency, desired features, and a satisfying driving experience, Along with the standard hallmarks of safety, value, performance, and style, efficiency and affordability to the mass market are important elements in the selection of Green Car Awards™ winners. Substantial numbers of more environmentally positive vehicles such as these on the nation’s highways brings a cumulative and significant reduction of carbon emissions and fuel use over time.
The winner of the magazine’s legacy Green Car of the Year® award – presented at the LA Auto Show since 2005 – is selected by a high-profile jury that includes leaders of national environmental and efficiency organizations, auto enthusiast/entertainer Jay Leno, and Green Car Journal editors. Rising to the top for consideration as 2020 Green Car of the Year® were the Ford Escape, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Soul, Mazda3, and Toyota Corolla. And the winner? Toyota’s all-new 2020 Corolla and Corolla Hybrid.
Featuring a more sophisticated look and riding on a stiffer platform with independent multilink rear suspension, the 12th generation Toyota Corolla features improved ride and handling and a full complement of driver assist systems rivaling those found in more expensive models. The conventionally-powered Corolla achieves notably high fuel economy of up to 31 city/40 highway mpg, with the Corolla Hybrid rated at an impressive 53 city/52 highway mpg. Importantly, affordable price points for both conventional and hybrid variants make them approachable to a great many buyers and not just a select few.
Also presented at the LA Auto Show, 2020 Green SUV of the Year™ finalists included the Ford Explorer Hybrid, Honda CR-V, Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, and Toyota RAV4. Taking the win for 2020 Green SUV of the Year™ was the Honda CR-V and its new CR-V hybrid variant.
Honda’s popular CR-V offers an array of design and technology refinements for 2020 along with the important addition of an all-wheel drive hybrid version, the first hybrid Honda SUV sold in the U.S. The CR-V Hybrid uses Honda's efficient two-motor hybrid system to deliver an expected 50 percent fuel economy increase over the already-fuel efficient gasoline model. CR-Vs come standard with the full suite of Honda Sensing safety and driver-assist technologies.
Recognizing environmental leadership in the light truck category is increasingly important considering the huge number of pickups sold each year. Pickup enthusiasts are increasingly interested in style and connectivity, but also for the fundamentals that trucks are famous for, whether that’s handling commercial duties, towing a boat or trailer, carrying loads of gear, or just comfortably seating a family of five. Increasingly, buyers also want pickups offering greater efficiency and improved environmental impact. The Green Truck of the Year™ award recognizes leadership in this arena and is presented annually at the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show in San Antonio, Texas, in the heart of ‘truck country.’
This year’s 2020 Green Truck of the Year™ finalists included the Chevrolet Colorado, Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, Ford Ranger, and RAM 1500. All offer far more sophisticated capabilities and greater environmental performance than the workhorse pickup trucks of years past, while also featuring the high levels of comfort, safety, and drivability of their passenger car counterparts. Green Car Awards™ jurors honored the RAM 1500 as the 2020 Green Truck of the Year™, the second year in a row this exceptional has earned this honor.
Its distinction as 2020 Green Truck of the Year™ is testament to the focus that RAM 1500 has on filling the needs of everyday drivers and tradesmen, while offering higher efficiency that decreases fuel use and carbon emissions. Along with its appealing design, lighter weight, and work-and-play functionality, RAM 1500 offers a new and more powerful 3.0-liter EcoDiesel powerplant that achieves an EPA estimated 22 city/32 highway mpg. A pair of eTorque mild hybrid powerplants, exclusive to the segment, deliver up to 20 city/26 highway mpg fuel efficiency. RAM 1500 features considerable towing and hauling capabilities and is equipped with the latest connected and driver-assist technologies.
The San Antonio Auto & Truck Show also hosted Green Car Journal’s inaugural 2020 Family Green Car of the Year™ award program. This high-profile award recognizes the increasingly important role that environmental performance plays in the family vehicle arena. Finalists included the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, Hyundai Venue, Kia Niro, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and Nissan Versa. These models represent the spectrum of vehicle types most appealing to families including sedan, minivan, and crossover SUV models powered by efficient internal combustion and plug-in hybrid power, at varying price points affordable to most families. Driving away with the first-ever 2020 Family Green Car of the Year™ honor was Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV meets the diverse needs of families while delivering value, style, performance, and notable environmental performance. This plug-in hybrid SUV is stylish, comfortable, and spacious enough to handle all the trappings of family life, while offering a very approachable cost for a plug-in crossover with its level of features. Among its strengths is a sophisticated series and parallel hybrid powertrain that enables 22 miles of driving on battery power alone for daily errands or commuting, or greater than 300 miles of travel on hybrid power. It can plug in to a household outlet, a 240-volt wall or public charger, or even a public DC fast charger for quickly replenishing its lithium-ion batteries.
