Here are the Top 5 New Clean Cars for 2017

, lead policy analyst, Clean Vehicles | April 13, 2016, 11:59 am EST
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In the market for a new car that can save you money on fuel and cut your emissions? Here are some of the top clean cars scheduled to hit showrooms in 2017.

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I checked out this 2017 Chevy Bolt, an all-electric vehicle that gets 200 miles per change, at the DC auto show.

2017 Chevy Bolt

Considering that this vehicle will enter pre-production a full year ahead of the Tesla Model 3, it’s difficult to bet against the all-electric Bolt. The 2017 Bolt will offer 200 miles of electric range from a battery that can be recharged to 80 percent in an hour using a high-speed quick charger, and could be yours for an anticipated sticker price of around $30,000 after the federal electric vehicle tax credit.

This test driver thinks the Bolt might be the “perfect EV package.” It’s relatively roomy, doesn’t look like a total clown car and, like all pure electric vehicles, is amazingly fun to drive. Expected to hit dealers nationwide in 2017 the Bolt will gain a head start on the Model 3, which will have a similar price and electric range. If you’re curious about electric vehicles, test driving the Bolt would be a great start. Just don’t confuse it with the Chevy Volt, the Bolt’s older sibling that can drive on both gasoline and electricity.

The 2017 Prius Prime can be plugged into any regular outlet to charge its 8.8 kwh battery pack. Image via: http://toyotanews.pressroom.toyota.com/releases/nyas+toyota+prius+prime+debut.htm

The 2017 Prius Prime can be plugged into any regular outlet to charge its 8.8 kwh battery pack. Image via Toyota

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

If you’re in the market for a Prius, you might want to hold off until 2017. The 2017 Prius Prime builds upon Toyota’s dominance of the gasoline-hybrid market by including a larger battery pack that is rechargeable from any regular wall outlet or electric vehicle charging station. This upgraded battery capacity enables the Prime to be driven either in an “all-electric” mode for an estimated 22 miles or as a traditional gasoline-electric hybrid that is estimated to achieve over 50 mpg.

While 22 all-electric miles may seem paltry, it is a step up from the previous plug-in Prius range of 6 all-electric miles. Toyota claims that 22 miles of electric range is enough to accommodate 51 percent of average daily driving needs. Also, don’t forget that driving on electricity tends to cost less and produce fewer emissions than driving on gasoline, so increasing the electric range of plug-in hybrid vehicles like the Prius Prime is important to help drivers cut emissions and fuel spending.

Pricing has not been announced, but the Prime should qualify buyers for around a $4,500 federal tax credit and potentially additional state tax credits, depending on where you live. Plug your zip code into this tool to find out whether your state has EV incentives. Also check out this array of pictures that showcase the new Prius styling.

The Ioniq is the first vehicle to sold as a conventional hybrid, plug-in electric hybrid, or a battery electric model

The Ioniq is the first vehicle to sold as a conventional hybrid, plug-in electric hybrid, or a battery electric model. Image via Wikimedia

2017 Hyundai Ioniq

The Ioniq is Hyundai’s first foray into the electric vehicle market and is poised to make a decent splash in 2017. This vehicle also marks the first time American car buyers will be able to choose between a conventional hybrid, a plug-in electric hybrid, or a battery electric version of the same model. (Confused about the difference? Check out this explanatory post).

Though the EPA mpg estimates have not yet been released, the plug-in hybrid version of the Ioniq will include a 8.9 kwh rechargeable battery pack that can provide more than 25 miles of all-electric driving before the gasoline engine kicks in; the all-electric version will ditch the gasoline engine altogether in favor of a 28 kwh rechargeable battery pack that will provide an estimated 110 miles of electric range.

Given its inoffensive styling and techno-inclusions like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and wireless smartphone charging, the Ioniq may challenge the Prius for hybrid sedan market share—a welcome sight for clean car enthusiasts everywhere.

Image via: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2016_Toyota_RAV4_Hybrid_2.5_VVT-i_marlingrau-metallic_Seitenansicht.jpg

RAV4 Hybrid image via Wikimedia

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid AWD

Captain Obvious just popped into my office and let me know that Americans love SUVs. Good thing Toyota has begun to offer one of the first full-hybrid crossover vehicles since Ford abandoned the Escape Hybrid five years ago. The 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid AWD can’t be plugged into an outlet to recharge it’s 1.6 kwh battery pack, but it does deliver an estimated 33 combined mpg while providing all-wheel drive, seating for 5, decent cargo space, and a faster 0-60 time than the non-hybrid RAV 4 AWD.

The RAV4 has traditionally been a best-seller for Toyota. Offering a fuel efficient hybrid version is sure to entice additional buyers, especially since this model starts at an estimated $29,270 and only costs an additional $500 for the hybrid package compared to the base AWD model. Considering how minimal $500 will be when spread out over a typical 5 year financing repayment term, it’s an easy investment to drive the highest-mileage AWD SUV on the market.

If you’re like my brother and need more space for 2 babies, a 150 pound drool machine dog, and cargo, then take a look at the 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which is getting a new hybrid powertrain that could boost its combined mpg to 28, though the official EPA numbers have yet to be released. Volvo also recently introduced a plug-in version of the XC90 full size SUV that can seat 7.

Over 325,000 deposits have already been put down on the Tesla Model 3. Image via: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Candy_Red_Tesla_Model_3_trimmed.jpg

Over 325,000 deposits have already been put down on the Tesla Model 3. Image via Wikimedia

Tesla Model 3

Tesla’s first “mass-market” all-electric vehicle will go 0-60 in under 6 seconds, seat 5 adults, include standard autopilot features, and achieve a 215-mile range, all for $35,000 (and that’s before any additional state credits or rebates or the $7,500 federal tax credit that will be available to some Tesla buyers). The Model 3 will also be able to gain 170 miles of range from a mere 30 minutes of charging from Tesla’s growing network of high-speed “Superchargers.”

I’ve already discussed what the Model 3 means for the electric vehicle market writ large, but I’ll reiterate that if Tesla delivers on the 325,000 pre-orders (in one week!), the Model 3 could be a game changer. At the very least it has already generated the most “buzz” (spark?) I’ve seen for an electric vehicle, which can only help get more people thinking about whether their next vehicle can be electric.

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