Well, the best-laid plans don’t stand a chance against New England weather. Last week we announced that RPM News Weekly would be traveling to New England Motor Press headquarters in Middleboro, Massachusetts for a special report on the all-new 2017 Kia Niro. That did not happen. A fierce snowstorm got the upper hand, forcing NEMPA to postpone the event to a future date to be determined. We’ll keep you posted.
This week we’ll turn our attention to a handful of eco-friendly cars that with a little bit of Irish luck may help turn the tide of public opinion more favorably in their direction.
St. Patrick’s day may have come and gone by the time you see this news report, but to celebrate the occasion, RPM News Weekly pays tribute this week to some of the Green Cars we’re following with interest:
What could be more exciting that America’s most likable new minivan, the Chrysler Pacifica, getting a hybrid powertrain? A rhetorical question, maybe. But RPM News Weekly is keenly interested in seeing whether Pacifica finds it’s pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow as the automaker’s long overdue first hybrid model.
Fuel economy checks in at a respectable 84 miles per gallon equivalent when driving in all-electric mode. To figure out what that means in real dollars and cents based on what electricity costs in your locale, use our handy eQ factor which you can find on Urbandictionary.com
Don’t get shamrock’d into thinking that the cost is the same as getting 84 miles per gallon of gasoline.
Even more surprising for the Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle or PHEV, is that it rates a 32 mpg rating when using gasoline thanks to its hybrid formula and a wee bit of savings courtesy of the engine start-stop technology. When was the last time you got that kind of mileage in your minivan. Likely never.
We can’t talk Green Car with a brogue without mentioning at least one of the several fuel cell vehicles making their way onto the scene. Everyone may be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day but these cars have been forced to show up around Los Angeles way ahead of any tours of South Boston. Why? The hydrogen infrastructure – You know all about that, right?
No hydrogen fueling stations means no reason to sell hydrogen fuel cell cars, and the only place where it’s even remotely considered easy to refuel a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is in California.
That will all change once the new order is in place. Wait for it.
Meanwhile, some very earnest people haven’t been waiting and the folks at Honda are some of them.
Ever since the automaker introduced it’s first production fuel cell vehicle, the FCX, in 2002, they’ve been on the march. The all-new Clarity Fuel Cell is actually the 2nd generation of the model, though few knew much about the first gen.
Cast aside fears that Honda has gone all futuristic with the Clarity. Aside from the whines and whooshes one might expect because of the fuel cell technology, the Clarity is more Accord than Buck Rogers. A single fill-up will get you about 366 miles down the road and the only trail you’ll leave is some residual water exiting the system. Sounds magical, but no, there are no leprechauns waving shillelaghs.
FYI, two other versions of the Clarity, a Plug-in Hybrid and an Electric vehicle will make their worldwide debut at the 2017 New York International Auto Show.
We’ll be brief in our third nod to the Green Cars among us. For that we go to the track for a look at Formula-e racing.
A refreshing move in high performance racing to all-electric power, Formula e provides the speed and the challenges associated with Formula car racing but without all of the roar and the rumble…or the fumes.
There’s lots of whining, though. And it’s not just coming from the electric motors spinning at 20,000 rpms. In a strange twist, we’re hearing some resistance to the sport because of the lack of noise.
Here at RPM, we welcome the Formula-e experience as a race without a booming sound track. We’ll take it for what it is and move forward into a Greener future.
(Formula-e footage courtesy Jaguar Media)