The finale for Green Car Journal’s awards season is the Green Car Awards™ presentation at the Washington Auto Show in Washington DC. This auto show, with its strategic adjacency to the halls of power that have long influenced environmental progress in the auto industry, is an ideal venue for the Green Car Awards™ that have been presented here since 2008.
In Washington, Green Car Journal honors the automotive field’s most important enabling technologies through its 2020 Green Car Technology of the Year™ award. The diverse technologies considered for this award are instrumental in making a new generation of more environmentally-positive vehicles possible. Finalists this year included BMW Wireless Charging, Ford’s Modular Hybrid Transmission, Hyundai Active Shift Control, Hyundai Continuously Variable Valve Duration, and Tesla V3 Supercharging. Rising above its fellow nominees was BMW Wireless Charging, which Green Car Awards™ jurors honored as the 2020 Green Car Technology of the Year™.
BMW Wireless Charging offers a new and innovative direction for the future of electric vehicle charging. Paired today with BMW’s 530e plug-in hybrid, this unique system uses magnetic induction to wirelessly charge a vehicle’s batteries without the need to plug in, shutting off automatically once charging is complete. The car’s center display guides drivers in positioning their car over the system’s charging GroundPad while parking.
The premium vehicle market is the focus for a growing array of electric, hybrid, and high efficiency models. These are honored by Green Car Journal’s Luxury Green Car of the Year™ award. Contenders this year included the BMW 745e, Karma Revero GT, Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring, Porsche Taycan, and Range Rover Evoque. Emerging the winner of the prestigious 2020 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ award was the Karma Revero GT.
Green Car Journal editors note that the Karma Revero GT exemplifies what can be accomplished with stunning design, great technology, and a sophisticated extended range electric drivetrain. Karma Automotive, a startup with manufacturing facilities in Southern California, devoted significant design and engineering efforts in evolving its earlier Karma Revero into the more sophisticated Revero GT that features new front and rear designs, all-new body panels, a sumptuous interior, and a new infotainment system. This restyled luxury sport sedan is not only compelling inside and out, but is motivated by an all-new series hybrid drivetrain delivering a greater 80 mile battery electric range, and 360 mile range overall with electricity from its BMW-sourced engine-generator.
Making it through Green Car Journal’s extensive vetting process to become one of the top five contenders for a Green Car Award™ is significant accomplishment. Selection as a finalist signifies that a new model or technology makes a notable contribution toward a new generation of cleaner, more efficient, and more environmentally compatible transportation. By virtue of their notable ‘green’ credentials and environmental achievement, each of the five finalists in all Green Car Awards™ categories is honored with Green Car Journal's prestigious 2020 Green Car Product of Excellence™ recognition.
The 2020 Karma Revero GT is a major remake that delivers a new model substantially more refined than the original Karma Revero, which evolved from an existing series hybrid sedan. Externally, all of the Revero GT’s body panels have been restyled, including the doors. Most noticeable are the new grille and front fascia that present quite a departure from the Revero’s original and rather massive grillework.
Besides a more modern look, weight has been reduced by more than 500 pounds, an important move since this is one heavy grand touring car weighing in at some 5,050 pounds total. Optional carbon fiber wheels shave off an additional 55 pounds. Inside, there are new seats, center console, and an all-new infotainment system.
There are also big changes in the drivetrain. A turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine, sourced from the BMW i8, replaces the previous GM-sourced 2.0 liter engine originally used in the Revero series hybrid. Two electric motors drive the rear wheels through a single speed transmission. Combined power output has noticeably increased from 403 to 535 horsepower, with a beefy dose of 550 lb-ft torque at the ready. All this brings an impressive 0-60 mph sprint in just 4.5 seconds. In a departure from the norm, the exhaust for the Karma GT’s three-cylinder engine is located behind the front wheels.
