So you own a Tesla or maybe more than one electric car, and you’re wondering which high speed home charger you should purchase – the ChargePoint Home Flex or the Tesla Wall Connector generation 3. Let’s compare the options, and then I’ll show you why I ended up buying the ChargePoint Home Flex.
Here’s the quick summary, if you don’t want to read all the details.
Both chargers are Level 2 240 volt high speed charging stations that can charge your Tesla at the fastest rate it can currently accept from a home charger, assuming you have it wired at maximum capacity (which is based on installation and your breaker box).
When test driving a Tesla a few weeks ago, I was able to try out several different driving settings during my test drive. One of the settings that I tested out was called Chill Mode.
What is Tesla’s chill mode, exactly? Well, if you’ve driven or ridden in a Tesla, you’re probably aware that the electric motors (often dual motor in many models) are incredibly powerful and provide instant torque and crazy fast acceleration. The zero to 60 times vary between models, but really all of the Tesla models including the S, X and Model 3 at every performance level are very fast cars.
Teslas can accelerate so quickly that it can be alarming for passengers in the car. The incredible acceleration potential also tends to fuel impatience in traffic if you have a tendency toward road rage and you’re stuck behind a slow driver.
Chill mode basically reduces the amount of acceleration that the car gives you when you hit the accelerator pedal. It makes the car drive much more like a regular fast sedan and not so much like a powerful supercar. This means you can drive your friends and family around without scaring them to death, and also keep your own acceleration to a reasonable level when you’re driving alone.
Chill acceleration in a Tesla definitely does not make the car slow. YouTube videos will show you that a Tesla Model 3 Performance can still hit zero to 60 mph in around 6.6 seconds in Chill Model, versus under 4 seconds with the regular settings.
In general, if you look at the zero to 60 time of your specific Tesla model, you should expect chill mode to approximately double that time. Which is still plenty fast, by the way!
To give you an example, I gunned it from a red light, turning right onto a busier street. Chill mode got me right up to speed in my lane with no problems, but I didn’t feel like I was wearing out the tires by gunning it from a stop into a turn.
Does Chill Mode increase range?
Chill mode isn’t designed as a setting to increase range. However, it’s possible that you can use it that way. When you use chill mode in combination with standard “hypermiling” to increase your driving efficiency, you’re certain to extend your range this way.
What else can you use Chill Model for with a Tesla?
Many Tesla drivers report that chill mode is very helpful if you are driving in slippery situations such as ice, snow and rain. The reduced acceleration helps prevent your wheels from slipping out when you hit the accelerator pedal.
The EPA reports that in 2012 Americans disposed of about 251 million tons of solid waste; that’s almost 4.5 pounds per person per day. A little more than a third of this waste was recycled or composted, leaving 164 million tons to go to landfills and incinerators.
All that trash began as life-supporting raw materials. Once it hits the landfill or incinerator most of those resources are no longer useable by us, so we need to mine or harvest more. Disposable plastics require the extraction of ever more petroleum products, at a mounting fiscal and environmental cost. Disposable paper products accelerate the pace of deforestation. Continue reading “Zero Waste in Real Life: Including Zero Waste Pioneers You Won’t Believe”
Garden Recycling: Using Household Wastes to Build Soil and Repel Pests
One of the satisfactions of gardening is the ability to work sustainably and close loops. Instead of just buying inputs and discarding wastes, gardeners can reuse discarded materials, reducing both cost and waste.
1. Pay attention to your land.
2. Learn your average frost-free dates. Notice how they vary year to year.
3. Notice where water collects and where the soil dries fast.
4. Notice where wild plants grow most abundantly.
5. Read gardening and farming books.
6. Talk to local farmers.
7. Consult your local Cooperative Extension.
8. Contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District.
9. Check out online forums like Permies, Gardening Channel and Homesteading Today.
10. Borrow issues of different homesteading magazines before subscribing to any.
11. Evaluate everything you read and hear. Notice disagreements and consensus.
12. Make small-scale experiments. See what works on your land.
13. Notice changes in crop yield and soil structure.
14. Start small. Build up gradually. Don’t get overwhelmed.
15. Make soil-building a top priority.
16. Add organic matter to your soil to build nutrients and increase water retention.
17. Compost makes for great results.
18. Compost food scraps (not meat or bread) and coffee grounds.
19. Compost yard wastes (not from treated lawns).
20. Compost manures (not dog, cat or human).
21. Mix high-carbon material like sawdust or straw with high-nitrogen material like manure before composting.
22. Age/compost sawdust at least a year before putting it on your garden.
23. Get compost materials from neighbors.
24. In winter, use an indoor worm composting bin.
25. Never leave your soil bare.
26. Plant cold-hardy cover crops after harvest. Let them overwinter.
27. Plant legumes (clover, vetch, alfalfa, peas, beans) to fix nitrogen.
28. Plant deep-rooted crops to break up hardpan.
29. Mulch plants with sawdust, lawn clippings, leaves etc.
30. Mulch empty beds that aren’t cover-cropped.
31. Grow low ‘living mulch’ like white clover under tall plants.
32. Mulch acid-loving plants with pine needles.
33. Add wood ashes around plants that like low-acid soil.
34. Don’t till your soil. Let the earthworms do that.
35. Add compost to the top of your garden beds every year.
36. Grow perennials to absorb carbon and build soil.
37. Collect and store rainwater.
38. Use drip irrigation to minimize water waste.
39. Space plants closely to shade soil and minimize evaporation.
40. If you must water from overhead, do it in evening or early morning to reduce evaporation.
41. Don’t leave disease-prone plants with wet leaves overnight.
42. Use microclimates wisely.
43. Put heat-loving plants like eggplant and pepper in full sun against south-facing walls.
44. Put shade-loving plants like lettuce North of tall plants like asparagus.
45. Extend your growing season with cold frames.
46. You needn’t buy new frames; old storm windows and scrap lumber will do.
47. Make succession plantings to extend your growing season.
Selecting and Saving Seeds:
48. Plant non-GMO seeds.
49. Grow heirloom varieties for biodiversity, flavor and nutrition.
50. Learn to appreciate odd-looking vegetables. Many heirlooms weren’t bred for uniformity.
51. Get seeds from co-ops and seed saver exchanges, or from neighbors.
52. Learn to save your own seeds.
53. Collect seeds from disease-free, quick-growing, productive plants.
54. Label collection date on seeds. Some seeds can last up to five years, and others are best to plant the following year.
