Ford Fusion Hybrid – the "greenest" Canadian Car 2013
The Automobile Journalist Association of Canada in collaboration with the Green Living Show, created the annual 'Canadian Green Car Award—Presented by AJAC and Green Living'...
The Automobile Journalist Association of Canada in collaboration with the Green Living Show, created the annual 'Canadian Green Car Award—Presented by AJAC and Green Living'. The strong connection of AJAC with the Canadian car-buying public, as well as Green Living's strong connection with environmentally conscious consumers, will work together to achieve the goals common to both organizations—namely, providing relevant, trustworthy and criteria-driven advice to Canadians. The finalists were selected by expert members of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada from a wide variety of environmentally advanced vehicles nominated by their manufacturers.
Ford Fusion Hybrid – the "greenest" Canadian Car 2013
One of these experts, The Toronto Star columnist, and a Green Car Award Committee member Peter Gorrie has agreed to answer a few DorogaRoad questions.
DorogaRoad: Automobile Journalist Association of Canada named the Ford Fusion Hybrid 2013 as the Green Car of the year. Why do you think this particular car became a winner?
Peter Gorrie: There are two reasons: one - it is technologically very good, it's very fuel efficient, and the other one is that it has a lot of appeal in the market place. The competition combined two elements: it has to be environmentally beneficial, and that means efficient in some way, you know, burn as little fuel as possible, but it also has to have a potential to sell in large numbers, because the idea is that it's no good having a perfect environmental car if hardly any are on the road, because they won't have any impact then. You have to have a lot of them on the road, before they have any impact on pollution, climate change or any of the things that we care about.
DorogaRoad: What particular feature in this car do you like most?
Peter Gorrie: There's a couple: one is obviously it's fuel efficiency, it doesn't match the Transport Canada figures, because nobody matches them, they're completely unrealistic, but it is very fuel efficient, it drives well, it looks good, and its prices are reasonable compare to a lot of other environmental options.
DorogaRoad: Please describe how a selective process works?
Peter Gorrie: First of all we asked the manufacturers to nominate the vehicles that they thought would qualify. We gave them a list of criteria that they had to meet, very basic ones, for example a car that was purely internal combustion had to achieve better than seven litres of fuel burned per 100 km on Transport Canada measurement; hybrid had to do better than 6 litres per 100 km.; or they had to be battery powered, or plug-in hybrids, or fuel cell, or some other technology like that. We gave them a basic hurdle they had to be able to cross, and then they nominated vehicles, and then we, a panel of judges, scored them according to quite a long list of criteria, and from those we picked five finalists, and then the top ranked finalist became the winner.
DorogaRoad: Was most of this process done in an office environment or on the road?
Peter Gorrie: It's a combination of information supplied by the manufacturers, road testing were possible, we did this in quite quickly this year, so not all of the judges had driven all of the vehicles, but most of them had driven a lot of vehicles, so it was a good sample. We had about 25 judges all together.
DorogaRoad: When you compare hybrids or pure electric cars with gasoline powered cars like Mazda3, for instance, do you compare apples to apples or apples to oranges?
Peter Gorrie: In some sense it's apples to oranges. There are five or six different technologies that were eligible; there's pure internal combustion, there's conventional hybrids, there's plug-in hybrids, battery electric, if there would be fuel cell or clean diesel, they would have been eligible, and so they're all much different technologies and we made the scoring as much as possible reflect their fuel consumption and market acceptability. So for example a battery electric car would score extremely well for fossil fuel consumption, but it would lose in market acceptability, because of limits of range and also price. So it's kind of a balance.
DorogaRoad: There was a big buzz when Chevy Volt was introduced in 2010. A couple of years later there was, I believe, a recall related to Volts' batteries. How is Volt doing now? It was on participants' list this time as well.
Peter Gorrie: Yes, it was. The Volt is doing quite well. It's not selling in the number that they anticipated at the beginning, but it's picking up; and the issue with the fire was completely overblown as far as I'm concerned, because it happened two and a half weeks after the accident. Basically, the electric systems in the car after the accident had not been turned off; it hasn't been shut down as you normally expect it would. So, I think it got blown out of all proportions.
DorogaRoad: There is a theory that car manufacturers have had the ability a while ago to build powerful, fast and reliable electric cars, they just didn't do it and don't do it because of the strong opposition lobby from oil and gas companies. What are your comments on this statement?
Peter Gorrie: I disagree with that. There was some controversy about how GM handled its electric car back in 1990s and early 2000s, but I've done quite a bit of studying about batteries, and I've come to understand how difficult it is to make them have the range, and refuelling speed, and the cost that is necessary to make them acceptable to the mass market. It's incredibly difficult, and there are battery makers and car companies that are trying very hard to do that, but the chemistry and the inner working of batteries are very complex and it's just a very hard thing to do. I think if they could do it they would. They are getting better. The amount of energy stored in batteries is much higher than just a few years ago, but they are still nowhere near of where they need to be to be acceptable to mass market.
DorogaRoad: If you alone were the only member of AJAC jury, what car would be awarded – the same Ford Fusion Hybrid or another one?
Peter Gorrie: I prefer not to be quoted on that, because we don't want to single out each judge. We made a collective decision, and I don't want to start talking about my individual preference.
DorogaRoad: And the last question: What car are you driving today?
Peter Gorrie: I drive a 2003 Dodge Caravan, which I bought second hand.
DorogaRoad: Thank you Peter.
2013 Canadian Green Car
Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel,
Ford C-MAX Energi
Ford Fusion Hybrid
Ford Edge EcoBoost,
Ford Focus Electric,
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
Mercedes-Benz B 250 Turbo,
Smart Fortwo Electric Drive.
Volkswagen Jetta Turbocharged Hybrid
The five finalists are
- Ford C-MAX Energi
- Ford Fusion Hybrid
- Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
- Volkswagen Jetta Turbocharged Hybrid