A lighter 28-kWh battery pack is configured to run down the spine of the car. This nickel-manganese-cobalt lithium-ion pack provides a battery electric range of up to 80 miles, an impressive gain over that offered by the 2019 Revero. With the 280 mile range afforded by electricity from the car’s gasoline engine-generator, overall driving range comes in at 360 miles. EPA rates the 2020 Karma Revero GT at 26 combined mpg and 70 MPGe when driving exclusively on battery power.
Drivers can choose between Stealth, Sustain, and Sport modes to tailor the driving experience. Stealth is for all-electric driving. Sustain mode uses the BMW range-extender engine to supply electricity to the rear motors, preserving power from the battery pack for later use. Sport mode maximizes performance by combining the power from both the engine-generator and battery pack. Three levels of regenerative braking can be selected using steering wheel paddles.
A Karma Revero GTS is planned for introduction later in 2020. Here, torque will be increased to a massive 635 lb-ft for even greater performance. The GTS variant will also feature electronic torque vectoring and Launch Control to handle all that torque. In addition, a planned battery upgrade is expected to provide up to 80 miles of all-electric driving.
Jaguar’s first electric vehicle, the I-PACE offers a pleasing and aggressive design, luxury appointments, and exceptional driving characteristics. Part of Jaguar’s PACE family of vehicles along with the gasoline-powered E-PACE and F-PACE, the electric I-PACE blazes its own trails with great acceleration and handling on purely battery power, something it proved time after time in Green Car Journal’s drives on interstates, in the city, and on twisty canyon roads.
The I-PACE is is available in three trim levels, S, SE and HSE, starting at $69,500. Besides being Jaguar Land Rover’s first all-electric vehicle, it is also the first one that can receive over-the-air system software updates as new capabilities become available.
I-PACE is powered by two identical 197 horsepower electric motors that produce a total of 394 horsepower and 512 lb-ft torque. One motor drives the front wheels while the other powers the rear, resulting in all-wheel-drive. It can also operate on a single motor for more efficient two-wheel drive motoring when appropriate. Acceleration from 0-to-60 mph is a claimed 4.5 seconds, a performance characteristic we enjoyed throughout our drives.
This Jaguar electric SUV is essentially equal to its all-electric competitors when it comes to range between charges at 234 miles. Electrical energy is stored in a 90 kilowatt-hour, underfloor battery pack consisting of 432 high-energy density lithium-ion pouch cells. The battery pack's location provides a low center of gravity that enhances driving dynamics.
The I-PACE has an aluminum body like other current Jaguar Land Rover vehicles. In this case the underfloor battery pack housing is used as a structural component, which provides I-PACE the greatest torsional stiffness of any model in Jaguar Land Rover’s lineup. The battery pack can be charged to 80 percent capacity in 40 minutes from a 100 kW source or in 85 minutes with a 50 kW charger.
Because there is no engine up front, the base of the windshield has been moved forward compared to the E-PACE and F-PACE to provide more interior space. Thus, while being similar in dimensions to its conventionally-powered siblings, it has a roomier interior. While a battery electric vehicle, it retains the appearance of an internal combustion model. For instance, there’s a radiator behind the front grille for the battery's liquid-coolant system. The grille also directs airflow through the hood scoop to reduce drag, and active vanes in the grille and front bumper can close to further improve aerodynamics when battery cooling and the climate-control system aren’t needed. Other aerodynamic features include powered hideaway door handles. Air springs are standard and can lower the car by as much as 0.4 inches at highway speeds to further reduce drag.
Torque Vectoring by Braking gives the I-PACE sports car-like agility. Controlled independent braking on the individual inside front and rear wheels adds to the turning forces acting on the car. Under most conditions, more braking pressure is applied to the rear inside wheel as this best supports increased cornering capability, while the front inside wheel is braked for greater effectiveness and refinement. Adaptive Surface Response constantly monitors the car's driving environment and adjusts appropriate motor and brake settings.
The I-PACE offers a wide array of driver assist and connectivity features that vary with trim level. The Park Package includes Park Assist, 360-degree Parking Aid, and Rear Traffic Monitor. A Drive Package provides Blind Spot Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, and High-Speed Emergency Braking. Connectivity features include Remote, Navigation Pro, Connect Pro, 4G Wi-Fi Hotspot), and Stolen Vehicle Locator.