55. Start with easy seeds like peas and beans.
56. Work up to saving tomato and lettuce seeds.
57. Wait until you have some experience before trying to save squash and cukes. Then read up on how to prevent cross-pollination.
58. Save garlic cloves and potato tubers, not seeds; these are easy.
59. Only save potatoes if they’re disease-free.
60. Pull weeds before they go to seed.
61. Learn and target your area’s most obnoxious weeds.
62. Don’t use weed killers. Pull weeds by hand, or use flame or boiling water.
63. Use ‘smother crops’ like buckwheat or vetch to outcompete weeds between crops.
64. Rotate crops to minimize diseases.
65. Spray leaves with 1 part milk in 9 parts water to deter harmful fungi.
66. Hand-pick most pest bugs.
67. Put out beer or yeast in shallow dishes to kill slugs.
68. Encircle plant stems with cornmeal to keep cutworms out.
69. Use organic insecticides as a last resort.
70. Attract insects and animals that eat pest bugs.
71. Plant dill, sunflowers and Queen Anne’s lace to attract beneficial insects.
72. Put out water and shade for toads.
73. Offer perches and baths for birds.
74. Attract pollinators–butterflies, bees etc.
75. Have something blooming in your garden for as much of the growing season as possible.
76. Enjoy and use useful weeds.
77. Add nutrient-rich comfrey to your compost.
78. Eat purslane, amaranth, lamb’s quarters, garlic mustard, Jerusalem artichoke tubers.
79. Leave clover to build soil nitrogen–unless it’s smothering your carrots.
80. Raise both plants and animals for a more complete ecosystem.
81. Use animal manures (not cat or dog!) in your compost.
82. Feed garden excess to animals.
83. Give goats carrots, kale, spent pea and bean vines.
84. Give pigs the same types of things you can eat.
85. Use a chicken tractor.
86. Remember, pigs can handle overripe produce, sour milk or whey, and cracked eggs.
87. Give rabbits carrots, turnips, beets, parsnips, kale, and pea vines.
88. Give chickens kale, mustards, and amaranth.
89. Give chickens the insect pests you hand-picked.
90. Give any of the above pumpkins and squash.
91. Use garlic as a natural antibiotic and dewormer.
92. Feed livestock garlic leaves and bulbils–they work like garlic cloves.
93. Don’t feed moldy or diseased plants to animals.
94. These are suggestions, not full guidelines. Research before deciding how to feed your animals.
Saving Money in the Garden:
95. Minimize purchases. Consider what you really need.
96. Be wary of trendy new items. Try tools out before buying them.
97. Share tools and equipment with neighbors who can be relied on not to wreck or lose them.
98. Discard as little as possible. Recycle what you can.
99. Use other people’s discards.
100. Get discarded food-grade buckets from grocery stores to make plant pots and animal feeders and waters.
101. Get discarded bread trays for seedling totes. Ask nurseries for used plant pots and seed starter packs.
As the U.S. government continues to promote cleaner vehicles and offer subsidies for both personal and public charging stations as well as for environmentally friendly cars themselves, we expect the number of EVs and their market availability to increase. New additions to dealerships include: Chevrolet Spark EV, Honda Accord plug-in hybrid, Honda FCX Clarity, Porsche Panamera, Smart Electric Drive, Tesla Model X, and Think Electric.
This list includes all vehicles that have a significant all-electric range, both pure EVs and plug-in hybrids. If you are interested in purchasing a non plug-in hybrid, look for our upcoming 2014 U.S. hybrid car lineup.
In the fall of 2013, Alvarez Electric Motors began selling short-range (30-40 miles) all-electric commuter cars, trucks, and vans in select California dealerships. See the story here: Alvarez electric vehicles. The vehicles range in price from $10,000 to $18,000 and have a max speed of 25 mph. The company expects to bring a motorcycle to its lineup shortly.
Audi Electric Cars
Audi released several e-Tron plug-in hybrid concept vehicles and consequently scrapped further plans, but these are now officially making their way to the marketplace:
A3 e-Tron – Audi’s A3 sportback plug-in hybrid will be named the A3 e-Tron. A TFSI combustion engine is combined with an electric motor that consumes 0.40 gallons of fuel every 62 miles and provides a range of 542 miles. Sales should begin in early 2014. See more information here: A3 e-Tron sales begin in early 2014.
A4 e-Tron – Originally unveiled as a concept at the Detroit 2010 auto show, this plug-in hybrid sedan may hit production lines in 2014 and be sold as a 2015 model. Expect the electric range to be about 37 miles.
R8 e-Tron – This spring, Audi announced that yes, it will produce an all-electric R8 e-Tron—ten of them precisely—but no, they will not be sold to customers. Here’s more on the R8 e-Tron for testing and development.
BMW Electric Cars
i3 – BMW released substantial concept information about the all-electric 170-hp i3. A DC-fast charger can be used to achieve an 80% recharge in about 30 minutes. If the car’s 80-100 mile range isn’t sufficient, the concept offers an optional REx small gasoline engine that will transform the car into a plug-in hybrid. No mention of production or sales for U.S. customers, but UK customers did get a recent i3 test drive.
i8 – BMW also released information about its i8 plug-in hybrid sports car concept. Its 200-hp 3-cylinder engine consumes 0.71 gallons of fuel every 62 miles and can travel 20 miles on electric power alone.
