Southern California environment news and trends

118 MPGe: Honda Fit EV earns highest EPA fuel efficiency rating ever

2010 Honda Fit Sport

Automaker Honda has announced that the 2013 Honda Fit EV subcompact has earned a 118 MPGe rating (a combined adjusted miles-per-gallon equivalency) from the Environmental Protection agency, making it the most fuel-efficient vehicle soon to be available. The Fit also gets an estimated 82 miles on a single charge for city and highway driving combined.

The Fit bested the electric Ford Focus, which received a rating of 105 MPGe and 76 miles per charge, and the Nissan Leaf, which came in at 99 MPGe and 73 miles per charge.

As reported by CNET, breaking down exactly how the EPA came up with these combined adjusted equivalency ratings is somewhat tricky, but the proof is in the wallet:

"MPG equivalent is a bit of an odd number, a fuel economy equivalent calculation between gasoline and electricity. Because of the very different nature of filling a gas tank versus charging a battery, car owners may not immediately grasp the difference. When it comes to running costs, however, owners will see a huge delta, not only due to the better efficiency of the electric cars but also due to electricity rates that are typically lower than equivalent per gallon gas prices. The EPA's annual fuel cost for the Fit EV is just $500."


‘Star Wars’ characters sell Toyota’s plug-in Prius in Japan

Things seem to be looking up for electric and hybrid vehicles in America. The much-discussed Chevy Volt just recorded its second-best sales month yet, even besting the plug-in Toyota Prius and Nissan’s all-electric Leaf in U.S. numbers during May of this year.

Still, it’s the Prius that rules the overall roost, with the car becoming the third best-selling vehicle in the world over the first quarter of 2012, as reported by Bloomberg News.

Looking to boost sales of the new Prius plug-in hybrid in Japan, Toyota has recruited a couple of ringers for their latest TV commercial: "Star Wars" droids R2-D2 and C-3PO.

A translation of the new spot (which can be found on Green Car Reports) finds the droids getting a charge from the same plug that juices up the Prius while the announcer delivers the facts, like the car’s total EPA range being 540 miles, with overall efficiency of 50 mpg, and as much as 95 MPGe over the first 11 miles.


Nissan turns over a new Leaf with eco-friendly car carrier

Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

The Nissan Leaf electric is seen charging during the press day of the LA Auto Show in Los Angeles, California.

With the rollout of their car the Leaf, Japanese automaker Nissan has charged confidently into the burgeoning new world of electric vehicles (it’s an initiative the company first explored with the Altra back in 1997). Now they’ve furthered their commitment to eco-responsibility by employing energy-efficient car carriers to bring the Leaf to America.

“As Nissan went to the effort to launch the Nissan Leaf at that time, in terms of the logistical flow, we thought there would be a way for us to contribute using state-of-the-art technologies,” said Tomohiko Uchiyama, president of Nitto Kaiun Corporation, the company that produces the boat.

The Nichioh Maru is a solar-powered car carrier with a special low-friction hull for more efficient movement through the water. About the size of a football field and a half, the carrier can haul up to 1380 cars at a time. Featuring LED lighting and an electronically controlled diesel engine, Nissan claims that the Nichioh Maru reduces carbon emissions by about 18 percent, saving 1400 tons of fuel a year.