Remember Mitsubishi? If you’ve been one of the lucky people who have sighted the rarer-than-hens-teeth i-MiEV electric vehicle out in the wild, go ahead and pat yourself on the back. Mitsubishi has sold about 116 of the electric shavers, usually to places like Berkeley and San Francisco—two places that usually pay attention to such things as annual environmental rankings. Well, they’ll sit up and notice this: for the first time in eight years, the the Honda Civic Natural Gas has been dethroned as the greenest car in America by the Mitsubishi i.
What happened? Did the Civic Natural Gas come standard with a bacon smoker in the trunk? Does it run on leaded fuel now? No, in fact: this is the first year that the i-MiEV has been included in the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s annual “Greenest Vehicles of 2012″ list—deliveries of the i-MiEV began last year for model year 2012. The i-MiEV received a ranking of 58, the highest score since the ACEEE started keeping track in 1998. And even despite the Civic Natural Gas’ improved fuel efficiency of 28/39 miles per gallon city and highway, it fell to 55 points in second place, tied with the Nissan Leaf.
The ACEEE ranks electric cars in equivalent miles per kilowatt-hour. But the ranking isn’t just about fuel efficiency; sure, the Greenest list pays attention to the important stuff like emissions and fuel consumption, but manufacturing practices, natural gas extraction, and how we’re getting our electricity for our clean cars.
The full list is almost entirely comprised of Honda and Toyota products—not even the Chevrolet Volt made it into the list. Read the full list here, and argue amongst yourselves on whether it should trump the Three Diamonds.