Hybrids vs. Gen 1 Electric Vehicles: Make Your Next Vehicle Purchase a “Good” One

Posted on 18. Apr, 2011 by in Products

As the anticipation continues to build for the resurgence of the electric vehicle (EV) industry, many questions remain unanswered. Will the electric grid be able to handle the added power output? Is the production and use of EVs truly better for the environment than the current fuel efficient vehicles?

Hoping to demystify the buying market for consumers, GoodGuide recently published ratings for the best and worst vehicles of 2010/2011. Using a unique system, accounting for the health, environmental and social impacts of mass-market products, GoodGuide is going beyond the “granola” to present ratings that highlight the net “good” or “bad” associated with a product.

“We consider the social component of our rating critical to providing consumers with a full picture of the ‘goodness’ of any product,” stated Bill Pease, Chief Scientist at GoodGuide, “No one wants to buy products that are made by workers that are treated unfairly, or from a company that has a bad record of product recalls.”

Topping the charts was the Electric Smart Car (94/79 MPG, $44,837 MSRP). Receiving a 9.1 in environment and a 6.0 in societal impact (7.5 overall score), the new Smart Fortwo Electric Vehicle is proof that EVs are indeed “good” and should be ushered in to free us from our petroleum dependence. Unfortunately, there is a catch. The Smart Fortwo is currently in limited production and will not be released to the mass market until late 2012.

The Nissan Leaf (106/92 MPG, $32,780 MSRP) and Toyota Prius Hybrid (51/48 MPG, $23,050 MSRP) were not far behind receiving overall scores of 6.8 and 6.9, respectively. Choosing between the Leaf and Prius is a bit of a toss-up; however, it should be noted that the Prius may be more convenient given the comparable environmental impact — at least until infrastructure for public EV charging is established. Also, high production volumes have allowed the Prius to succeed in the market with a very affordable price tag; making it nearly $10,000 cheaper than the Leaf.

Where is the Chevy Volt (35/40 MPG, $40,280 MSRP) in the mix? At first glance, the Volt seems to dance between “fair” and “bad” with a meager 5.1 overall score. Many small, medium, and large vehicles scored higher than the Chevy Volt including, but not limited to, the Toyota Yaris, Camry Hybrid, Ford Focus, Ranger, Mustang and Land Rover LR2. Make no mistake, the Volt is a full-efficient vehicle. Its high environmental score of 7.1 was heavily weighed down by the fact that Chevy ranked very low in the society category (2.6 out of 10) due to conflicts and/or concerns related to the company’s ethical practices.

With an increase in public concern for the environment, new wave rating systems are giving the people what they want — product transparency. With the help of GoodGuide’s unique system of considering human, environmental and health costs associated with vehicles, you can rest assured that your next purchase is truly a “good” decision.


Article by Opportunity Green Insights contributor, Christopher Bay.


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One Response to “Hybrids vs. Gen 1 Electric Vehicles: Make Your Next Vehicle Purchase a “Good” One”

  1. car parts

    17. Aug, 2011

    Cars today have drastically improved in fuel efficiency. Every car that runs on petrol is matched with cars that runs with electric motors, in some ways both technologies are fused together to make a hybrid vehicle. The Japanese have made it on top of electric cars and hybrid technology in some ways European manufacturers are making high performance cars that would match the speed of ordinary sports cars.

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