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Smart Fortwo Electric Drive named top Green Vehicle

Electric and hybrid vehicles dominate; gasoline Mitsubishi Mirage sneaks into top 10

Published: February 9, 2015, 3:55 AM
Updated: February 13, 2015, 8:58 PM

Smart fortwo electric drive logo

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released its list of the top ten most economical vehicles for 2015 and to nobody’s surprise, the list is dominated by plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles.

Also not a surprise is that the tiny Smart Fortwo was again top of the tops, with its Electric Drive convertible cleanly claiming the championship mantle ahead of the Chevrolet Spark EV and the Fiat 500E, both of which were new to this year’s rankings and tied with the second highest scores.

In topping the list, the Fortwo Electric Drive netted the highest score in the award’s history.

The Toyota Prius C hybrid and the Nissan Leaf tied for 4th, two points back of second, and four cars tied for the final spots in the top ten — the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, Lexus CT200h, Honda Civic Hybrid and its Natural Gas version, and the Mitsubishi Mirage (the only conventional gasoline engined car to make the top 10. The Ford Focus Electric and Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid fell just short of the top ten, but earned honourable mentions.

The ACEEE also noted that the gasoline fueled Smart would have scored even with the Focus Electric and Jetta Hybrid but was excluded because its electric brother had already been mentioned. Similarly, the Prius scored even with its Plug-In counterpart.

Because the list was so top heavy with electric models (which are not available in every jurisdiction), the AMCEE also offered rankings for other classes of vehicles, proving that consumers have economical choices depending on their vehicle ownership needs.

Among the notable winners in their respective classes were the Nissan Quest in the minivan category, the Chevrolet Trax in the compact SUV segment and the Ford F-150 in the full-sized pickup class. The Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon took top honours in the compact truck segment.

The awards tied in to the relaunch of the Greenercars.org website, which provides consumers with fast facts on eco-performance for any of the 1,000 2015 vehicle models.

The scores are indicative of a complex rating system that takes into account lifecycle greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions, and a new estimate of nuclear damage costs. New to the site is the availability for consumers to see scores dating back to 2000, and a spreadsheet that allows users to compare vehicle choices, and calculate region specific scores based on their local grid and regional electricity prices.

“How green your electric vehicle is has a lot to do with where you plug it in. A car that is charged using electricity generated from natural gas or renewables is going to have significantly less impact on the environment than one charged on a coal-heavy grid,” said the ACEEE’s lead vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan.

And countering the “Greenest” list is the “Meanest” list, which includes the vehicles that are least friendly to the environment. At the top of that list is the Ram 2500 pickup, followed by the Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana and Bugatti Veyron.

The Bentley Mulsanne, Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG and G550, Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe, Lamborghini Aventador, Toyota Sequoia, Lexus LX 570, Ferrari FF and Nissan Armada round out the top 10 (with the latter six tied for 7th).