By on January 27, 2016

2015 Smart Fortwo ED

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has released its Greenest and Meanest cars for 2016 — and it’s bookended by vehicles from Daimler.

That, Europe wants to open up ECU code, Bosch says “You wouldn’t understand, so why bother?” and GayWheels takes aim at a possibly tasteless German Opel advert about, erm, rear-ending … after the break!


Opel loses, gays lose, everyone loses

GayWheels has a story today about the above ad from automaker Opel in Germany. The rough translation: “Nothing against gays, but…” followed by “Stop, before it bangs/hits/collides.”

The ad is for Opel’s crash avoidance system — you know, so you don’t rear-end someone inadvertently — with an illustration of a couple of men standing very close together. Oh boy.

But leave it to GayWheels to get a joke in:

If this were a Truvada ad or a condom ad, maybe we’d get it. As it is, though, we’re as vexed as the daddy and the twink, who seem ready to punch their curly-haired interloper in the face.


Europe: Are you running hopped-up emissions code or are you just really unhappy to see me?

Europe is about to crack down on emissions cheaters in a big way.

In a press release sent out Wednesday, the European Commission “is proposing a major overhaul of the so-called EU type approval framework.” This overhaul the regulations should result in more independent vehicle testing, more robust (read: real world) emissions testing, and the removal of a conflict of interest created due to automakers directly paying technical services providers for vehicle testing.

However, toward the very bottom of the release is an interesting nugget:

Under the draft Regulation, the manufacturer will have to provide access to the car’s software protocols.

What that means exactly is unclear. It could be as big as having to submit ECU code for approval to as little as knowing the inputs and outputs of a particular ECU.

I hope it’s the former. And I’m sure tuners do as well.


“What do authorities want with this? It’s so complex that it is not feasible.”

That’s what Bosch chief executive Volkmar Denner said during the company’s full-year earnings call Wednesday in regards to its ECU and associated software used by Volkswagen to cheat diesel emissions tests, reports Reuters.

The company, which is under investigation by German authorities, also launched an internal probe at the beginning of the scandal, Bosch revealed today.

“The day after the allegation became public, I ordered an internal investigation,” said Denner, who later followed up with, “2016 will not be an easy year.”

Mercedes-Benz G-Class (BR 463) 2015

Introducing the Green and Mean Class of ’16

According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Mercedes builds both the Greenest and Meanest vehicles money can buy.

Topping the list are the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive and Chevrolet Spark EV with a tied score of 63. At the opposite end, the Mercedes-Benz G65 AMG scored 20. (The G63 AMG is third last with a score of 22. Three other Daimler vehicles find themselves in the Bottom 12 for a total of five.)

Conspicuously missing from this year’s lists: Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche diesels. ACEEE says, “Modern clean diesels have repeatedly placed well in ACEEE’s annual rankings, only a few places away from the ‘Greenest’ list. However, following the EPA announcement that Volkswagen has cheated federal emissions standards since 2009 with the use of defeat devices, suspended its Green Scores for all affected VW, Audi, and Porsche diesel models.”

ACEEE explains its scoring methodology on its website should you want to know how the organization comes up with its numbers.

Here’s are the lists in their entirety.

Greenest (Top 12):

  1. Mercedes-Benz Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Convertible / Coupe — 63
  2. Chevrolet Spark EV — 63
  3. 3. Fiat 500E — 62
  4. Toyota Prius Eco — 61
  5. Volkswagen E-Golf — 61
  6. Nissan Leaf S / Leaf SV — 61
  7. Kia Soul Electric — 59
  8. Toyota Prius C — 59
  9. Toyota Prius — 58
  10. Ford Focus Electric — 57
  11. Chevrolet Volt – 56
  12. Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid – 56

Greener Choices (Top in Each Class):

  1. Toyota Prius Eco — 61
  2. Toyota Prius C — 59
  3. Mercedes-Benz Smart ForTwo Convertible / Coupe — 55
  4. Chevrolet Spark — 54
  5. Toyota Prius V — 54
  6. Honda Fit — 53
  7. Ford C-Max Hybrid — 51
  8. Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid — 48
  9. Chevrolet Trax — 47
  10. Ford Transit Connect Van —42
  11. Land Rover Range Rover Evoque — 42
  12. Chevrolet Colorado / GMC Canyon — 40

Meanest (Bottom 12):

  1. Mercedes-Benz G65 AMG — 20
  2. Chevrolet/GMC G2500 Express / Savana (Passenger) (MDPV) — 22
  3. Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG — 22
  4. Bentley Mulsanne — 23
  5. Mercedes-Benz G550 — 23
  6. Toyota Sequoia FFV — 25
  7. Ford Transit T150 Wagon FFV — 25
  8. Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG — 25
  9. Lexus LX 570 — 26
  10. Bentley Continental GT Convertible / Flying Spur — 26
  11. Toyota Tundra — 26
  12. Mercedes-Benz GL550 4Matic — 26
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31 Comments on “TTAC News Round-up: Green and Mean for ’16, EU Wants to Inspect ECUs, and Opel is Anti-rear-ending (In The Worst Way)...”