Build Your Dreams (BYD) Electric Cars
Chinese-based BYD electric vehicles are making their way to America, but you probably will not be able to drive one:
K9 – Starting in 2014, this electric bus will be produced in California, BYD’s first overseas factory.
Cadillac Electric Cars
ELR – Cadillac’s ELR is arriving to dealerships in early 2014. The ELR’s lithium-ion battery is nearly identical to the Chevrolet Volt, but has been tweaked to provide an extra 58 horsepower. The electric range is about 35 miles. See this ELR review for more information. Fuel efficiency is not yet rated and the estimated cost is about $70,000.
Chevrolet Electric Cars
Volt – The 2014 Volt model is currently in production and comes with a few slight changes: new color choices, new functionalities, and new convenience features. See more information on 2014 Volt product changes here. No pricing details yet on this plug-in hybrid. 2013 models started at $39,145, got an estimated 38 mpg, and traveled 380 miles on a full charge and full tank of gas. The 2013 Volt can go about 35 on electric power alone.
Spark EV – The Spark is now available at participating California and Oregon dealerships starting at $26,685. Total range when fully charged is 82 miles. A full charge on a 120V charger takes seven hours, while a DC fast-charge station will charge the battery to 80% in 20 minutes. Impressively, the Spark EV generates more torque than other in-class cars, including the Ferrari 458 Italia and Porsche Carrera S.
Chrysler Electric Cars
FIAT 500e – As predicted last year, the FIAT 500e has arrived but is only available at select California FIAT Studios. There are two charging devices: one will recharge the battery to full within 4 hours while the other will give you 9-10 miles of range for every 3 hours of charging (a full charge in under 24 hours). Its range is about 87 miles. The FIAT 500e starts at $31,800 or can be leased for $199 for 36 months.
CODA Electric Cars
CODA Sedan – Despite CODA filing for bankruptcy, California drivers can apparently still get a CODA car for about $38,145 and drive up to 125 miles on a single charge. A two-hour charge will get you going for 50 miles, while 6 hours will fully recharge the battery, depending on charger type. If you must have one and live outside of California, you may be able to put your name on a reservation list at their website for $99.
Commuter Electric Cars
Tango T600 – Billed as ‘the world’s fastest urban car,’ this two-seater will get you someplace fast: 0-60 in under 4 seconds, to be exact. 2014 brings no changes to this car, which can be charged via a regular A/C outlet and will go 80 miles on a full charge for about $200,000. U.S. consumers receive the kit only—the car is not fully assembled.
Dodge Electric Cars
Dodge is testing out a Lotus-based EV, but no word on whether it will make it to an American market.
Electric Mobile Cars
This American company continues to offer a 7-passenger van, cargo can, and ¼ ton pickup for commercial fleets, but still no word on consumer vehicle offerings.
Fiskar Electric Vehicles
Karma – This luxury electric vehicle sold for $103,000 just years ago but now fails to garner eBay bids above $50,000. The Fiskar company went bankrupt, which halted the design and development of two other Fiskar models: the Surf station wagon and the Atlantic sedan.
Ford Electric Cars
Fusion Energi – This plug-in hybrid gets an estimated 44/41/43 fuel efficiency rating and can drive about 620 miles fully charged and fueled. A full charge can be obtained overnight using a standard outlet. The electric-only range is 21 miles. The Energi starts at $40,500.
Focus Electric – No change in this year’s Focus, which gets 76 gas-free miles with a top speed of 84mph. The Focus Electric starts at $35,000.
C-Max Energi – Ford’s newest-to-market plug-in hybrid gets a combined 108/92/100 MPGe, the best in class. Drivers will get about 620 miles on a full charge and full tank and the car can be fully charged in under 3 hours (with advanced charger) or overnight using a standard charger. Skip the gasoline and you can go 21 miles on electric power only. The C-Max Energi starts at $33,345.
F-550 – Still no word on Ford’s promised plug-in hybrid diesel option.
Honda Electric Cars
Accord Hybrid Plug-in – The newly released Accord Plug-in offers 10 gas-free miles and a fuel efficiency of 47/46. Using a 240-volt charger, the car can be fully recharged in under an hour. It starts at $39,780.
Honda FIT EV – Honda’s second new release is the FIT EV. It can be leased for only $259 for 36 months, which includes a 240-volt home charging system (excluding installation and materials), maintenance costs, and roadside assistance. The 240-volt charger will provide a full range of 82 miles in 3 hours.
FCX Clarity – Honda will offer about 200 fuel-cell electric FCXs in the next three years, primarily in Southern California – areas close to hydrogen refueling stations. Fuel costs about $5/kg and a full tank will take you about 270 miles. A three-year lease costs $600 per month, which includes maintenance costs and physical damage collision coverage.
Hyundai Electric Cars
Hyundai seems to be leaning more toward developing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, claiming electric cars leak energy and are range-challenged. We’ll be interested to see what direction Hyundai takes, but it seems an Hyundai all-electric might be on the horizon soon.
Infiniti Electric Cars
Infiniti announced that it has halted production of its electric luxury Le sedan with the belief that more advanced and cheaper technology will soon be available.
Jaguar Electric Cars
C-X75 – Still just a concept, the plug-in sports car was once slated to start production in 2013. However, Jaguar’s CEO himself said he is not a fan of electric vehicles, denouncing governmental subsidies. This could mean the C-X75, which can run 30 miles on electric power alone, will not see the assembly line for some years. No news on Jaguar’s other concept car, the XJ_e.
Jeep Electric Cars
AMP Jeep Grand Cherokee – Previously, the only way to get an all-electric Jeep Grand Cherokee was through an AMP Electric Vehicle makeover. However, AMP will now only direct conversions to electric medium-sized commercial vehicles.
Kia Electric Vehicle Cars
Keep your eyes out for a potential 2014 Kia Soul all-electric with a range of 120 miles. It could reach speeds of 87 mph and may have a price point of about $35,000.
