It’s Earth Day! AskPatty Shares a Look at Ten Earth Friendly Automobiles
By AskPatty on April 22, 2014
Are you interested in electric cars? In honor of Earth Day, AskPatty has gathered up a roundup of ten eco-friendly cars that can help Earth-aware drivers reduce fuel costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce our dependency on petroleum.
While many drivers are already familiar with hybrids like the Toyota Prius and electric vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, did you know there are actually many vehicles available for new car shoppers searching in the electric car segment? Regardless of your reasons for wanting one, and no matter which electric car you choose, consumers have more choices than ever before.
No longer new automotive technology, hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) utilize both an electric motor and a gasoline-powered engine, as well as a special system to capture braking energy to store in an onboard battery. These systems work together to efficiently power the vehicle so that it uses minimal amounts of gasoline while also producing reduced emissions as well. Learn more about how hybrids work here at AskPatty.com
Pure Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) do not use a drop of gasoline. Instead of an internal combustion engine, the BEV features a high-voltage electric motor powered by a battery pack charged by plugging in to a 110-volt or 220-volt outlet. Pure BEV's are favored for their lack of tailpipe emissions, as well as for their uncannily silent operation and consistent acceleration throughout their speed range. However, once the batteries are depleted, the car must be plugged in again to recharge, so plan your travel carefully to allow charging time between trips.
Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) combine hybrid technology with a high-voltage storage battery like that used in a BEV. PHEVs charge their batteries by plugging in to a regular 120-volt house plug or special 240-volt charger; they run using the charge of the battery first, and then operate in regular hybrid mode once the battery is depleted, offering a much greater range than a pure BEV. PHEV's are silent, and do not emit greenhouse gasses while operating in electric mode, but do make some operating noises and tailpipe emissions when running on their hybrid powerplants. Learn more about how hybrid power vehicles work here at AskPatty.com.
Both Pure Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) propulsion systems utilize regenerative braking systems to capture kinetic energy from braking to recharge their batteries. But there are a few other differences you should know about when looking for your electric car, such as charging times and the distance they can travel before requiring recharging.
While pure battery-electric cars use no gas, they offer fixed travel distances (usually around 100 miles) before requiring recharging. On the other hand, plug-in hybrids allow drivers to eliminate “range anxiety” by offering a gasoline/electric hybrid system to propel the car once the batteries are depleted.
Note: these pure battery electric and plug-in electric hybrids are eligible for up to $7500 in Federal tax rebates; access to carpool lanes and additional state tax rebates may also be available depending on where you live. Remember, prices are before any destination and delivery charges or tax rebates, and you will be expected to finance the full purchase price; rebates typically come after purchase, either by submitting reimbursement forms to your state agency, or through your income taxes.
2014 Cadillac ELR
The luxurious 2014 Cadillac ELR blends dramatic design and industry-leading extended-range electric technology to deliver a driving experience that is elegant, sporty, AND environmentally friendly. The Cadillac ELR is a plug-in electric vehicle but also benefits from the same type of Extended Range Electric Vehicle technology found in the Chevrolet Volt, offering an all-electric travel distance of about 37 miles on electricity stored in its batteries or up to 340 miles using its electric range extending generator. Its batteries charge in about five hours using a 240-volt charger or from 12 to 18 hours using 120-volt household current. Where you can get the more practical Chevrolet Volt for about $34,000*, the Cadillac ELR starts at about $75,000* (*before any rebates). Learn more about Cadillac’s electric ELR coupe here at AskPatty.com.
2014 Chevrolet Spark BEV
General Motors’ first battery electric vehicle since its ground-breaking EV1, the 2014 Spark EV is the all-electric version of Chevy's five-door little city car. Promising an estimated 119 MPGe, it is the most efficient electric car on sale today. Able to reach 0 to 60 mph in less than 7.6 seconds, all on pure battery electric power, the four-passenger Spark EV has a top speed of 90 mph and boasts 105 kilowatts (140 horsepower) of electric drive power. The Spark EV charges about five to six miles per hour on a 120-volt outlet, which equates to about 17 hours to fully charge the battery. At 240 volts, that time is reduced to seven hours. And with DC fast charging, it only takes 20 minutes for 80% charge. The 2014 Chevrolet Spark starts at $26,685. Read a full review of the electric Spark here at AskPatty.com.
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