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. Here’s a selection of their stories from last week.
Sometimes Green Car Reports readers can be, errrrrr, somewhat partisan in their support of electric-car maker Tesla Motors and its remarkable Model S electric luxury sport sedan. The site covered one business analyst who believes electric-car maker Tesla Motors will fail and laid out his reasons why. The analyst in question openly calls himself “a professional smack talker,” but readers were far from amused–as the comments proved.
The site also published the first drive report written on the 2016 Volvo XC90 plug-in hybrid model, one of several luxury SUVs about to enter the market with plug-in hybrid powertrains. Those include models from BMW–the X5 plug-in hybrid it drove last spring–and Mercedes-Benz, with a plug-in hybrid GLE (it’s the crossover formerly known as ML).
For the record, Volvo officially calls its plug-in hybrid XC90 model the T8 “Twin Engine,” though in the English language, an electric motor (the one on its rear axle) is not an “engine”–so perhaps “Dual Motor” would have been a better name instead.
Green Car Reports concluded: The new XC90 is modest on the outside, but it offers a wonderful and stylishly luxurious seven-seat interior that uses modern Swedish design and materials, plus a tablet-like Sensus interface, to differentiate itself from German competitors. The genuine Orrefors crystal shift lever is pretty fantastic and with around 400 horsepower and a remarkable 472 pound-feet of torque, the plug-in hybrid is fast when needed. Its all-electric range will likely be around 20 miles.
Closer to home, Ford plans to cut $900 from the prices of its Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid models. While gas prices have no effect on plug-in car sales (ignore the conventional wisdom to the contrary), the Energi plug-in hybrid has had some down months, as January’s plug-in sales report showed. Hybrid sales, of course, do suffer when gas prices are low, so the sticker-price reductions are a smart way to keep sales of both models robust.
It wouldn’t be Green Car Reports without at least one Tesla story–if not several–and the site’s Tesla-owning author David Noland looked at what we’ve learned to date about Tesla battery life. The story’s worth reading for its compilation of data, but let’s just say that the news so far is pretty good. Tesla owners should be reassured.
Finally, the day after Valentine’s Day saw the site covering a truly bizarre Valentine’s Day video, issued by the notorious DC PR and lobbying firm Berman & Company, which sets up front groups and mounts publicity campaigns for oil and gas clients. Its CEO is the one whose playbook for fossil-fuel company PR was leaked late last year.
That playbook was pretty depressing, but if Berman’s latest effort is any indication, he may need a new creative team. How’s this for a convincing argument? The video from the so-called Environmental Policy Alliance explained that adorable, helpful fossil fuels are like your girlfriend, and you’ll be miserable if you break up with them.
That’s what evil environmentalists want you to do, it says–cue ominous music over a hideous caricature of Bill McKibben–and you’ve probably been lured into their evil clutches, thoughtlessly blaming poor innocent little fossil fuels for “everything bad in the world.”
Yeah. Ummmmmmmm, right. Whatever.
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).