How Clean Are the Newest EVs?

April 13, 2017 | 1:09 pm
Photo: Argonne National Laboratory. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (Flickr)
David Reichmuth
Senior Engineer, Clean Transportation Program

How clean are the newest EV models? As we’ve shown before, an EV is cleaner than the average gasoline car. But, the global warming emissions savings from using an electric vehicle depend in part on where in the U.S. you live.

We have an online tool that lets you compare most of the EVs that have been sold over the last six years, and we’re continually updating our database with the latest models.

Here are just some of the latest additions that you can choose to analyze using the tool:

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Chrysler is marketing the Pacifica as a ‘hybrid’, even though it’s actually better: it’s a plug-in hybrid. Photo: Dave Reichmuth

Chrysler is marketing the Pacifica as a ‘hybrid’, even though it’s actually better: it’s a plug-in hybrid.The new Chrysler Pacifica minivan is being advertised as available with merely a hybrid drivetrain, but it’s actually a plug-in hybrid.

This seven-passenger van is rated at over 30 miles of electric range and then gets over 30 MPG when the gasoline engine is being used. This combination makes the Pacifica the cleanest minivan option by a long shot, as the best gasoline models only get 22 MPG. Its maker, Fiat Chrysler America, was one of our worst rated companies for commitment to EVs, so hopefully this means that they are starting to get on the right path.

Hyundai Ioniq BEV

The Ioniq is the first vehicle to sold as a conventional hybrid, plug-in electric hybrid, or a battery electric model. Photo: Ki Hoon. CC-BY-SA-4.0 (Wikimedia).

 Hyundai is actually releasing three versions of the Ioniq: an all-electric version, a plug-in hybrid, and a gasoline-only ‘conventional’ hybrid.

The first one to reach the U.S. is the all-electric Ioniq BEV. With a range of 124 miles, this car could meet many driver’s daily needs.  The Ioniq also boasts the highest efficiency of any electric car on the market (0.25 kWh per mile).  That means in places with cleaner electricity, this car produces emissions equal to a gasoline car rated at 100MPG or better.

Prius Prime

The 2017 Prius Prime can be plugged into any regular outlet to charge its 8.8 kwh battery pack. Photo: Toyota News Room.

This is the second version of Prius plug-in hybrid, but it’s vastly different from the previous version. While the first version could only operate in electric-only mode at low speeds, the Prime can go all-electric under most conditions.

The range has also more than doubled to 25 miles. Because it’s based on an efficient hybrid, the Prime also get exceptional gas mileage when running on gasoline at 54 MPG.

Chevy Bolt

The Chevrolet Bolt EV is the most efficient and affordable long-range EV currently available. Photo: Dave Reichmuth

The Chevy Bolt EV (easily confused with Chevy Volt) is a new all-electric hatchback that is the first EV to get over 200 miles range that is not made by Tesla. While not as efficient as the Ioniq, it is the most efficient long-range battery electric vehicle available at 0.28 kWh/mile. Because of its range, it could potentially replace more gasoline-powered trips than other EVs, leading to greater emissions reductions.

Check out these EVs, as well as all the other EV models available using our tool. We’ll continue to add EVs to our emissions tool, including the anticipated new long-range EV models from Tesla and Nissan later this year. We’ll also add the latest electricity emissions estimates, so watch this space for updates.





About the author

More from David

David Reichmuth's work focuses on analyzing new vehicle technologies and advocating for policies that support the increased electrification of transportation. Dr. Reichmuth has testified at hearings before the US House of Representatives, the California State Legislature, and the California Air Resources Board, and he is an expert on California’s Zero Emission Vehicles regulation.