As fully electric car (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) options grow in the U.S., GreenerCars' provides its annual ranking of the greenest cars. The rankings are put together by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a nonprofit organization. The goal is to rank the most environmentally friendly new vehicles available on our shores.
Of course, BEVs and PHEVs proved "greener" than traditional hybrids and standard gas cars. However, the ranking doesn't just look at a cars' efficiency to determine its rank. It also considers a vehicle's weight and battery pack size when assessing its environmental impact. For that reason, smaller cars with less range earned better positions than some that are more efficient.
The Hyundai Ioniq Electric was the overall winner on the 2021 list of the "greenest" cars, followed by the Mini Cooper SE and Toyota Prius Prime, which also has a gas engine. In the top 10, every car is a BEV or PHEV, however, the list has a total of 12 vehicles. The bottom two vehicles are traditional hybrids.
The Tesla Model 3 is the most efficient EV on the market today, and it has plenty of range and lots of room for passengers and cargo. However, due to the organization's methodology, it places in the ninth position overall. The list is as follows:
2021 Greenest Cars
- Hyundai Ioniq Electric
- Mini Cooper SE Hardtop 2 Door
- Toyota Prius Prime
- BMW i3s
- Nissan Leaf
- Honda Clarity
- Hyundai Kona Electric
- Kia Soul Electric
- Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus
- Toyota Rav4 Prime AWD
- Toyota Corolla Hybrid
- Honda Insight
While the Tesla Model 3, and other long-range all-electric vehicles may not be quite as good for the environment as smaller EVs, it appeals more to many buyers. Many EV shoppers are looking for longer-range vehicles that are as practical as gas cars due to their roomy accommodations, dynamic performance, and fast charging.