What defines a “green car” can be the source of much discussion among environmentalists, advocates, and actual buyers. Every week Green Car Reports shines a light on the industry with coverage of battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, conventional hybrids, high-efficiency clean diesels, and smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles in general. Read on for a selection of their stories from last week.
Over the next two or three years, we’re going to see a whole spate of plug-in hybrid luxury SUVs and crossover utility vehicles. On Friday, one of them broke cover: the 2016 Audi Q7 e-tron quattro. That’s the official name of one model of the all-new Q7 luxury SUV–and that e-tron model uses a diesel engine along with its plug-in hybrid hardware.
On the small-car front, the new 2015 Chevrolet Trax is a pint-sized crossover utility vehicle that’s the least expensive all-wheel-drive Chevy. It’s based on the Sonic subcompact, but has a taller body, a higher driving position, more room, and a quiet ride–plus combined fuel economy ratings in the high 20s. That’s better than most smaller SUVs.
The fuel economy also rose for another small SUV – the updated 2015 Honda CR-V compact crossover. It’s got a new engine, a new transmission, mildly revised styling, a more practical interior, and higher EPA ratings. It sells in enormous volumes, and that’s likely to continue.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn says electric cars will inevitably become more popular and grow their share of the new-car market. In an essay on LinkedIn, he explained the four different reasons that will happen. Nissan has sold more electric cars than any other company in the world, so perhaps he has reason to be confident.
Green Car Reports has a lot of Tesla fans, and one of them sent in a completely unprompted love letter to his new Tesla Model S. With only minor editing, that became an essay the site called The Passion of the Tesla.
But it’s not all about electric cars. Toyota, for one, pooh-poohs cars powered by batteries and believes that hydrogen fuel-cell cars are the right zero-emission vehicles for the future. Its upcoming 2016 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell car will change the industry, said one Toyota executive–just as the company’s Prius hybrid car did 15 years ago.
Meanwhile, the Canadian province of Quebec is using a mix of carrots and sticks to encourage purchase of electric cars. The region receives enormous amounts of power from renewable hydroelectric sources, and it’s an interesting case study to see how electric cars will do in cold climates.
And last week was the fourth anniversary of the first Nissan Leaf electric car, which was sold in mid-December of 2010 in San Francisco. To celebrate, Green Car Reports profiled four different unusual Leafs it had written about. One of them has covered more than 100,000 miles in a bit more than two years. But what about a Leaf electric pickup truck? The wildest and coolest, though, may be the one with laser beams (or something) used in the Japanese Ultraman Ginga 5 TV series.
For more news from Green Car Reports, you can visit the website here. You can also sign up for an e-mail that delivers every story in one neat daily package (just look for “News In Your Inbox” in the right-hand column of any GCR page).