It’s Earth Day! Take a Look at Ten Earth Friendly Automobiles
Are you interested in electric cars? In honor of Earth Day, AskPatty has gathered up a roundup of ten eco-friendly cars that can help Earth-aware drivers reduce fuel costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce our dependency on petroleum.
While many drivers are familiar with the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, there are now are many Earth-friendly choices for new car shoppers shopping in the electric car segment. Regardless of your reasons for wanting one, and no matter which electric car you choose, consumers have more choices than ever before.
The ten cars included in this guide represent a variety of alternative-fuel vehicles available on the market right now. Take a look and learn about your eco-friendly automotive choices.
Pure Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) do not use a drop of gasoline. Instead of an internal combustion engine, the BEV features a high-voltage electric motor powered by a battery pack charged by plugging in to a 110-volt or 220-volt outlet. Pure BEV's are favored for their lack of tailpipe emissions, as well as for their uncannily silent operation and consistent acceleration throughout their speed range.
Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) combine HEV technology with a high-voltage storage battery like that used in a BEV. PHEVs run using the charge of the battery first, and then run in regular hybrid mode once the battery is depleted offering a much greater range than a pure BEV. PHEV's are silent, and do not emit greenhouse gasses while operating in electric mode, but do make some operating noises and tailpipe emissions when running on their hybrid powerplants.
Both Pure Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) propulsion systems utilize regenerative braking systems to capture kinetic energy from braking to recharge their batteries.
Note: these pure battery electric and plug-in electric hybrids are eligible for up to $7500 in Federal tax rebates; access to carpool lanes and additional state tax rebates may also be available depending on where you live. Remember, prices are before any destination and delivery charges or tax rebates, and you will be expected to finance the full purchase price; rebates typically come after purchase, either by submitting reimbursement forms to your state agency, or through your income taxes.
The luxurious 2014 Cadillac ELR blends dramatic design and industry-leading extended-range electric technology to deliver a driving experience that is elegant, sporty, AND environmentally friendly. The Cadillac ELR is powered by the same type of Extended Range Electric Vehicle technology found in the Chevrolet Volt, but delivered with the premium comfort -- and pricing -- of a luxurious Cadillac two-door coupe. Where you can get the more practical Chevrolet Volt for about $34,000*, the Cadillac ELR starts at about $75,000* (*before any rebates). Learn more about Cadillac’s electric ELR coupe here at AskPatty.com.
General Motors’ first battery electric vehicle since its ground-breaking EV1, the 2014 Spark EV is the all-electric version of Chevy's five-door little city car. Promising an estimated 119 MPGe, it is the most efficient electric car on sale today. Able to reach 0 to 60 mph in less than 7.6 seconds, all on pure battery electric power, the four-passenger Spark EV has a top speed of 90 mph and boasts 105 kilowatts (140 horsepower) of electric drive power. The Spark EV charges about five to six miles per hour on a 120-volt outlet, which equates to about 17 hours to fully charge the battery. At 240 volts, that time is reduced to seven hours. And with DC fast charging, it only takes 20 minutes for 80% charge. The 2014 Chevrolet Spark starts at $26,685, and Chevrolet is currently offering 36-month lease for $199 per month. Read a full review of the electric Spark here at AskPatty.com.
Already popular for its iconic Italian styling, the teeny little Fiat 500 is now available with a plug-in electric powertrain promising more than 100 MPGe (a mile-per-gallon equivalency metric for electrified vehicles). Under its hood is a 111-horsepower electric motor that recharges in less than 4 hours with its Level 2 (240 volt) on-board charging module and stores its energy in a 24-kWh Lithium-Ion High-Voltage Battery for a range of about 87 miles per charge. Based on average driving habits of about 15,000 miles per year, Fiat boasts the annual cost to power the Fiat 500e is about $500. Available only in California, the Fiat 500e starts at $31,800; Fiat is currently offering buyers a choice of 0% financing, or a 36-month lease for just $199 per month.