Green Car Journal has made a strategic expansion of its annual Green Car of the Year® program at the LA Auto Show’s AutoMobility LA this year, now including complementary awards for 2019 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ and 2019 Green SUV of the Year™. The magazine has also just announced finalists for the three high-profile awards.
Finalists for 2019 Green Car of the Year® include the Honda Insight, Lexus ES 300h, Nissan Altima, Toyota Avalon Hybrid, and Volkswagen Jetta. Competing for 2019 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ are finalists Audi e-tron, Jaguar I-PACE, Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid, Range Rover P400e, and Tesla Model 3. The field of 2019 Green SUV of the Year™ finalists includes the Cadillac XT4, Hyundai Kona, Lexus UX, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and the Volvo XC40.
Finalists for the 2019 Green Car of the Year® illustrate that 'green' comes in many forms, with efficient internal combustion and hybrid vehicles taking center stage. Gasoline models continue to achieve notable levels of efficiency and lower carbon emissions. At the same time, it's evident how important electrification has become in today's models, with two 2019 Green SUV of the Year™ finalists and all five finalists for the 2019 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ featuring battery electric or plug-in hybrid power. Green Car Journal has been recognizing leadership in the automotive field through its Green Car Awards program over the past 14 years.
2019 GREEN CAR OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
The new-generation Nissan Altima has a more aggressive stance, advanced ProPILOT Assist, and greater efficiency with its turbocharged, variable compression four-cylinder engine.
TOYOTA AVALON HYBRID
Toyota's new Avalon Hybrid is longer, lower, and more stylish, with high mpg and spirited driving delivered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and all-new Toyota Hybrid System II powertrain.
Since its inception in 2006, the Green Car of the Year® has been selected by Green Car Journal editors and invited jurors from highly-respected efficiency and environmental organizations. This year's invited Green Car of the Year® jurors include celebrity auto enthusiast Jay Leno; Jean-Michel Cousteau, President of Ocean Futures Society; Matt Petersen, President and CEO of Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and Board Member of Global Green USA; Dr. Alan Lloyd, President Emeritus of the International Council on Clean Transportation and Senior Research Fellow at the Energy Institute, University of Texas at Austin; Mindy Lubber, President of CERES; and Jason Hartke, President of the Alliance to Save Energy.
2019 LUXURY GREEN CAR OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
The new Audi e-tron crossover SUV is this automaker's first all-electric production model, combining a handsome design, all-wheel drive performance, and a range of well over 200 miles.
PORSCHE CAYENNE E-HYBRID
RANGE ROVER P400e
TESLA MODEL 3
Tesla's latest offering, the Model 3, is a stylish and high-tech sedan offering a signature Tesla look, lots of advanced technology, and an EPA estimated electric range of 210 to 310 miles.
2019 GREEN SUV OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER PHEV
The Karma Revero is Green Car Journal’s 2018 Luxury Green Car of the Year, earning this distinction for many reasons. But let's start here: The Revero is the most head-turning vehicle we have ever driven. Period. The attention this stunning grand touring car gets wherever it is driven is just short of amazing. If you’re lucky enough to own one, get used to it. This will never change.
Karma Automotive, a company owned by China’s Wanxiang Group, has revived the impressive but short-lived Fisker Karma extended range electric car that made a brief appearance on the market five years ago, thoroughly reengineered it, and has reintroduced it as the ‘Revero.’ The company wisely left most of the car’s breathtaking exterior design intact with a few tweaks, devoting its efforts instead to major technology improvements and creating a wondrous interior to complement the car’s incredible looks. The company then strategically set up its headquarters and manufacturing in Southern California, the land of electric cars. Even in California, where car culture is king and there’s no shortage of coolness on wheels, this car is clearly special.
The $130,000 Karma Revero is built on a lightweight aluminum spaceframe and powered by two high-power electric motors, both energized by lithium-ion batteries positioned along the car’s centerline. This pair of AC permanent magnet motors provides a combined 403 horsepower and 981 lb-ft torque driving the rear wheels, delivering a 0-60 mph sprint in 5.4 seconds.
