ACEEE Lists 2016’s Greenest Cars

JAN 28 2016 BY MARK KANE 24

smart ed cabrio

smart ed cabrio

The electric smart fortwo and the Chevrolet Spark EV got the highest score in greenest vehicles list for 2016, assembled by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) for the 19th season.

EVs were on top in previous years and every year they grab more spots.

It seems the recipe for winning is to launch a small electric model like the smart ED, Spark EV or Fiat 500e.

This year’s edition was easier for most models as the Greenest List banned all cars related to DieselGate.

The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive tops the Greenest List for the third year in a row with an unprecedented Green Score of 63. Toyota’s Prius line performs exceedingly well once again, with the new Prius Eco nabbing the 4th spot, while the Prius C and original Prius claim spots #8 and #9. For the first time ever, the Greenest list is completely populated by plug-in and hybrid vehicles; not a single vehicle with only an internal combustion engine appears. This is partly due to the disappearance from the American market of a few of the longstanding entries on the Greenest List, including the Honda Civic Natural Gas. However, the conventional Smart ForTwo and Chevrolet Spark hover just below the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid.”

Chevrolet Spark EV

Chevrolet Spark EV

“The newest additions to the list are the Volkswagen eGolf and the Kia’s Soul electric vehicle, which claim the #5 and #7 spots respectively. This year marks the first time a Kia vehicle has earned a top spot since 2009. The improved 2016 Chevrolet Volt also nabs a spot this year (#11) thanks to significant increases in fuel economy and its new streamlined vehicle design. Once again this year, a diverse array of manufacturers are represented among the top 12 vehicles, including two American manufacturers.

Modern clean diesels have repeatedly placed well in ACEEE’s annual rankings, only a few places away from the “Greenest” list. However, following the EPA announcement that Volkswagen has cheated federal emissions standards since 2009 with the use of defeat devices, suspended its Green Scores for all affected VW, Audi, and Porsche diesel models.”

ACEEE lead vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan said:

“The 2016 scores are in, and plug-in electric vehicles are outpacing all other vehicle offerings in terms of environmental friendliness. Fortunately, the electricity sector is slated to become cleaner over the life of model year 2016 vehicles, thanks to the Clean Power Plan, and that has bumped up electric vehicles’ green scores this year. Nevertheless, it’s important to acknowledge that how green your electric vehicle truly is depends on the electricity it uses to charge.”


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24 Comments on "ACEEE Lists 2016’s Greenest Cars"

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What am I missing?? Why isn’t the i3 at the very top or even mentioned?

Yes, this is very strange. They read about the i3 Rex and forgot i3 BEV? Or maybe combined the two? Should be still very high… Strange.

And both gas powered only Priuses beat the 106 MPGe Volt?

Prius doesn’t bean ANYTHING EV.
Did some drunk 14 year old make this?

When you search their website, they have the i3 with a 65 score and the i3 REX with a 56 score. Why there on not on the list is a mystery to me.

Well a score of 65 should be on top. I would trust Consumers Reports real world testing more than this website. And CR had the i3 easily at the top of their latest list.

Especially since the eGolf, Kia soul Ev and the Leaf made the list, so it can’t be greenest new cars. And even if they just took the i3 Rex, it should still be better than at least half of them.

how do they get gassers ahead of ev’s?

Flawed methodology.

That’s exactly what I wondered, since by their own admission they rank air pollution even higher than GHG emissions – no way a gasser can compete with an EV when it comes to the emissions where the people are (ie at the tailpipe!)

ACEEE should be embarrassed. That list is incomprehensible (EVs with ‘MPG’?), illogical, and incomplete (BMW i3?)

i dont really get nothing of that list. seems overall confusing.

This “ACEEE List (2016)” denotes the greenest city cars; not necessary greenest for highway, or mixed driving patterns. Examining the “ACEEE scores” above it is clear they place a high value on “City eMPG” and much lower value on other efficiency and emission factors.

