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Surprise! No electrics among finalists for Green Car of the Year

Today the Green Car Journal announced the five finalists for the 2014 Green Car of the Year award — surprise — the list DOES NOT include any electric vehicles and has only one model (Honda Accord) that is available in a hybrid/hybrid plug-in and high-mileage conventional.

Here’s the announcement.

LOS ANGELES, CA Green Car Journal has identified its five finalists for the magazine’s high-profile 2014 Green Car of the Year® program. The five 2014 models include the Audi A6 TDI, BMW 328d, Honda Accord, Mazda3, and Toyota Corolla. These five finalists are also honored as Green Car Journal’s “Top 5 Green Cars for 2014” and earn the magazine’s “Green Car Product of Excellence” honors.

The Ford Fusion was the winner of the 2013 Green Car of the Year Award.

The Ford Fusion was the winner of the 2013 Green Car of the Year Award.

An increasing number of vehicle models are considered for the Green Car of the Year® program each year, a reflection of the auto industry’s expanding efforts in offering new vehicles with higher efficiency and improved environmental impact. Green Car Journal has been honoring the most important “green” vehicles every year at the LA Auto Show, since its inaugural award announced at the show in 2005.

“The diversity of this field of finalists illustrates not only that ‘green’ has gone mainstream, but also that there is no single approach to achieving ever higher levels of fuel efficiency and environmental performance,” says Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com. “There’s something for everyone in this year’s field of finalists, including clean diesel, high efficiency gasoline, and hybrid/plug-in hybrid power featured in mainstream, sporty, and executive models.”

Finalists are selected for their achievements in raising the bar in environmental performance. Availability to the mass market is a factor to ensure honored models have the potential to make a real difference in environmental impact, and finalists must be available for sale by January 1st of the award year.

Green Car of the Year® jurors include auto enthusiast and Tonight Show host Jay Leno, plus leaders of the nation’s major environmental organizations including Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club; and Matt Petersen, board member of Global Green USA. Green Car Journal editors round out the 2014 Green Car of the Year® jury.

The Finalists:

 Audi A6 TDI

ImageAudi’s 2014 A6 TDI blends excellent “green” credentials with unexpected levels of performance in a high efficiency vehicle. Its 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder TDI clean diesel engine with tiptronic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive provides 240 horsepower and 428 lb-ft torque, achieving 0-60 mph in just 5.5 seconds. A start-stop system aids efficiency, as does a lightweight body that makes extensive use of aluminum body panels. This sedan features an EPA estimated 38 highway mpg that enables over 700 miles of highway driving range.

BMW 328d

ImageFeaturing the first 4-cylinder BMW diesel engine in the U.S., the new 328d combines exceptionally high fuel efficiency with the performance expected of BMW models. EPA estimated 45 mpg highway fuel economy is achieved with this sedan’s 2.0-liter TwinPower clean diesel powerplant, which produces 180 horsepower and 280 lb-ft torque. Efficiency is enhanced with engine auto start-stop and brake energy regeneration. A 328d Sports Wagon is also available. The models are offered in rear wheel drive or with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system.

Honda Accord

ImageHonda’s popular Accord sedan aims to lead in the efficiency space with an array of efficient powerplant choices including four-cylinder, V-6, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid versions. Even the V-6, the largest engine option, nets 34 highway mpg with the four-cylinder rated at up to 36 highway mpg. The bar raises considerably with the Accord Hybrid at 50 city and 47 highway mpg, and the Accord Plug-In with its 47 city and 46 highway mpg on hybrid power. The Plug-In also offers an EPA rating of 115 MPGe, the highest of any mid-size hybrid sedan in the country.

 Mazda3

ImageThe all-new third generation Mazda3, this automaker’s best-selling model worldwide, is lighter, more efficient, and packed with advanced electronics. The 2014 Mazda3 features an appealing new design and has been built from the ground-up with Mazda’s award-winning SKYACTIV technology. The 2.0-liter powered Mazda3 four-door sedan offers best-in-class 41 mpg highway fuel economy, with the five-door hatch coming in at up to 40 mpg. A more powerful 2.5-liter engine with an i-ELOOP capacitor-based regenerative engine braking system gets 38 mpg.

Toyota Corolla

ImageThe Toyota Corolla has long been a best-seller due to its blend of efficiency and affordability. With the all-new 2014 Corolla, Toyota adds visual excitement, improved driving dynamics, and even greater efficiency to its popular compact sedan, achieving up to 42 highway mpg delivered by the model’s Eco version. This level of efficiency is achieved with a 1.8-liter, 140 horsepower engine featuring the first use of Toyota’s Valvematic technology in this country. A driver selectable ECO function moderates acceleration and optimizes on-board systems to enhance mpg.

About Green Car of the Year

The GCOY award is an important part of Green Car Journal’s mission to showcase environmental progress in the auto industry. Since 1992, Green Car Journal has focused on the intersection of automobiles, energy, and environment. Today, the magazine is considered the premier source of information on high fuel efficiency, low emission, advanced technology, and alternative fuel vehicles. CarsOfChange.com presents ‘green car’ articles online along with a focus on infotainment and connectivity. Green Car of the Year® is a registered trademark of Green Car Journal and RJ Cogan Specialty Publications Group, Inc.