Land Rover Electric Cars
Range_e – Land Rover has confirmed it will produce a plug-in hybrid Range Rover. The 25-mile electric-range vehicle won’t be available until after 2015, but before 2020. No word on which markets will receive the Range_e.
Mazda Electric Cars
Only two months after ending production of its last rotary-engine powered car, Mazda has announced that it is reopening that plant to bring an extended-range electric vehicle to market in 2014. Instead of propelling the vehicle, the rotary engine will instead act as a generator to charge EV batteries.
Mercedes Electric Cars
B-series – Next year, U.S. dealerships will get Mercedes Tesla-powered EVs with a 115-mile range. If charged with a 240-volt device, the car can go an additional 60 miles in less than two hours. Expect prices in the mid $30,000s.
MINI Electric Cars
MINI E – A MINI field trial is still underway in the Los Angeles and NY/NJ metro area. The MINI E has a range of about 100 miles, a 95 mph top speed and can recharge in about 3 hours.
Mitsubishi Electric Cars
i-MiEV – The 2012 i-MiEV is still the most current model and features a 62-mile range. Three charging options will provide power in 30 minutes to 22.5 hours. The i-MiEV starts at $29,125.
Nissan Electric Cars
Leaf EV – The 2014 version will get minor changes on the heels of a revised 2013 model. Nissan added a few standard features to the 2014 including RearView Monitor and an updated EV-IT technology information system that includes voice destination entry and SMS readout. The 2013 Leaf offers a range of 75 miles for $28,800. The 2014 model will be available in October 2013.
Porsche Electric Cars
918 Spyder – Three years after the rumors began, a Porsche 918 plug-in hybrid will soon come to market, but don’t expect to snag one: only 918 of these $900,000 vehicles will be made, starting on 9/18. Its V8 engine goes from 0-60 in 2.8 seconds, or in 7 seconds using electric power only. Combine the engine power with electrical output and you’re looking at 887 horsepower and a max speed of 211 mph (93 mph on electricity alone).
Panamera – Porsche’s more affordable and accessible plug-in hybrid is arriving this summer, but will set you back $99,000. Its high-voltage battery is recharged in about 2.5 hours using a 240-volt charger. Its electric-only range is 22 miles and the 416-hp V6 engine hits a max speed of about 83mph. No word yet from Porsche regarding the Panamera’s fuel economy.
Scion Electric Cars
iQ EV – Ninety of Scion’s iQs have arrived in the U.S., but only for campus and car-sharing purposes. There are no talks to release EVs to consumers at this time.
Smart Electric Cars
Electric Drive – This two-seater commuter car is now available for pre-ordering. Pricing starts at $25,000 or $199 for 36 months. A fully charged battery will take you 68 miles and if using a 240-volt charger, your car will be ready to go in 6 hours.
Subaru Electric Cars
Subaru has announced plans to release its first Subaru plug-in hybrid that can travel up to 25 miles before relying on a gas engine. This could be a limited release compliance car.
Tesla Electric Cars
Model S – No changes on the 2014 Model S, which can go up to 265 miles on a single charge. The Model S starts at $579 per month.
Model X – Tesla is now taking reservations for the Model X SUV, which will be delivered in 2014. Innovative features include falcon wings, which provides easy access to third-row seating. Like the Model S, options include a 60 or 85 kWh engine, which can hit 60 mph in under 5 seconds. The reservation fee is $5,000, but no pricing details have been released.
Further, Tesla has confirmed that a smaller electric vehicle will be released in the $30,000 range about 3-4 years after Model X.
Think Electric Cars
Reservations for a Think Electric vehicle are still being accepted in select states and pricing is based on geographic area. The car can reach 100 miles on a full charge.
Toyota Electric Cars
Prius Plug-in Hybrid – The Prius plug-in has received no changes for 2014. It offers 11 gas-free miles and a combined fuel efficiency of about 50. The 2013 model starts at $32,000.
RAV4 EV – California residents can now purchase the RAV4 EV SUV for $49,800. A full charge will cover 103 miles at a max speed of 100 mph. Charge times range from 5 hours to 52 hours, depending on charger type.
Volkswagen Electric Cars
Volkswagen doesn’t offer any EVs in the U.S., but overseas drivers will soon be able to purchase the E-UP! In 2014 expect the e-Golf to be released in the U.S. as the manufacturer aspires to become a leader in electric vehicle production.
Wheego Electric Vehicles
LiFe – No change to the 100-mile capacity car, which can charge from 50% to 100% using a 240-volt charger in five hours. It’s available for $32,995.
Volvo Electric Cars
No U.S. EVs just yet, but that doesn’t mean Volvo isn’t interested in the technology. They have worked with Siemens to develop a new fast-charge system that cuts charge time down to 90 minutes. In addition, they are exploring alternative EV strategies including electric roads to power battery-free EVs.
The U.S. hybrid vehicle market is expanding rapidly as lower prices make the initial investment a more attractive long-term investment for buyers. New to the market are the Audi Q5, Honda Accord, Infinity Q50, Infinity QX60, Mercedes-Benz E400, and Subaru XV Crosstrek, with several others to debut in 2014.
Our list includes cars, SUVs/CUVs, and pickups. If you are in the market for a plug-in hybrid, see our 2014 electric vehicle list.
ILX hybrid – No changes to Acura’s only hybrid sedan, launched in 2013. The ILX gets 39/38/38 mpg and retains its starting price of $29,000.
RLX – The RLZ’s hybrid engine is not yet offered but may arrive to dealerships this fall as a 2014 sedan option. No specs have been released yet.
Q5 hybrid – The Q5 hybrid CUV was released last fall. Pricing for the 2013 starts at $50,900 and the Q5 hybrid maintains an average of 24/30/26 mpg. It does not appear that any changes will be included in the 2014 model. However, similar to other Audi models, anticipate a price hike to $51,300 for 2014.
