list of most efficient vehicles had to be divided in two: one list for plug-in models that stand head and shoulders above all other vehicles, and a separate list created when users choose “no” in a dropdown menu to exclude electric cars and plug-in hybrids." />

2013 DOE-EPA Fuel Economy Guide Includes 14 Plug-in Models

By · December 07, 2012

Scion iQ EV

The government's fuel economy guide is apparently agnostic when it comes to production volume. Its Top 10 "fuel sipper" list includes the Scion iQ EV (shown here), but not the Nissan LEAF.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) this week released its 2013 Fuel Economy Guide. For the first time, the government’s list of most efficient vehicles had to be divided in two: one list for plug-in models that stand head and shoulders above all other vehicles, and a separate list created when users choose “no” in a dropdown menu to exclude electric cars and plug-in hybrids.

As the end of 2012 approaches, we should start seeing year-end evaluations of how electric cars fared this year. But regardless of how sales numbers are evaluated, it’s undeniable that consumer choice in plug-in models is growing. There are 14 plug-in models now listed on fueleconomy.gov, the EPA-DOE website.

“This year’s guide gives consumers a broad range of information that they can use to select their next fuel efficient vehicle, whether they want to consider an electric vehicle or one that uses a more conventional fuel,” reads the official statement from the EPA-DOE. “Electric and plug-in hybrid electric models are the most fuel-efficient and lowest-emission vehicles available today and are becoming more common.”

The only no-plug vehicle to be listed as the most efficient model per segment is the Prius V wagon, because the “midsize wagon” class is the only one that lacks a plug-in model. The Prius V’s 42 mpg rating looks out of place among the mostly triple-digit ratings in the list. However, labeling the Honda Fit EV as a “small station wagon” required some degree of creativity. It’s also a stretch to see the Scion iQ EV and the Transit Connect in the list. In fact, the Scion iQ EV is indicated as the number one "fuel sipper," while the Nissan LEAF did not make the overall Top 10 list. Toyota has backed off plans to sell the iQ beyond about 100 units globally.

A Long List, Albeit Uneven

Nonetheless, the relatively long list of models reveals that 2012 was a year for product introductions, even if many of the plug-in were offered in low numbers and in limited markets. Unless there are surprises, the roadmap for 2013 includes fewer new plug-in products, with the Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid; BMW i3; Chevrolet Spark, and Fiat 500e the only new models on my radar. (What models am I missing?)

So, the challenge for growth in the EV market will be for automakers to ramp up production of the models listed below. And for consumers to gain a better understanding of the benefits of electric cars and plug-in hybrids, from sources such as the annual fuel economy ratings from DOE-EPA.

In order from highest miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe):

  • Scion iQ EV - 121 MPGe
  • Honda Fit EV - 118 MPGe
  • Mitsubishi i-MiEV - 112 MPGe
  • Smart ForTwo Electric Drive - 107 MPGe
  • Ford Focus Electric - 105 MPGe
  • Ford C-Max Energi - 100 MPGe
  • Nissan LEAF - 99 MPGe
  • Chevrolet Volt - 98 MPGe
  • Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid - 95 MPGe
  • Tesla Model S - 89 MPGe
  • Toyota RAV4 EV - 76 MPGe
  • Coda - 73 MPGe
  • Azure Dynamics Transit Connect Electric - 62 MPGe
  • Fisker Karma - 54 MPGe

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
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  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
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  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
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