Photos by?Doug Berger / NWAPA
Portland, Ore. ? There is a revolution on the U.S. highways. It started in 1999 when Honda introduced the first hybrid electric car, the Honda Insight. A year later, Toyota started selling the Prius and expanded the hybrids to other models and by the end of 2014 they have sold more than seven million hybrids worldwide. The hybrids are being challenged by clean diesels, plug-in hybrids, electrics and other fuel efficient entries.
Diesel ? 39
Electric — 19
Plug-In Hybrid ? 14
Compress Natural Gas ? 2
Fuel Cell ? 3
Hybrid Electric ? 48
In July members of the Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA) held their third annual ?Drive Revolution? program and sampled 16 of these revolutionary vehicles on the streets of Portland, Oregon. After driving each of the vehicles, the panel of 19 Northwest U.S. and Canadian journalists picked their favorites in three categories: Electric Vehicles, Hybrids, Green Luxury Vehicles and an overall winner which received the title of Northwest Green Vehicle of the Year.
The category winners at the green car drive included Volkswagen?s e-Golf as the top electric car, the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid as the best hybrid and the Mercedes-Benz S550 as the top Plug-In Hybrid.
The 2015 NWAPA Drive Revolution event took place in conjunction with the opening of the new Electric Avenue quick-charging stations in front of the PGE headquarters in downtown Portland.
Electric Avenue features six charging stations, including four universal quick chargers that can recharge a typical EV in 30 minutes. The facility replaces the original Electric Avenue, which was located less than a mile away on the Portland State University campus in 2011. The original Electric Avenue was a two-year research experiment in EV charging habits, but the facility quickly became an essential part of Portland?s transportation infrastructure. All the charging stations saw regular daily use, and drivers often lined up to use the single quick-charger on site.
?We?re pleased that our EV driving customers and visitors have a place to charge up as they visit downtown Portland.? said Jim Piro, PGE president and CEO. ?Oregonians are committed to sustainable practices, and they are excited by the possibilities offered by electric transportation.?
The NWAPA Drive Revolution
After driving all the entries and talking to manufacturer?s representatives, here are my brief impressions about the participating vehicles. Most of vehicles are 2015 models, with the exception of the Nissan Leaf which is a 2014, but is unchanged for 2015 and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Toyota Mirai which are 2016 models. The EPA fuel economy ratings are for city/highway/combined miles per gallon or miles per gallon equivalent for electric vehicles and some hybrids. The pricing is for the cars as tested plus many of the cars qualify for the federal $7,500 tax credit and in some areas local incentives.
Go to?Drive Revolution Winners Announced ? Part 2