The 2014 Ford C-MAX Energi PHEV is a five-passenger electric multi-activity vehicle that targets more than 500 miles of driving range using the battery and engine, more than any other plug-in or extended-range vehicle currently in development. It recharges its Li-ion battery packs overnight using either 120-volt or 240-volt outlets. The practical little SUV boasts a roomy interior, with 43.4 cubic feet behind the first row and 19.2 cubic feet behind the second row. The Ford C-MAX Energi starts at $32,920, and Ford is currently offering 24-month lease for $229 per month.
Powered by 23kWh Lithium-ion battery pack, the 2014 Ford Focus Electric BEV sedan features a liquid cooled and heated battery pack intended to deliver consistent driving ranges over a wider spectrum of temperatures. The 2014 Ford Focus Electric also has been certified by the EPA to offer 110 MPGe for a combined driving range of 76 miles on a single charge. A full charge in four hours from a 240-volt charger also can extend range as drivers can more quickly recharge between stops – up to 20 miles per charge hour. The 2014 Ford Focus Electric BEV starts at $35,170, and Ford is currently offering 36-month lease for $166 per month.
Ford claims its 2014 Fusion Energi PHEV sedan is the most fuel-efficient midsize car in the world, promising more than 100 MPGe. Ford says this is 8 MPGe more than the Chevrolet Volt and 13 MPGe more than the projected efficiency of the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid model. The MyFord mobile app, standard on the Fusion Energi plug-In hybrid, lets you monitor and schedule the charging of your Fusion Energi from anywhere, to help you maximize your range. It gives you remote charging status updates, so you can check charge levels and available range. It also provides you with the location of your vehicle if you’re not in it, where you can find the nearest charging stations, and shows you the most efficient route to get there. The 2014 Ford Fusion Energi PHEV starts at $34,700, and Ford is currently offering 24-month lease for $293 per month.
Honda’s BEV version of its tiny Fit hatchback features a 92kW electric motor that produces 106-lb-ft of torque and boasts an estimated 100 miles driving range per charge with full recharging in less than 15 hours when using a conventional 120-volt outlet and as little as three hours with a 240-volt outlet. Available only as a limited edition lease, your monthly payments for the Honda Fit EV can be as low as $259 for three years, and includes 240-volt Leviton Home Charging System hardware, maintenance costs, roadside assistance service, and collision coverage.
One of the first electric cars the hit the market, the 2014 Nissan Leaf BEV boasts an EPA rating of 126 MPGe, can fully recharge on a 240-volt charging station in about seven hours, and promises a range of about 80 real-world miles before recharging, depending on terrain, driving style and accessory use. With Nissan’s available CARWINGS mobile app/information system, you can find a nearby charging station, schedule an off-peak charge for optimal savings, or activate your pre-set climate settings—so your Nissan Leaf is ready when you are. The 2014 Nissan Leaf starts at $28,980, and Nissan is currently offering 24-month lease for $199 per month.
The brand-new generation of the Smart Fortwo electric is powered by a 55-kilowatt electric motor that provides 96 lb.-ft. of torque promising acceleration from zero to 60 mph in less than 12 seconds, and a top speed of more than 78 mph. The all-new Smart electric drive boasts an EPA rating of 122 city MPGe, with a tested range of 76 miles in city driving. In real world driving however, smart says real-world driver may achieve closer to 90 miles on a full charge. The 2014 Smart Fortwo Electric starts at $25,000, and Smart is currently offering a special lease for $139 per month with battery assurance.
The 2014 Toyota Prius Plugin promises an all-electric range of up to 13 miles from a lithium-ion battery pack with a recharge time of just three hours from a 120-volt household outlet and a total hybrid range equivalent to the familiar Prius so many already know and love. Combine the electric range with its gasoline engine for a total of 50 estimated mpg combined in hybrid mode or 95 estimated MPGe combined in EV Mode. The popular little 2014 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid features 21.6 cubic feet of cargo area and starts at $39,800.
Want to Buy an Electric Vehicle?
These are just some of the electric cars that are on sale now. By the end of the year, several more models are expected to go on sale, including an electric version of the fun little Kia Soul promising a top speed of 90 miles per hour and a 125-mile driving range; luxurious Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric drive, Porsche electric Panamera, and Tesla Model X sedans; and the practical BMW i3 small city car, Volkswagen e-Golf five-door hatchback, and the Volkswagen E-Up! microcar.