The fact that “ACEEE” does NOT provide transparency into what factors are used in calculating greenness scores, make its list questionable!

Why wasn’t 2016 iMiEV with a score of 63 and 2016 LEAF with a score of 60 not included in the Top-10 list?

(Bogus) Reason by Tesla is not included:

“ACEEE’s ratings are based on a lifecycle analysis of emissions, which means that we include emissions from vehicle and battery manufacturing in calculating the Green Score. Vehicle and battery weights and battery composition are the basis for our estimates of manufacturing impacts. The Tesla Model S 65kW model (which scores in the 90th percentile but doesn’t appear on the Greenest list) weighs 5,000 pounds (test weight) and is heavier than most other electric vehicles on the market. To a lesser extent, its relatively large battery (more than 1,000 lbs.) also keeps the score down…”

Yup, battery size is a definite negative. It needs to be a third of the vehicle weight to get decent range. For big vehicles that gets to be a lot of embodied CO2. The answer is smaller, more aerodynamic vehicles.

Sure the answer if you make the metric small aerodyanmic vehicles must mean small aerodynamic vehicles.

If it is lower ghg as they claim, weight has nothing to do with it. They need to take the amount of ghg to build it minus the value of net recycling, and energy to move it, divided by the lifetime miles. Pretty simple but not done at all by these people. I3 takes very little to build and use so it is correct that the i3 bev is top of the list (which it is/isn’t, I’m confused) but that i3-rex version probably will be much lower than a prius c. Common people. Its not that hard. These people are shams. Their ratings make no sense and aren’t transparent.

Regardless of drive type, a bigger vehicle of a give type produces more CO2 in its manufacturer, and its operation. If you want to switch to EV to justify driving an SUV go ahead. But if your goal is reducing CO2, drive a small, efficient vehicle.

If the Tesla 3 gets 200+ mile range on less than a 60 kWh pack, they will deserve all the adoration people have been giving them. We will have to wait and see.

I do believe I have lost a bit of respect for the ACEEE over this ridiculous and meaningless table.

April 27, 2015
Shruti Vaidyanathan
The 2015 BMW i3 has earned the highest-ever score of 65 in’s annual environmental ratings. The i3 missed out on our February 6th release, and a spot on the Greenest list, due to its belated appearance in agency databases. It now appears in the vehicle ratings, along with two other BMW models: the i8 and the i3 REX (range extender). The i8 earns a score of 44 and the range extended i3 (a plug-in hybrid version of the all-electric i3, which has an additional 87 miles of range due to gasoline operation) has a Green Score of 56. The 2015 i3 is by far the most fuel-efficient vehicle in the market, with city and highway fuel economies of 5.8 miles per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and 4.7 miles per kWh, respectively.

– See more at:

List is bizarre. While I don’t know how much weight manufacturing would have, Top 3 cars are gas cars modified to EV. Since they share much of their parts with far more popular gas car (relatively speaking), manufacturing footprint could be smaller. That could remove i3 from the list.

Then you go down the list to find Prius better than eGolf/FocusE, and say “wtf? total nonsense!”

Better is my list of price*performance: 0-60 time * price. SparkEV (7.2*15K=108) comes on top above SmartED (11.5*15K=173), i3 (6.5*30K=192) and Leaf (10*25K=250), even above Tesla P90D (2.8*100K=280) and Corvette (2.9*75K=218).

Include SparkEV’s 119 MPGe into the equation, and SparkEV does even better in MPGe / (price * performance). SparkEV is simply the best in the world when measured “objectively” 😉

My FFE has almost 30,000 miles on it and it has AVERAGED 3.83 miles per kilowatt-hour in mostly city driving. The FFE is far from the most energy efficient BEV but my real world experience sure beats the pants off the numbers in this report. I would like to see a report based on real world experience.

3.83 miles per kilowatt equates to about 126 MPGe. When I use my SUV to go the same places as I use my FFE for I only average about 14 MPG. For short trips around town much of energy in the gasoline in my SUV is used just heating up the engine and stopped at stop lights.