  • avatar

    How green does ACEEE expect passenger vans to be? When are these vans not full of people or stuff? A guy two blocks over has a Transit 150 Wagon, but he has 7 kids. WTF else is he gonna drive?

    • 0 avatar

      And the Transit is flex fuel. Isn’t that automatically supposed to make it green? That’s what ethanol proponents keep telling us.

    • 0 avatar

      How can EV’s be ” Green” when they need to be recharged by a power supply dependent on fossil fuels?

      • 0 avatar

        It depends on where you live and if you consider nuclear power to be green. But yes, most electricity in the US is powered by coal or natural gas.

      • 0 avatar

        Where exactly do you live that you haven’t seen solar and wind steadily replacing first coal, then other fossil fuels?

        • 0 avatar

          Renewables + Hydro is up to 13% now. That’s a decent start. It’s only going to accelerate too.

        • 0 avatar

          According to USEIA,non-hydro renewables went from 2% of US power production in 2005 to almost 7% in 2014.

          Natural gas went from 19% to 28%, which was a bigger increase. So, most of the shift away from coal is going to natural gas, rather than renewables. At least so far.

          Still, for the sake of the planet and human health, the shift away from coal is good news. We can only hope it accelerates.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        It’s also easier and cheaper to control pollution at one power plant than in 500,000 vehicles.

        • 0 avatar

          True,but you still require a lot of power and pollution to charge those vehicles

          • 0 avatar

            An EV is completely agnostic regarding the source of its electricity. It can be powered off non-renewable or renewable energy sources (which in my area, it would be), which is more than can be said for ICE vehicles.

          • 0 avatar

            In reality, fossil fuels re making up 50-80% of that energy

          • 0 avatar

            >> True,but you still require a lot of power and pollution to charge those vehicles

            No you don’t. I’m charging from about 50% solar with the rest a mix of natural gas and nuclear. Much cleaner than an exhaust pipe blasting carcinogens into your face in traffic.

            Power consumption isn’t much more than a stove or some room air conditioners. My home charger tops me up in less than three hours, so I’m probably pulling less than an air conditioner.

          • 0 avatar

            No, not at all. You are talking about a singular vehicle, not all the EV’s on the road. Collectively they require a lot of green house emissions to move them. Your combination would be unusual, anyway a lot would quibble about the nuclear.

          • 0 avatar

            Which is still better than 100% with an ICE!

          • 0 avatar

            Not by much though.

      • 0 avatar

        Because EV’s recover braking energy, making them more efficient than ICE cars – but not as efficient as the best hybrids (because the larger battery adds weight).

        The grid will get greener, and batteries will get lighter.

        Unless we just decide to give up.

        • 0 avatar

          EV’s do recover braking energy, but that does not automatically make them better than ICE’s. There is no reason why an ICE powered vehicle cannot also be engineered to recover braking energy, using a flywheel system. It is already being done although on a limited basis.

      • 0 avatar

        Oh, man, did you piss on some people’s sacred cows. Electric cars, in their current form, are not a great deal better for Mother Earth than a regular economy car. This is because the batteries are pretty environmentally rough both to produce and to dispose of, and also because the cars don’t last as long which means that you have to build a whole other car to replace it, and that’s also not real great for the planet. If you really want to reduce your carbon footprint, you need to buy a used economy car that’s produced as close as possible to where you live (remember, 1 cargo ship emits roughly the same amount of pollutants each year as 50 million cars). But that’s not sexy. So, Tesla.

    • 0 avatar

      Two Priuses, obviously.

  • avatar

    Many of the “bottom 12” could also be labeled “wish list.”

    • 0 avatar

      Certainly not my wish list. I could think of plenty more fun vehicles if I wanted to spend so much and consume so much fuel. I haven’t been in a Gelandewagen in a while, but the last one I was in was horrible as an on-road vehicle.

      The “light” trucks in the bottom just need to get themselves into the “medium duty” category and be exempted.

      • 0 avatar

        They did that back in the ’70s. The old GVWR limit for a “half-ton”/Class 1 truck (F-100, C10, D-100) was 6000 lbs. Anything above that was exempt, so Ford created the F-150 as a Class “2a” (over 6000 lbs. GVWR but below 8500) and Dodge and Chevy/GMC followed with the D-150 and Big 10/Heavy Half, respectively. Later the GVWR exemption limit was raised to 8500; now anything above that is considered a “3/4 ton” (Class 2b).

  • avatar

    Did I miss something? One of my comments says “Awaiting moderation.” Are all the comments getting moderated now, or did I do something special to trigger that?

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