A6 hybrid – The Audi A6 hybrid sedan will enter the U.S. market a bit later than expected: sometime in 2014. Reports claim that the anticipated fuel economy rating should be about 44 combined mpg. No word yet on pricing.
ActiveHybrid 3 – No changes to this model, which was redesigned for 2013. The sedan hybrid gets 25/33/28 mpg and starts at $49,700.
ActiveHybrid 5 – New for 2013, this midsize sedan gets 30 highway mpg and starts at $61,400. A slight mid-cycle revision may appear in 2014 5-series models, but no word if that will transfer over to the ActiveHybrid 5.
ActiveHybrid 7 – Like the ActiveHybrid 3, this luxury sedan was revamped in 2013 and starts at $84,300. Also like the ActiveHybrid 5, it gets 30 highway mpg. The 7-series 2015 models will be redesigned, particularly where vehicle weight is concerned, but no word on whether this will affect the hybrid model.
LaCrosse with e-Assist – The new 2014 model, slated for fall sales, will come standard with Buick’s IntelliLink infotainment system and will offer subscription-based XM Travel Link. New interior and exterior touches are present, along with enhanced safety features. Details haven’t been released yet, but the 2013 model got 25/36 mpg and started at $31,660.
Regal with e-Assist – A redesigned Regal will hit markets this fall and comes standard with e-Assist. New interior and exterior safety and technology features are included, similar to the LaCrosse. The 2014 will also include a new 259-hp turbo engine and available AWD. No word yet on pricing or fuel efficiency, but the 2013 regal gets 19/31 mpg and starts at $29,015.
SRX – An SRX hybrid option may be available when the re-designed SRX enters the market in 2015. The same source also hints at a potential hybrid XTS for the 2015 model release.
Silverado hybrid – This year, the V8 Silverado pickup comes with an optional ECOTEC hybrid engine that packs 332-hp. 2WD models get 23 highway mpg while 4WD models get 22 highway mpg. The Silverado hybrid starts at $32,200.
Tahoe hybrid – The 2013 Tahoe SUV gets the same mpg and offers the same horsepower as the Silverado. Its base price is $53,620. A 2014 Tahoe hybrid model may include a lower curb weight, increasing the Tahoe hybri’s fuel efficiency even more.
Fusion hybrid – Redesigned in 2013, no major changes to the 2014 model, which gets 47/47 mpg and starts at $27,391.
C-Max hybrid – Released last year, there will be no changes in 2014. The C-Max hybrid also gets 47/47 and starts at $25,200, or can be leased for $239 for two years, which may be when we see the C-Max’s design refreshed.
Yukon hybrid – A 2014 Yukon hybrid model may have been spotted (or is that a Chevrolet Tahoe?) that sports a new platform and powertrain. The 2013 model starts at $54,154 while the Yukon Denali hybrid starts at $61,960. Both models get 20/23 mpg, but expect this rating to increase in the 2014 model if the powertrain is upgraded sufficiently and vehicle weight lowered.
Sierra 1500 hybrid – The Sierra has been redesigned for 2014, featuring a more comfortable and refined interior including high-quality seat foam, as well as added conveniences to the center console, a USB port, and improved rear-seat legroom on certain models. The 2014 Sierra hybrid gets 18/24 mpg and starts at $32,700.
Insight – Changes are expected to the 2014 Insight. Speculated are engine enhancements and a smaller frame–upping the fuel efficiency–and also a lower price. The 2013 model has a fuel economy rating of 41/44 mpg and starts at $18,600.
Civic hybrid sedan – The Civic hybrid’s recent changes mirror the 2013 updates to the entire Civic line, including premium design elements and cosmetic interior touches. The 2014 Civic hybrid remains unchanged and gets 32 mpg combined (automatic). The Civic hybrid starts at $24,360.
CR-Z sport hybrid – The 2014 model has received some updates including an upgraded battery pack, which increases the horsepower by 8 for a total of 138-hp. Exterior changes are minimal but the CR-Z now features a rear spoiler. No word on the fuel efficiency or pricing of the 2014 model. The 2013 gets 36/39 mpg and starts at $19,975.
Accord hybrid – The Accord hybrid will arrive to dealerships this October, offering a projected fuel efficiency of 47 mpg combined. No word yet on pricing.
Sonata hybrid – 2014 model redesigns are confirmed, but details have not yet been released. We expect changes that increase the car’s fuel efficiency, currently at 35/40. The 2013 Sonata hybrid starts at $25,650.
M hybrid – A redesign is planned for 2014 to incorporate a more sleek, refined exterior appearance. We don’t expect any changes to the 2014 model, however, which gets 32 highway mpg and starts at $48,700.
QX60 hybrid – The QX60 V6 hybrid CUV will hit dealerships this summer. Infinity has not released the fuel efficiency rating but already claims it will be “best-in-class.” Speculation suggests we’ll see a 26 mpg combined fuel rating and anticipated starting price around $45,000.
Several hybrid models are currently in testing, including the C-X16, C-X75, and XJ, but none have been slated for production.
Jeep is not offering any hybrid vehicles at this time.
Optima hybrid – The Optima was updated for 2013, so no changes for 2014. This hybrid gets 37-38 combined mpg depending on trim and starts at $25,900.
Land Rover Hybrids
Range Rover Diesel-hybrid – Not only will European drivers get to experience a 3.0-liter diesel-hybrid Range Rover, American drivers will, too. The Range Rover will arrive at overseas dealerships sometime after 2013, with American sales to follow.
ES 300h hybrid – The ES sedan, released last year, offers 200 total horsepower and still achieves a 40/39 mpg. The 300h starts at $39,250 and the 2014 model will see modest changes, including an updated front grille.
CT 200h hybrid – This sporty hatchback comes in two trims and both get 43/40 mpg. The CT200h starts at $32,050 while the CT F Sport starts at $33,050. The CT is only one of two Lexus models that has not yet been fully upgraded, so a 2014 refresh may be in the works.