Like the Chevrolet Volt, the Karma Revero is a series hybrid that uses an internal combustion engine solely to drive a generator, which in turn supplies electricity to the electric drive motors or to the car’s battery pack. There is no mechanical connection between the engine and wheels. The Revero delivers an estimated 50 miles on batteries alone and about 300 miles total on batteries and electricity generated by its engine-generator.
The Revero’s battery pack can be fully charged in about 10 hours using the car’s onboard charger operating on 120-volt household power. With a 240-volt charger this drops down to just under four hours. A 480-volt rapid charger enables charging to 80 percent of the battery’s capacity in just 24 minutes. The Revero has a large solar roof that’s claimed to contribute up to 1.5 miles of battery power per day, depending on weather conditions. This feature makes the Revero the first production car in the country to be powered by electricity, solar, and gasoline.
A driver has three selectable drive modes – Stealth (pure electric), Sustain (gasoline engine/generator or ‘EV later’ mode), and Sport (battery electric plus generator for maximum performance). Stealth mode would ideally be used in town where zero-emission driving is preferred, with a switch to Sustain model outside of town. The latter would maintain the batteries’ state-of-charge to enable zero-emission Stealth driving again when returning to the city. There are three levels of regenerative braking for desired deceleration and massive Brembo brakes for conventional braking.
Revero is well-connected and able to make software updates wirelessly, using Blackberry's Certicom cryptography as an added security layer within QNX-secured two-way data transmission. The Revero has an eight-speaker audio system with Bluetooth connectivity and three USB charging ports. Driver assistance includes lane departure warning and a backup camera. A 12.3-inch-wide multi-configurable driver display is provided along with a 10.2-inch touchscreen-only infotainment system.
The premium ‘green’ car field is expanding with impressive models available from noted domestic and offshore luxury brands. Each has its strengths and customer appeal. In the realm of plug-in hybrids or extended range electric cars where sheer – maybe intoxicating – beauty is at the top of the list, the Karma Revero truly has no peer.
For a decade now, Green Car Journal has been presenting its Green Car Awards™ at the Washington Auto Show to recognize environmental achievement in the auto industry. The magazine’s most recent press conference during the 2017 Washington Auto Show’s second Policy Day found automakers honored for their efforts in three important categories. Named 2017 Connected Green Car of the Year™ was the Mercedes-Benz C350e, while the 2017 Green SUV of the Year™ was awarded to the BMW X5 xDrive40e and the 2017 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ to Acura’s new NSX.
Along with the award winners, 2017 Connected Green Car of the Year™ finalists included the Audi A3 e-tron, Honda Civic, Tesla Model X, and Toyota Prius Prime. Also identified as 2017 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ finalists were the BMW 740e xDrive, Jaguar XE 20d, Mercedes-Benz S550e, and Range Rover Td6, with 2017 Green SUV of the Year finalists including the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-9, Mercedes-Benz GLE550e, and Nissan Rogue Hybrid. All offered either plug-in, efficient diesel, or advanced internal combustion power and each featured admirable levels of environmental performance.
The Mercedes-Benz C350e, Green Car Journal’s 2017 Connected Green Car of the Year, offers drivers the luxury and driving enjoyment expected of a premium sedan, with the added benefit of plug-in hybrid power. Its overall driving range of 410 miles means there are no compromises. An estimated 11 miles of zero-emission driving is provided on batteries at an EPA estimated 51 miles-per-gallon equivalent.
Drivers are well-connected with an on-board Wi-Fi hotspot and an array of advanced, connected features including location-based, real-time traffic information and route guidance. Driver assistance systems play a major role in the C320e with data from radar sensors and stereo cameras enabling autonomous and semi-autonomous features. Among its capabilities is helping avoid collisions with vehicles ahead and in cross traffic at intersections, even applying full emergency braking if needed. On board systems can maintain a set distance from a vehicle ahead, even in stop and go traffic. Steering inputs helps drivers stay in their lanes.
Green Car Journal’s 2017 Green SUV of the Year, the BMW X5 xDrive40e iPerformance, combines the versatility and luxury of a full-size, five-passenger SUV with the driving confidence of intelligent all-wheel drive. It offers desired levels of functionality and convenience expected of a full-size SUV, while also addressing efficiency and use of electrification.
