NEW YORK, April 2, 2015 — For the second year in a row, #BMW has won the World Green Car Award with all-electric i8 #EV at this year’s 2015 New York International Auto Show (#NYIAS or #NYAS).
BMW won with its ultra-modern EV, the race car-inspired i8 (its all-electric crossover the i3 won last year’s award). However, most other American and Asian car manufacturers chose to launch super fuel-efficient gas models rather than dip further into the scary landscape of EV (or even plug-in “hybrid”) production, sales and servicing.
And unfortunately, the EV charging station pool isn’t much better. Although the promise of charging stations has been making the news, there is not much progress at ground level for EV owners who seek to go past their driving range (around 60-100 miles or MPGe depending on EV model charging, battery storage and efficient driving performance).
From much experience listening to wanna-go-electric urbanite car buyers, this green car auto expert hears the same thing: EVs are too expensive and charging stations are too few.
Actually, the big green news of the year came from Mercedes-Benz (congrats on three wins including World Car of the Year at the 2015 New York Auto Show!) at the Geneva Auto Show and that comes in the announcement that this luxury marquee will launch a new plug-in version of its sedans, CUVs and SUVs every four months.
Read Also: Mercedes-Benz to Launch 10 Plug-Ins by 2017
What’s The Deal with Super Fuel Efficients?
The name of this green game at #NYIAS2015 seemed to be go for super fuel efficiency. It makes sense to most car buyers, too, since you can get more for your money with a gas-powered model that saves money at the pump too. Sure, you love Mother Earth and want to change the planet, but how can you afford to pay thousands more for advanced zero emissions technology? Here’s a summary of all the super fuel-efficient vehicles at the 2015 New York Auto Show:
BMW also launched its XDrive40e concept, which it is billing as its first plug-in crossover vehicle (a 2.0 turbocharged gas engine is paired with the i8’s electric motor tech making this CUV go from 0-60 mph in just 6.5 thrilling seconds).
Toyota made some noise in the Big Apple by showing its 2016 RAV4 Hybrid. No, it’s not a plug-in hybrid yet, but the RAV4 Hybrid has an exterior refresh, and Toyota claims this small SUV will have more horses as well as get better fuel efficiency (currently around 23 mpg city and 30 mpg hwy).
Chevrolet proudly launched its 2016 Malibu Hybrid at the 2015 New York Auto Show. Chevy execs claim its new “range extender” Malibu Hybrid gets 47 mpg combined, which brings it up to par with its hybrid sedan competitors from Ford, Honda and Kia. Chevy also launched a more fuel-efficient and more sportily designed 2016 Spark and – like many manufacturers – chose hold back on catapulting its 2016 Spark Electric vehicle.
Daimler’s tiny 2016 smartfortwo did not launch a new electric version yet, but used the New York show to sound off its new transmission in petrol-powered models.
Kia made a grand splash at this year’s New York Auto Show with its 2016 Optima model and yet did not offer a hybrid version. Kia hinted a 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid or even a Kia Optima Plug-In is perchance upcoming. At the LA Auto Show perhaps?
Honda may have stunned the auto world with its “return of the sporty” 2016 Civic redesign. With photogs popping shots at the new famous lime green showroom Civic, Honda execs confirmed a hybrid version has not yet been confirmed and certainly has not hit its marketing launch. Could a hot new Honda Civic Hybrid launch at the LA Auto Show in the fall maybe?
Nissan’s 2016 Maxima doesn’t yet have a hybrid model. However, this large near luxury sedan is boasting 30 mpg hwy even with its 3.5-liter V6.
What about Volkswagen you say? VW is still celebrating its win as the 2015 North American Car of the Year with its fuel efficient lineup of utilitarian Golf hatchbacks.
WTH is Elios?
Who and what the hell is Elio Motors, you say?
Well, auto insiders were surprised Elio Motors had found the funding to even show up at perhaps the most expensive of all auto shows, but this is the first time this upstart auto company has presented at any auto show (not including the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas).
Contrary to popular belief, “the Elio” is not an electric vehicle. It’s a gas-powered car that gets 84 mpg. The 55 hp three-cylinder motor has been clocked at 100+ mph and goes from 0-60 mph in just under 10 seconds. Elio claims it now has an assembly plant in Louisiana and expects to start production in early 2016.
Of course, New York isn’t known as the greenest of car shows. Leave that to this fall in Los Angeles. Yet with all that is happening in the world, it is devastating to see not much is being done to provide affordable, sustainable transportation options to North American drivers and families. Green cars need to become more affordable – especially for New York’s urban market – and the tri-state’s charging infrastructure also needs to bloom everywhere from (parking structures, garages, parks, companies, streets) for the electric revolution to truly take off.