The auto market is getting greener every year for U.S. consumers. In 2015, debuts of the Hyundai Sonata PHEV and BMW X5 xDrive40e joined the new Volt and Nissan Leaf in making plug-in vehicle choices extensive for the first time in the history of the industry. This year, consumers will get another 10 electric cars (at least) to make the decision even tougher.
But which ones are the greenest that will hit the market in 2016? Generally, the most environmentally friendly cars have high electric range and trend toward the smallest vehicle sizes. However, consumers will get a midsize sedan and a hybrid minivan with plugs this year, too. Here are the five greenest cars going on sale in the U.S. in 2016. The cleaner the power grid in your area, the better they are for your carbon footprint.
1. Kia Optima PHEV
While the Hyundai Sonata PHEV continues receiving a warm reception by U.S. consumers, Kia will debut a sister model in the Optima plug-in hybrid that debuted at the Chicago Auto Show in February. This stylish midsize sedan will be capable of 27 miles in electric mode and shoot for the impressive 99 miles per gallon equivalent the Sonata plug-in landed in EPA testing. The Optima PHEV will reach dealerships in late 2016.
2. Chevy Bolt EV
With 200 miles of pure electric range, the Chevy Bolt EV aims to be one of the greenest arrivals of the year, but its main attraction will be its affordability. A no-extra, whatever-color-GM-gives-you model will cost $37,750 before you knock off any incentives available. This car should be a nail in the coffin of EV range anxiety. Too bad General Motors isn’t helping with the fast-charging infrastructure like so many other automakers are.
3. Hyundai Ioniq EV
We may not know how the Hyundai Ioniq Electric’s grille looks, but we have the green specs ahead of the model’s Geneva Motor Show debut. The EV features a 28 kWh battery that is capable of 155 miles on the European cycle. Since its size is comparable to the Nissan Leaf SV 30 kWh model, we can guess the Ioniq Electric will at least be able to exceed 100 miles of range. Combined with its smallish footprint, this car will be one of the greenest available.
4. Ford Focus Electric
After all these years, the Ford Focus Electric remains one of the top 10 (tied for seventh) cars for fuel economy at 105 miles per gallon equivalent. Its range of 76 miles, on the other hand, has been surpassed by most EV competition on the market. The second-gen Focus Electric, due in late 2016, will change the balance of power when it arrives with over 100 miles of pure electric range. Fast-charging capabilities will make it a better option for the second car in households.
5. Chrysler Pacifica
The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is the wild card on this list as the first plug-in minivan America has ever seen (or imagined seeing). Featuring an impressive 30 miles of electric range and 80 miles per gallon equivalent (automaker estimates), the Pacifica will make kid hauling a very green experience for soccer moms. Following the debut of the gasoline version in spring 2016, the plug-in model will hit the market later in the year.