A 241 horsepower, 2.0- liter TwinPower turbo four-cylinder engine and 111 horsepower electric motor enabling this nearly 5,000 pound plug-in hybrid SUV to accelerate from 0-60 mph in under seven seconds. It can travel 14 miles under electric power alone with a total driving range of 540 miles. To enhance all-electric driving, intelligent connectivity constantly monitors all factors affecting range including traffic conditions, route profile, and driving. Route guidance functions include displaying public charging station locations on a navigation map.
Winning the 2017 Luxury Green Car of the Year was achieved in style by the all-new NSX hybrid supercar. Promising the luxury of carving the perfect turn, riding on race-inspired suspension, and the exhilaration of breathtaking acceleration, the Acura NSX delivers the ultimate driving experience while also somehow netting some 31 percent better city mpg than the previous generation.
The NSX champions aerodynamics, hybrid drive, and lightweight materials like carbon fiber, SMC fiberglass, aluminum, and high-strength steel. Its mid-engine, twin-turbocharged V-6 connects to a nine-speed dual-clutch transmission integrated with a rear electric motor, with two additional electric motors powering the front wheels. The car’s 573 total system horsepower propels it from 0-60 mph in just 2.9 seconds. In a word, this hybrid supercar is ‘thrilling.’
Winners and finalists for these three Green Car Awards are proof positive that it is no longer good enough to design and build vehicles with style, quality, functionality, and performance. It is necessary to do all this while also delivering much more, taking into account the need for highly-evolved models with improved efficiency, lower environmental impact, greater safety, and ever-expanding ways of connecting our lives and our vehicles to one another.
Hosting these Green Car Awards in Washington DC is appropriate considering the policies, regulations, and incentives that have historically come out of Washington DC that play a significant role in influencing the success and direction of lower emission, more efficient advanced technology vehicles. With its status as the largest public show in Washington and its proximity to the halls of power in the nation’s capital, the Washington Auto show is also the logical venue in Washington DC to honor environmental achievement in the auto industry.
Finalists for Green Car Journal’s 2017 Connected Green Car of the Year™, 2017 Luxury Green Car of the Year™, and 2017 Green SUV of the Year™ awards were announced at the LA Auto Show’s AutoMobility LA™ event in Los Angeles. Each of the finalists for 2017 Connected Green Car of the Year™ offers advanced connectivity and driver assistance systems combined with admirable levels of environmental performance. The finalists are the Audi A3 e-tron, Honda Civic, Mercedes-Benz C350e, Tesla Model X, and Toyota Prius Prime. Four are plug-in vehicles while one is powered by efficient gasoline internal combustion.
In contention for 2017 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ are the 2017 Acura NSX, BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance, Jaguar XE 20d, Mercedes-Benz S550e, and Range Rover Td6. This diverse group of premium ‘green’ finalists includes plug-in, hybrid, and advanced diesel vehicles. Also a diverse group, 2017 Green SUV of the Year™ finalists are efficient SUV and crossover models that achieve their efficiencies with plug-in, hybrid, and internal combustion power. Nominees include the BMW X5 xDrive40e iPerformance, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-9, Mercedes-Benz GLE550e, and Nissan Rogue Hybrid.
Presented annually at The Washington Auto Show, the Green Car Awards™ honor the best-of-the-best in the important premium, connected, and SUV/crossover categories. Of particular importance is that these finalists achieve their environmental leadership in their own way. Hybrid power continues to be an important strategy in achieving greater environmental compatibility, along with plug-in hybrid, battery electric, and advanced gasoline and diesel propulsion.
The coordination of Green Car Awards™ announcements and joint exhibition of finalists is a significant new development between major auto shows on the auto show circuit. This milestone underscores the growing importance of “green” cars in the auto industry and how they are in turn creating synergies in complementary areas as well. Green Car Journal’s Green Car of the Year® has been a high-profile program at Los Angeles Auto Show’s press and trade days (now AutoMobility LA™) since 2005. Beginning in 2008, the Green Car Awards™ have been a key feature of The Washington Auto Show®, the “public policy show” on the auto show circuit that puts a priority on safety and sustainability. Award winners will be identified during a press conference on January 26 at The Washington Auto Show in Washington DC.
