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Electric vehicles no longer the greenest as buyers want bigger and more powerful EV trucks and SUVs

The Chevy Silverado electric truck (image: Chevrolet)
The Chevy Silverado electric truck (image: Chevrolet)
Fully electric vehicles now occupy only four of the top dozen or so slots in the greenest American cars ranking, down from seven last year. The plug-in or gasoline hybrids of the 2022 model year turned out to be more energy-efficient than new EVs that are constantly growing in size and horse power.

As electric cars become bigger and carry larger batteries, they have begun to slide down the rankings for most environmentally friendly vehicles. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) just released their GreenerCars ranking of the top frugal vehicles for the 2022 model year, and it includes only four pure EVs in a list of America's greenest cars dozen:

  1. Toyota Prius Prime Plug-in Hybrid
  2. Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid
  3. Mini Cooper SE Hardtop 2 Door EV
  4. Nissan Leaf EV
  5. Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid
  6. Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Blue Gasoline Hybrid
  7. Mazda Mx-30 EV
  8. Toyota Corolla Hybrid Gasoline Hybrid
  9. Honda Insight Gasoline Hybrid
  10. Toyota Camry Hybrid LE Gasoline Hybrid
  11. Tesla Motors Model Y RWD EV
  12. Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Blue Gasoline Hybrid

The other places are occupied mainly by plug-in or gasoline hybrids with only the tiny Mini Cooper SE convertible and Nissan Leaf finding a place in the top 5 greenest cars in America. Last year, the top five places in that same greenest cars list were all electric, while seven of the top 12 most energy-efficient vehicles in the U.S. were EVs. Now that some of those frugal models have been replaced by larger ones, the environmental equation is no longer in favor of pure electric mobility. According to Peter Huether, ACEEE’s senior transportation research analyst:

Automakers are pledging more all-electric models, but they're discontinuing some of the most efficient ones, leaving consumers with fewer compact, ultra-green choices. Automakers shouldn't produce only huge EVs. Such EVs, though more energy efficient than similarly sized gasoline counterparts, mean higher consumer costs and planet-warming emissions than small electric cars.

The issue is that, just like with gasoline cars, consumers are most excited about electric pickup trucks like the Rivian R1T and Tesla's Cybertruck, or with full-size electric SUVs, which leads automakers to invest in developing what the market wants. With every major carmaker now announcing a 2030 electrification plan across their portfolios, including recent holdouts like Toyota, that preference for larger and more powerful EVs is only bound to get stronger, crushing the electric cars' green cred in the process.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 02 > Electric vehicles no longer the greenest as buyers want bigger and more powerful EV trucks and SUVs
Daniel Zlatev, 2022-02-16 (Update: 2022-02-16)