warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Top Four Green Cars Of 2013

Kristina Jackson |
July 28, 2013 | 11:55 a.m. PDT


If you want a car that gives you plenty of great features without destroying the environment, consider these top 4 green vehicles for 2013.


#1: Nissan Leaf


(creative commons)
(creative commons)

The 2013 Nissan Leaf promises one of the best fuel efficiency ratings of 2013. Instead of relying on a hybrid engine, the Leaf gets power from its 80-kilowatt electric motor and a 24 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

The EPA estimates that it gets equal to 129 miles per gallon in the city and 102 miles per gallon on the highway.

Regenerative braking gives the 2013 Leaf better performance in the city than the highway. When you brake, power gets sent to the battery for future use. That extends the electric vehicle's range to about 75 miles on a full charge.

Perhaps most important is that Nissan has kept the Leaf affordable. The base model has a price under $30,000, putting it within reach of the average buyer.

#2: Tesla Model S

(creative commons)
(creative commons)

The 2013 Tesla Model S beats the Leaf in almost every class, and it can drive further and faster than the Leaf. Unfortunately, the base model has a price tag close to $70,000, which makes it impossible for most people to buy. 

Although it places second because of its price tag, the 2013 Tesla Model S shows what electric cars can really do when pushed to the limit. It has a 265-mile range that makes it useful for out-of-town drives as well as daily commutes. It also gets equal to 88 mpg in the city and 90 on the highway.

The coolest thing about the Tesla Model S, though, is that it can run with any gas-powered car. By upgrading the base battery to an 85 kWh Performance model, the car can go from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds.

#3: Ford Focus Electric

(creative commons)
(creative commons)

The 2013 Ford Focus Electric has a 107-kilowatt motor and a 23 kWh battery that makes it one of the year's most useful green cars. It gets equal to 110 mpg in the city and 99 mpg on the highway. Unfortunately, it doesn't have the Tesla's range. It can only travel about 76 miles between charges. That's enough for a daily drive, but it won't get you far when commuting between cities.

The Focus Electric has excellent safety features and ratings that make it great for families. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the car its highest score in several crash tests. Those scores should help you get a good deal when you buy Safeco car insurance.

#4: Chevrolet Volt

(creative commons)
(creative commons)

The 2013 Chevrolet Volt isn't an all-electric car, but it doesn't switch over to a gas-powered engine until you've driven about 38 miles on a full charge. That could easily make it just as good for the environment as all-electric vehicles. The only difference is that you get an extra 344 miles once your batteries run low.

Those first 38 miles get equal to 98 mpg. After that, the Volt gets an estimated 37 mpg combined. That's a lot better than most gas-powered engines, so you don't have to feel guilty on longer drives.


Which green car catches your fancy this year? Would you consider switching to it, or does something hold you back?


You can reach Kristina Jackson here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.