For the first time, Green Car Journal will announce finalists for the Washington Auto Show 2017 Green SUV of the Year™, Connected Green Car of the Year™, and Luxury Green Car of the Year™ awards at LA Auto Show’s AutoMobility LA, on November 17, 2016. Later in January, winners of the three awards will be presented in Washington D.C. at a press conference during the 2017 Washington Auto Show’s Policy/Media Day on January 26, 2017.
These awards recognize the best-of-the-best in three of the fastest-growing ‘green’ segments in the automotive field. Highlighting the full complement of finalists in Los Angeles and then announcing winners in Washington D.C. is ideally aligned. California is one of the most important ‘green’ car markets in the world while Washington DC is the epicenter of policies guiding vehicles to a more efficient and environmentally-positive future,
The coordination of Green Car Awards announcements and joint exhibition of finalists is a significant new development between major auto shows on the auto show circuit. This milestone underscores the growing importance of ‘green’ cars in the auto industry and how they are in turn creating synergies in complementary areas as well. Green Car Journal’s Green Car of the Year® has been a high-profile program at Los Angeles Auto Show’s press and trade days since 2005. Beginning in 2008, the Green Car Awards™ have been a key feature of The Washington Auto Show, the ‘public policy show’ on the auto show circuit that puts a priority on safety and sustainability.
Produced by the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association (WANADA), The Washington Auto Show is the largest public event in DC. As part of the show’s Policy Days, on January 24-25 the Washington Auto Show will present MobilityTalks International, a global discussion on the future of mobility regulation, harmonization, and smart cities. This will be followed by a Capitol Hill event, Ride and Drive with advanced technology vehicles at RFK Stadium, and Media Day at the Washington Convention Center on January 26. Public days at the show are from January 27 to February 5.
The Washington Auto Show is known for its impressive assemblage of new vehicle models and concepts plus specialty displays of advanced, specialty, and historic vehicles. Its proximity to the nation’s capital earns it the reputation as the auto show circuit’s ‘Policy Show,’ underscored with presentations by the Department of Energy, visits by members of Congress, and at times even the President. The show is also known for its focus on environmentally positive vehicles as host to Green Car Journal’s prestigious Green Car Awards™ program.
This year, Green Car Journal focused attention on three of the hottest categories of ‘green’ vehicles by announcing winners of its 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year™, Green SUV of the Year™, and Luxury Green Car of the Year™ awards. Making its debut at the Washington show, Connected Green Car of the Year™ recognizes vehicles that intelligently blend sophisticated connected technologies with advanced powertrains, materials, and design – all coming together to deliver driving enjoyment, efficiency, and enhanced safety with lower environmental impact.
New cars are becoming smarter and more autonomous, with adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping, automated parking, and other driver assist systems signaling that the age of the connected car has arrived. A growing array of 'green' models with connected technologies are on the market with many more coming soon. Best exemplifying the integration of environmental performance and connected technologies were this year's finalists Audi A3 e-tron, BMW 330e, Toyota Prius, and Volvo XC90 T8, and the car that emerged as the 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year, Chevrolet's all-new Malibu Hybrid.
An impressive EPA estimated 48 city/45 highway mpg combined with advanced on-board electronics and connectivity are hallmarks of the new Malibu Hybrid. The mid-size sedan comes standard with Chevrolet MyLink radio and an 8-inch diagonal color touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, rear vision camera, OnStar, and 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. That’s a lot of tech for a model that starts at an approachable $28,645. Available systems include low speed front automatic braking, parking assist, adaptive cruise control, and lane keep assist. A unique Teen Driver feature actively encourages safe driving and allows parents to view stored information on how their teenagers drove the vehicle.
The popularity of crossovers and SUVs continues to surge, underscoring why it’s important they continue to evolve with improved environmental performance in mind – whether offering a smaller footprint for easier maneuverability and efficiency, or using advanced powertrains that eke the most from a gallon of fuel or incorporate hybrid power. These are the vehicles that 2016 Green SUV of the Year™ seeks to honor. Finalists this year included the BMW X1 xDrive 28i, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-3, Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, and award winner Honda HR-V.