RX 450h hybrid – This hybrid CUV packs a total of 295 horsepower and received a cosmetic update for its 2013 model. It achieves 32/28 and starts at $46,310. Anticipate a redesigned 2015 model (including potential engine efficiency upgrade) to arrive at dealerships in early 2014.
GS 450h hybrid – No word on changes to this sedan, which was redesigned last year. The 2013-2014 model gets 29/34 mpg and starts at $59,450.
LS 600h L hybrid – A V8 engine and electric motor provides 438 total horsepower to this luxury hybrid. With no 2014 model changes, the sedan gets 19/23 mpg and comes with a heftier price tag of $119,910.
NX 300h hybrid – Lexus officials have indicated that a Lexus compact hybrid SUV will be forthcoming, but have yet to announce whether the vehicle will be sold in the U.S.
MKZ hybrid – Lincoln’s only hybrid remains the MKZ, which was redesigned for 2013. The 2013 model now gets 45/45 mpg and remains at the same price point of $35,925. Lincoln expects the MKZ to be a successful competitor in the hybrid market and therefore has recently announced a 50% increase in production of the Lincoln hybrid 2014 model, which shares the same price as its non-hybrid twin.
While a Mazda3 hybrid has been announced, it will only be sold in the Japanese market. Mazda has no U.S. hybrid models for sale.
E400 hybrid – The latest Mercedes hybrid is now at dealerships. A V6, 3.5-L engine combined with electric motor achieves 329 total horsepower. Fuel efficiency is rated at 24/30 mpg and pricing starts at $56,700.
S400 hybrid – The Mercedes 2014 S-series sedan is receiving an update, including a redesigned exterior, technological upgrades, and enhanced safety features. No word on fuel efficiency or pricing, but the 2013 S400 hybrid started at $92,350 and got 19/25 mpg.
Cayenne S hybrid – The Cayenne SUV is due for a mid-cycle facelift in 2014, which includes technical updates, styling changes, and a plug-in hybrid trim. Expect the redesigned vehicle to debut as a 2015 model. The 2013-2014 model gets 22 highway mpg and sells for $66,800.
Panamera – The Panamera S hybrid has been discontinued for 2014 and replaced by a Panamera plug-in hybrid model.
Scion officials indicated that a hybrid powertrain is a possibility for the FR-S mid-cycle update.
XV Crosstrek – Subaru is bringing its first hybrid to U.S. dealerships this fall: the 2014 XV Crosstrek. The hybrid SUV is rumored to get 10% better fuel economy than its gasoline-only model. No indication on pricing just yet.
Avalon hybrid – The Avalon hydrid line will be fully redesigned to incorporate a trendier, more sleek body. Technological upgrades are also incorporated. No indication if the powertrain will be upgraded, but the three 2013 hybrid trims get 40/39/40 and start at $35,555.
Camry hybrid – The 2014 Camry may be up for some mid-cycle updates such as color choices or minor performance/equipment changes as Toyota prepares for a 2015 model upgrade. The 2013 model gets 25/35 mpg and starts at $22,235.
Highlander hybrid – The Highlander SUV has been fully updated for 2014 although no prices or fuel efficiency ratings are available yet. In line with the Avalon, the Highlander’s exterior has lost some of its boxiness in favor of a sleeker look. Interior changes include alternative fabrics and increased interior legroom for the third row. No indication of pricing or fuel efficiency. The 2013 Highlander achieved 20/25 mpg and started at $29,020.
Prius – Details of the 2014—or possibly 2015—Prius model are sketchy, and conflicting at best, with some sources indicating little external change and others indicating a massive exterior redesign. More importantly, expect a 2015 hybrid powertrain upgrade that may reach up to 60 mpg combined. The 2013 model gets 51/48 and starts at $24,200.
Prius c – There is no definitive evidence that the city-oriented Prius c hatchback, which gets a slightly better 53/46 fuel efficiency rating than the Prius, will receive a facelift for 2014. The 2013 model starts at $19,080.
Prius v – Like the Prius, the largest Prius model could follow suit and get a 2015 facelift. The v models hatchback gets 44/40 mpg and starts at $26,650.
Jetta hybrid – The Jetta hybrid was released last year and therefore may get minor changes, if any. The 2013 sedan gets 42/48 mpg and starts at $24,995.
Toureg hybrid –The redesigned 2014 model is now available, but contains no anticipated powertrain changes. The 2014 model gets 24/28 mpg and packs 380 horsepower. It starts at $64,170.
Although Volvo offers a plug-in hybrid model, no future hybrids are planned.
With diesel prices near $4 per gallon, and natural gas (CNG) at around half of that price, the savings from switching to CNG on such a large scale become quite large.
The Wall Street Journal reports that BNSF has at least 6,900 existing locomotives that run on diesel now, which means that it could be quite expensive to convert them all. However, BNSF is working with General Electric and Caterpillar to make an engine that can run on both diesel and natural gas.
Aside from the fuel savings, another big incentive for BNSF to switch to natural gas is to be able to meet new federal air pollution standards that will hit around 2015.
One of the biggest challenges of converting diesel 18 wheelers over to natural gas is the cost of building the infrastructure to have fueling stations everywhere they would be needed. With trains, it is much, much easier to solve this problem, because trains always go on a predetermined route. So you could build fewer refueling stations and still keep everything going.
However you feel about fracking, it looks like natural gas can make a significant difference in both CO2 emissions and air pollution in general.
While the demand for U.S. diesel vehicles cannot match that of the overseas market, development and sales of diesel cars, CUVs, and SUVs are taking off in the States as a fuel efficient alternative to hybrid and electric vehicles, although lagging them when it comes to air quality.
The three biggest reasons why diesel automobile sales lag in the US seem to be related to the memory of terrible diesels of the 1970s, the higher cost of diesel fuel (and the engine itself) compared to gasoline, and the clean diesel requirements that make for a much lower number of diesel engines that can pass our strict air quality rules here.
