Five green cars to keep an eye on

Following on from my recent article entitled ‘Why we’ll all be Driving Electric Cars in Ten Years’ Time’ I thought it might be an ideal time to have a look at the movers, the shakers and the big noises coming out of the ‘green’ car industry. Below is a list of the five most intriguing environmentally friendly cars currently on the market.

1.      Toyota Prius

Five Green Cars

The Toyota Prius is deemed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to be one of the cleanest vehicles sold in the US based on smog forming emissions. The plug-in hybrid alternative was launched in 2012 and uses Hybrid Synergy Drive technology which promises to deliver attractive fuel economy and ultra-low carbon emissions. Its 4.4 kWh lithium battery enables an all-electric operation at higher speeds and longer distances than before. It was also awarded the Green Car Reports ‘Best Car to Buy 2012’.

2.      BMW i3

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Looking something like one of the futuristic cars from Spielberg’s sci-fi film Minority Report, the soon to launch BMW i3 is the premiere electric vehicle from a brand new BMW range entitled ‘Project i’. It is the German manufacturer’s first mass-produced zero emissions car with a maximum range of 100 miles with its New European Driving Cycle. At a little over £30,000 (with a government grant reduction in the UK), the i3 represents one of BMW’s most affordable and by far its most environmentally friendly car.

 3.      Chevrolet Volt

This product image provided by General Motors, shows a 2011 Chevrolet Volt. Battery powered for the first 25 to 50 miles after charging up, the revolutionary, electric-powered Chevy Volt’s on-board generator automatically provides additional electricity to continue on for another 300 miles, when needed. (AP Photo/General Motors)

Rarely is a marketing puff striking in its accuracy but “the game changer” tag on Chevrolet’s website might be quite apt. Depending on which side of the Atlantic pond you’re sitting, this car is either the Chevrolet Volt (US) or the Vauxhall Ampera (UK). In either case, it is rated by the EPA as the most fuel-efficient car and is currently the best-selling plug-in hybrid in the world. Its success has been a big step forward in helping electric vehicles (EVs) gain a foothold on a gasoline car dominated market and put green cars on the map.

4.      Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

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Bringing some bona fide pizazz to the green car market, the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid is being rolled out as part of the wider Panamera range facelift. It includes all the creature comforts, advanced technology and general wow factor associated with the Porsche luxury brand but with a much more marketable environmentally conscious approach. The exterior design has been restyled to give tauter proportions providing a more streamlined and modern appearance. The car is available in 15 colours with a host of bespoke interior design options to give the car its own unique character.

5.      Nissan LEAF

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With a product name that doubles as a marketing slogan as bold as ‘Leading, Environmentally friendly, Affordable Family car’, the Nissan LEAF has set itself a high benchmark to live up to. Thankfully, it delivers. It is the best-selling all-electric car in the world which produces no tailpipe pollution or greenhouse gas emissions. Although it is one of the older EV models, its string of awards has helped it garner market dominance.

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