May 8, 2013

The Green Car Revolution…Is Here.

Relephant bonus:

10 Innovative Things about Tesla.

Tesla is dark green, but not accessible unless, like me, you’re making millions a year. Toyota has a range of greenish options for various uses, and they’re affordable. Or, go the used car route: horrible in terms of gas consumption, AC…but no new vehicle being created and shipped.

Toyota’s current lineup. Something for everyone. Click image for more info:
toyota green cars car hybrid electric solar 2013

Summer-07-BikeThe Green(er) Car Revolution is (just about) Here.

I ride a bike.

Come snow, sleet or sun, I’m out there. And I love it. And yes…I compost, and I’m vegan, and I own a rescue hound dog, and I unplug my fixtures in my solar-powered eco-furnitured home when they’re not in use. I leave the heat off just about all the way in the winter, and wear vintage or organic clothes. I even catch all the cold water in my tub when I’m waiting for hot water and use that to water the plants. I eat farm-to-table and I would rather clumsily carry a dozen grocery items than accept a plastic bag.

Yes, I’ve driven at least one ex-gf nutty with my love for our mother earth.

But I’m far from alone. The numbers of vegans and bicycle riders and solar-home owners and green(er) car drivers are doubling, year over year. Farmers markets have increased 10fold over the last decade.

So it probably comes as little surprise that I haven’t owned a car for five years. I’ve been waiting for an affordable electric truck or sporty coupe that I can solar-power when parked at home.

For many of us just can’t, in good conscience, use gas when it hails from the war-strewn Middle East and it pollutes…and riding a bike is healthier, good for my entrepreneur’s busy mind and cheaper besides. But whether for a road trip (let’s go to hot springs, honey; or let’s go climbing; or let’s get a ton of groceries or something for the house from ReSource, the salvage yard; or a trip to a benefit or farm-to-table restaurant in Denver, 30 minutes away…a car would be helpful. I’m likely running for City Council this year, and know that it will in some cases be essential. And once I have a family, which is a few years off still (no rush, ma!), I’ll definitely want the option–if it’s truly green. I’ve debated about getting an old used truck or coupe–it’s obviously green to buy something that already exists, though their mpg and old school AC is in most cases far from green. As a gen-u-ine environmentalist, I’ve been confused about my options.

So when I was invited by Toyota

(see all my photos under @waylonlewis #ecodriven on Instagram, which were also shared via our twitter and facebook)

(I’ve also checked out green options from Ford, Tesla, Nissan…) to review their new lineup of “green” cars, I was intrigued. None of the cars, with the exception of the electric, were possibly zero emissions. But all were far greener than conventional options, and practical and fun and elegant. And what impressed me most was that all are ready to go—ready to enjoy—for normal American families. You don’t have to be a treehugger to drive these. You don’t have to be a Pious Prius-lover to drive the Highlander SUV or classic Camry—and both now come in “green.” I’m a little behind on my info at this point, but I’m at the point where I could use a car, and I’m looking at my options.

And I’ll review my decision-making journey here on elephant, my test drives, and then my ownership of said elephantmobile on this site (1.5 million readers a month, #1 on twitter for #green nationally, twice) as well as our Walk the Talk Show video series, which is rapidly taking over the wellness/green/yoga space on good ol’YouTube (subscribe here, free, for our latest offerings). Contact me if you’ve got ideas–I’ve looked at Ford (nice, greenish), Tesla (pricey, supergreen), Toyota (good range of options, greenish to supergreen), Nissan.


Here’s Toyota’s green lineup. I was most impressed by the range of options, both prize and utility-wise–whether for family, college student, adventurer, commuting…but truth is deep-green-wise I was only interested in the electric SUV, though I personally loved the small, sporty Prius C look-wise, and the plug-in is as green as any car you can drive in the world, right now.

There’s the four cars that make up the Prius Family: big, small, super green plugin, classic:

There’s the hybrid Camry…

…And Highlander…

And there’s the electric Rav4, my personal favorite eco-wise…I can’t seem to find good accessible videos on this that are fun to watch, but…this one covers the basics. ZZZzzzz:

An old video, but features elephriend Graham Hill (my interview with him here, more here)

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