We’ve looked at current and potential diesel models from all the major car manufacturers to track where this promising industry is headed.
New additions to the 2014 lineup include the Audi A8L, Audi Q5, Audi A6, Audi A7, BMW 328d, BMW 535d, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mercedes E250 BlueTEC, Mercedes ML250 BlueTEC, and Volkswagen Beetle TDI convertible.
You can read our previous coverage of diesel cars and trucks available in the US in 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009. (Wow, we’ve been writing about this for a long time!)
Summer is near and car dealerships will soon offer incentives for purchasing 2013 vehicle models in order to make room for 2014 models. If you are in the market for a new sedan and fuel efficiency is important to you, we have identified the most fuel-efficient 2013 models.
Hybrid vehicles are really a separate category, we have excluded them from our list and only included gasoline powered sedans. Below is data on the 8 most fuel-efficient regular gasoline sedans for 2013, with fuel efficiency ratings directly from the EPA fuel economy rankings. The list includes economy cars, mid-ranged priced cars, and luxury brand cars, so there are choices for all budgets and preferences. All sedans listed have an automatic transmission to achieve EPA-rated fuel economy figures, unless noted.
The SUV is often used as a symbol of anti-environmental excess. Remember the Hummer? Even so, large numbers of people still love to own them and drive them. To pretend that they don’t is pointless. So we’ve compiled this list of SUVs that get the highest gas mileage, which is significantly higher than some of the ones with the worst gas mileage, and also better than some sedans.
The Sport Utility Vehicle is a popular choice for those who enjoy the comfort of a car but the convenience of a truck. SUVs handle off-road adventures better than their smaller counterparts, can hold up to eight passengers while towing, and have extra interior space and cargo room, making the SUV truly versatile. The SUV also straddles the line for fuel efficiency; they generally get better gas mileage than trucks and rival gas mileage on many cars. We have compiled a list of the most fuel-efficient 2013 SUV models based on EPA fuel economy ratings.
Yesterday’s gas-guzzling pickup trucks have come a long way. Advanced engineering has brought hybrid engines and fuel-efficient technology to some of the most rugged trucks, allowing drivers to save money at the pump and to be somewhat more environmentally conscious without sacrificing the hauling capacity of a pickup.
According to EPA fuel economy data, the most fuel-efficient 2013 pickup trucks with the best gas mileage numbers are manufactured by six companies: Toyota, Chevy, GMC, Nissan, Dodge, and Ford. Among these six manufacturers, dozens of models and trims are offered with an MPG combined rating of 17 or better, with the best model being the Toyota Tacoma 2WD manual transmission that gets a combined MPG of 23.
We looked at 50 pickup trucks to provide you with this comprehensive list of the six most fuel-efficient 2013 trucks and notable others. Our list includes regular gasoline 4-to-8-cylinder engines and hybrids. All models listed come standard with an automatic transmission unless otherwise noted.
Considering the purchase of a new energy efficient washing machine this year? Read this post first.
According to the ENERGY STAR website, the average American family washes about 300 loads of laundry each year. In order for a clothes washer to be ENERGY STAR qualified, it must use 20% less energy and 35% less water than regular washers. ENERGY STAR washers also have a larger tub capacity for fewer washings.
Both top- and front-load washers can be ENERGY STAR certified. ENERGY STAR top-load models do not fill water to the top of the tub like standard top-load washers do. They clean by flipping or spinning clothes through a stream of water and have sensors to monitor water levels and temperature. Rinsing is also unlike traditional top-load washers; ENERGY STAR top-load washers rinse clothes with repeated high-pressure sprays rather than soaking. Front-loaders, on the other hand, simulate the motion of putting clothes in water by dipping them over and over via spinning. They only fill partially with water and spin faster to reduce drying time and energy consumption by better extracting moisture.
We have reviewed major brands and identified 8 of their most efficient washers for sale in 2013, based on ENERGY STAR ratings. These comparisons focus on two equations: Modified Energy Factor (MEF) and Water Factor (WF). Energy efficient washers have a high MEF and water efficient units have a low WF value. These numbers are often compared to Federal Standards as a benchmark. The Federal Standard MEF is 1.26 and the Federal Standard WF is 9.5. All 8 of our picks exceed the Federal Standards by varying degrees.
Thinking about buying a new 2013 diesel car and looking at the options? We’re here to help.
Diesel offerings continue to gain ground. New for 2013 are the BMW 33d Sports Wagon, Chevy Cruze Diesel sedan, Mercedes GL250 BlueTEC SUV, Porsche Cayenne Diesel SUV, and the Volkswagen Beetle TDI. With tougher diesel emissions standards being implemented in Europe in 2014, we may see even more diesel engines crossing over the Atlantic to U.S. shores in the near future.
With a Cd figure of 0.23, the CLA sets a new benchmark among not only Mercedes models, but also all series-production vehicles. The frontal surface area, Cd x A – which is crucial to aerodynamic resistance – also leads the field at 5.49 sq. ft.
The good air flow characteristics, which have a major impact on fuel consumption under everyday driving conditions, are the result of extensive aerodynamic optimization. These include a low A-pillar shoulder with adapted A-pillar geometry, aerodynamically optimized exterior mirrors, low-drag wheel trims and serrated wheel spoilers on the front and rear wheel arches.
Extensive underbody cladding, additional cladding at the center of the rear axle, an aerodynamically optimized muffler and a diffuser improve the flow of air beneath the underbody.
The Mercedes CLA is a new sedan that takes design cues from the CLS coupe.
Although the car is billed as the most aerodynamic production car on the market, it is not marketed as a high mileage vehicle, and it will not be available as a hybrid or a high mileage clean diesel, at least initially.
Audi introduced not one but four clean diesel models at the L.A. Auto Show on November 29th. The 2014 A8, A7, A6 and Q5 will all be offered in a TDI clean diesel model.