 About the Los Angeles Auto Show and Connected Car Expo

Founded in 1907, the Los Angeles Auto Show is the first major North American auto show of the season each year.  Press Days for the 2013 LA Auto Show® will be held on Nov. 20 and 21. The show will be open to the public Nov. 22 – Dec. 1. The Connected Car Expo (CCE) will be the first expo to unite automotive and technology professionals in an effort to increase development and foster relationship-building in the connected car industry, providing attendees with access to the key players and top media constructing the future of the connected car. CCE will debut on Nov. 19, and continue in conjunction with the 2013 LA Auto Show Press Days.  The LA Auto Show is endorsed by the Greater L.A. New Car Dealer Association and is operated by ANSA Productions. To receive the latest show news and information, follow LA Auto Show on Twitter at twitter.com/LAAutoShow or via Facebook at facebook.com/LosAngelesAutoShow and sign up for alerts at www.LAAutoShow.com. For more information on CCE please visit www.connectedcarexpo.com.

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FedEx adding electric trucks; Tesla S delivering soon

There’s a lot of activity in the electric vehicle market these days and Green Family Car wants to share it with the world. Here is today’s Green Car Recharge:

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

FedEx hopes electric trucks will deliver savings

ImageThe Memphis company will deploy 34 electric trucks in the Bay Area this year and will roll out another 53 elsewhere in the country. Some are already here, at a distribution facility in Menlo Park.

The trucks, made by Navistar International Corp. and Smith Electric Vehicles, have a battery range of 100 miles – bad for rural routes but perfect for the Bay Area’s dense street grid.

Read more  

 
 
 
And from the Los Angeles Times:
 

Tesla to start deliveries of Model S electric cars next month

ImageTesla Motors Inc. said it will begin delivering its first mass production electric car -– the high-end Model S to customers starting June 22, about a month ahead of the expected schedule.

The Palo Alto-based company says it has more than 10,000 orders for the battery-powered car but that not all will be delivered this year.

 

And from Automotive News:

Ford is shipping Focus Electric to dealers

DETROIT (Reuters) — Ford Motor Co. started shipping its first electric passenger car to dealers this past weekend, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

ImageAbout 350 Focus Electric cars will be sent to 67 dealers in California, New Jersey and New York over the next couple weeks. Manufacturing executives signed off on the decision on Friday.

Each dealer will get about six cars, one of which will be a demonstration model, the people said.

Read more

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Best vehicles getting 30 mpg or better

Which vehicles get the best fuel mileage in each of the most popular all catagories? Energy expert and fellow auto journalist LouAnn Hammond of Carlist.com just returned from the New York Auto Show and gives her recommendations during an interview on KCRA-TV in Sacramento.

She also includes the results of a survey showing what cars Democrats purchase as opposed to those bought by Republicans. 

Watch it here.

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New plug-in hybrid coming from Ford

Ford has announced that it is developing a pair of new hybrids under the C-Max model label. One will be a plug-in hybrid, the other a traditional gas-electric hybrid, and both will complement the introduction of the all-electric Ford Focus and Transit Connect.

Here’s the story from Michael Kanellos of Forbes.com:

Ford Trots Out Electric Focus, Promises Its Hybrids Will Trump Toyota, GM

Ford Motor Company won’t be the first automaker to release a plug-in hybrid, but it claims it has worked out more of the kinks in the concept than Toyota or General Motors.

Next year, Ford will release two new hybrids–the C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi Plug-in Hybrid–to complement the all-electric Ford Focus that has just started to roll off the lines at the Michigan Assembly Plant.

The company claims that both hybrids will get better mileage than, respectively, the Toyota Prius and the Toyota Prius Plug-in and provide advantages over the Chevy Volt. The electric Focus, meanwhile, gets the equivalent of 100 miles per gallon, although, of course, it doesn’t consume fuel.

The all-electric Focus, new hybrids, and other developments (Ford also has an new, unnamed electric likely coming in 2013) all underscore the dominant theme at the automaker for the past several years: cutting fuel. Even before President Obama unfurled the new U.S. goal of raising the average mileage for new light trucks and cars to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, Ford was already turning in the direction of saving energy. (There’s more with the Forbes chat with Bill Ford here.)

Read the rest of the story here.

We got a chuckle reading the last line of Michael’s story, in which Ford is quick to point out the differences in Ford’s battery pack from those of GM’s Chevrolet Volt that have had some technical issues (fire) in recent months.

(Kapp also noted that while Ford and GM both get their battery cells from the same supplier, the battery packs are different. Thus, you can’t extrapolate the Volt flames onto Ford.)

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Ford goes green in the seats with soy

Ford's Soy Foam Seat

Ford has decided to explore the world of sustainability by introducing seat foam made of soy in the 2011 edition of the Ford Explorer. The bio-based polyurethane foam bio foam seats not only reduce the use of non-green materials in the vehicle, but Ford says fuel economy will improve by up to 25 percent in the new model.

This news should also make American soy farmers happy. According to Ford, American farmers export more than 50 percent of the soybeans grown in the U.S.

Here’s the press release from Ford.

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