Based on the Honda Fit platform but substantially larger in all dimensions, the new HR-V compact crossover features coupe-like styling with SUV functionality that includes an interior volume rivaling that of some midsize SUVs with its second row seats folded. Powering the HR-V is the same 1.8-liter engine as the Honda Civic, delivering 141 horsepower and 127 lb-ft torque while achieving up to 35 highway mpg. The HR-V offers many desired features combined with an approachable $19,215 price. Standard or available electronics include brake assist, electronic stability control, rear view camera, Bluetooth, tire pressure monitoring, and Honda LaneWatch. A 5 inch color LCD screen or 7-inch touchscreen display are offered.
Higher-end vehicles with ‘green’ attributes are gaining an increasing amount of attention from automakers. Buyers now have the ability to find more environmentally positive aspirational vehicles that feature the aesthetics of a sleek sedan, the excitement of a sports car, or the functionality of an SUV, combined with high efficiency or even plug-in hybrid power. Finalists for 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ illustrated this trend, including the BMW X5 xDrive40e, Lexus RX 450h, Mercedes-Benz C350e, Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, and award winner Volvo XC90 T8.
Volvo's all-new XC90 T8, the industry's first seven passenger plug-in hybrid SUV, uses a 2.0-liter supercharged and turbocharged Drive-E engine with a rear axle electric motor powered by lithium-ion batteries. This enables an overall 350 mile driving range and an all-electric range of about 17 miles. A 46 horsepower starter-generator motor located between the engine and transmission provides start-stop capability and additional power as needed. The XC90 T8 includes all of Volvo’s conventional safety systems plus items like lane departure warning, road sign information display, pedestrian and cyclist detection, pilot assist adaptive cruise control, and park assist with automatic parking. The $68,100 XC90 T8 is EPA rated at a combined 25 mpg and 54 MPGe on battery power.
The BMW i8, the second milestone model to emerge as part of BMW’s innovative ‘i’ sub-brand, earned the distinction as Green Car Journal’s 2015 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ at the recent Washington Auto Show in the nation’s capital. There are compelling reasons for this.
BMW’s flagship i8 not only breaks new ground in defining how a high performance vehicle can achieve environmental goals, but it does so in ways that do not impose limitations on the driving experience. Importantly, this car fits BMW's ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ image while providing levels of environmental performance increasingly appealing to those buying aspirational vehicles.
Beneath its stunning, gull-winged body is BMW’s innovative LifeDrive modular architecture. The Life module is essentially the i8's 2+2 passenger compartment constructed primarily of strong and lightweight carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), created with carbon fiber manufactured at a dedicated SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers LLC facility in the State of Washington. The result of a joint venture between SGL Group and BMW Group, this manufacturing plant strengthens the i8’s environmental credentials further by producing carbon fiber using renewable hydroelectric energy.
The i8’s aluminum Drive module contains the gasoline engine, lithium-ion battery pack, electric motor, and associated electronic components. It uses a 228 horsepower, 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine to power the rear wheels through a six-speed direct shift transmission. Front wheels are driven by a 129 horsepower electric motor and two-stage automatic gearbox. Energy is supplied by a 7.1-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack located within a tunnel between the two front seats. It can be fully charged in just an hour and a half.
Power can be provided solely by the electric motor for about 22 miles of zero-emission driving at speeds up to 75 mph. Together, the rear-mounted engine and front electric motor deliver all-wheel drive performance with a combined maximum power of 357 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. Drivers are afforded the latest in advanced on-board electronics and safety systems expected in this class of vehicle.
Driving the i8 at speed provides a clear understanding of just what BMW has accomplished with its lightweight, high-tech luxury sports coupe. Green Car Journal editors found the i8’s handling superb and performance exhilarating. BMW’s Driving Dynamics Control allows choices of eDRIVE, ECO PRO, SPORT, and COMFORT drive settings. In Sport mode, the i8 can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and deliver a top speed of 155 mph. Driving range is 310 miles under normal driving conditions. Engine overrun and regenerative braking are used to charge the battery pack and a start-stop feature helps conserve energy.
The BMW i8 blends thrilling performance, innovative design, and environmental achievement in an exceptional luxury sports coupe, while offering a combined EPA city/highway battery electric efficiency rating of 76 MPGe (miles-per-gallon equivalent). Its DNA is 'green' by nature and design, making it a natural selection for 2015 Luxury Green Car of the Year™.