Each TDI vehicle will feature a 3.0 TDI V6 engine that delivers as much as 30 percent better fuel economy and 30 percent lower carbon dioxide emissions than gasoline engines. Audi says the new TDI engine generates 240 horsepower with 406 lb.-ft. of torque.
“Owners of Audi TDI engines have helped save over 4 million gallons of gasoline, or the equivalent of more than 240,000 barrels of foreign oil, since the introduction of Audi TDI to the U.S. in 2009,” said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. “And, TDI technology delivers better fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance.”
Audi A8 TDI
The A8 TDI, Audi’s flagship full-size luxury sedan, will offer a manufacturer-estimated fuel efficiency of 24 MPG city and 36 MPG highway. For 2014, the A8’s engine options are dramatically expanded, moving from two variants (4.2 liter V8 and W12) to five: a 3.0T V6; a 4.0T V8; a new S8 4.0T V8; a 6.0 liter W12; and the new 3.0 TDI V6. The TDI engine powers the A8 from 0 to 60 in 6.4 seconds. It will arrive at dealerships in the spring of 2013.
Audi A7 TDI
Not too many details were revealed about the Audi A7 TDI clean diesel 4-door coupe, other than it is “more fuel-efficient than ever” and that it will arrive in showrooms in the fall of 2013.
Audi A6 TDI
Not much was revealed about the A6 TDI sedan either, except that it will also be available in the fall of 2013.
Audi Q5 TDI
The new TDI clean diesel engine is the fourth engine option to be offered for the Q5, adding to the current four-cylinder 2.0T, the 3.0T V6, and the Q5 hybrid. The Q5 TDI will arrive in showrooms in the fall of 2013.
Audi Q7 TDI
The currently available 2013 Audi Q7 TDI SUV also sports the same new clean diesel engine and has increased its fuel efficiency to 19 MPG city and 28 MPG highway.
We’ve waited and waited for a Japanese car manufacturer to bring a clean diesel engine to the USA market, Mazda’s long-awaited clean diesel is finally coming. They announced Thursday at the L.A. Auto Show that the all-new 2014 Mazda6 will be offered with a SKYACTIVE-D 2.2-liter diesel engine. The diesel-equipped version will arrive at dealerships in the second half of 2013. There are no EPA fuel efficiency numbers available yet, but Mazda says they are targeted to be “class leading.” Mazda will be the first Asian manufacturer to offer the U.S. public a modern-technology clean-diesel engine. The 2014 Mazda6 also will also feature Mazda’s new capacitor-based brake energy regeneration system called i-ELOOP.
Wondering what’s in store for 2013 hybrid vehicles? There are plenty in the works for 2013 and beyond. New vehicles being introduced include the Acura ILX Hybrid, Audi Q5 Hybrid, BMW ActiveHybrid 3, Chevy Malibu Eco, Ford C-MAX Hybrid, Lexus ES 300h, Mercedes E400 Hybrid, Toyota Prius C and Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid. Note that we only cover traditional hybrids in this article. If you’re looking for plug-in hybrids, check out our 2013 Electric Cars in the USA article.
Acura Hybrid Cars
ILX Hybrid – (39 city /38 highway MPG) The 2013 ILX is Acura’s first hybrid car. The sedan shares the same engine as the Honda Civic Hybrid, but it doesn’t achieve the same gas mileage. Pricing starts at $29,000 and it is already in showrooms.
Q5 Hybrid – Audi introduces its first hybrid to the U.S. this fall with the Q5 crossover SUV. EPA fuel economy ratings are not yet available but it should be somewhere around 34 MPG combined. Pricing is expected to be around $50,000.
A6 Hybrid – The hybrid version of the A6 sedan is also supposed to arrive this fall. It is expected to return about 35 MPG combined and have a price north of $55,000.
The number of electric car offerings continue to grow at a rapid pace. The options are getting more diverse and the price is coming down a bit. Just 7 EVs were available in 2011, but there will be 16 by the end of 2012 and an additional 19 models are scheduled for 2013 and beyond. New models launching this summer and fall include the Audi R8 E-Tron, Fiat 500 EV, Ford C-MAX Energi, Honda Fit EV, Smart ED, Tesla Model S, Toyota Prius Plug-in, and the Toyota RAV4 EV.
A few notes on the cars and stats listed here:
* This list includes all vehicles that have a significant all-electric range, both pure EVs and plug-in hybrids. If you’re looking for non-plug-in hybrids, look for our upcoming 2013 Hybrid Cars in the USA article.
* The electric range is an extremely variable number, and often the manufacturer quotes the range under “ideal” conditions (low speed, flat roads, moderate temperatures, no heat or A/C on). Be aware that the range can change significantly in not-so-ideal conditions. The Nissan Leaf website has a good explanation on range (click the colored squares for different conditions). The Leaf’s range goes from 138 to 62 depending on conditions!
* The battery charging times are also extremely variable, depending on how high the voltage is, and whether they are quoting time from 0-100% charge, or 20-80% charge, or something in between. Wherever possible, the times we quote are from 0-100% from a dedicated 240-volt outlet.
This fledgling California company has announced they will be offering three inexpensive, Chinese-built EVs. All have a short range and top speed of only 25 MPH. But the price is nice: $10,000 for a 2-seater, $17,000 for a van and $18,000 for a truck. Their first dealership is opening in Irvine, CA, in August.
Audi Electric Vehicles
A3 E-Tron – Audi brought 17 test models of its plug-in electric car to U.S. cities this summer, but it looks like it won’t be hitting showrooms until 2014. It is expected to have 134 horsepower, a top speed of 89 MPH and a 92-mile range.
R8 E-Tron – The plug-in version of Audi’s R8 high-end sports car is expected to go on sale this fall. It has set electric car speed records and is reported to go from 0-60 in 4.6 seconds, with a 124 MPH top speed and a 134-mile range.