Audi’s latest entry into the growing battery-electric vehicle market, the Q4 e-tron, was named 2022 Green Car of the Year, beating out an assortment of competitors, including segment sales leader Tesla.
Tesla did manage to nab at least one trophy at the annual awards ceremony hosted by Green Car Journal, its Model S Plaid named the year’s “Performance Green Car.” Other winners included Chevrolet, Hyundai and two startups: Lucid and BrightDrop.
“This is a well-earned win for Audi and its exceptional Q4 e-tron and Q4 e-tron Sportback,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and GreenCarJournal.com. “Audi has shown a significant commitment to electrification with a growing number of plug-in hybrid and fully electric models. The all-new Q4 e-tron is especially important because it offers drivers a premium electric crossover SUV producing no emissions, at an approachable price.”
2022 Green Car of the Year
Audi actually is launching two versions of its compact battery-electric vehicle, the Q4 e-tron and Q4 e-tron Sportback. Roughly the size of the gas-powered Q5 crossover, buyers will have the choice of a single-motor drivetrain making 201 horsepower, or a twin-motor all-wheel-drive package boosting that to 295 hp and cutting 0-60 times from 7.6 seconds to around 6.2 seconds.
The Q4 e-tron features a 77 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery package delivering a range of up to 250 miles per charge. The system supports charging at about 125 kilowatts and will go from 10% to an 80% charge in about 30 minutes, Audi claims.
The German automaker introduced one of the first luxury BEVs with the original Audi e-tron. It now sells the e-tron GT, as well. The latter model shares the basic drivetrain used in the Porsche Taycan.
The Green Car of the Year awards were first presented in 2005. Throughout the years, the publication has honored a variety of different types of environmentally friendly powertrain technologies, including conventional and plug-in hybrids, as well as hydrogen fuel-cell and even diesel.
The 2022 awards are notable in that not only were all six categories were won by battery-electric vehicles for the first time, it was the first time all of the finalists were all battery electrics as well. Here are the other winners:
2022 Luxury Green Car of the Year: Lucid Air
The first offering from California-based startup Lucid Motors is a $162,000 luxury sedan taking aim at the likes of the Tesla Model S.
“An exceptional new entry from an all-new automaker, the Lucid Air is luxurious and fast, offering an industry-leading 520 mile electric range,” Green Car editors noted.
The initial Lucid Air Dream Range and Performance models also offer as much as 1,133 horsepower. They will be followed by less expensive models in 2022 — albeit with less power and range.
2022 Urban Green Car of the Year: Chevrolet Bolt EUV
This second version of the Chevy Bolt adopts a larger SUV body style aimed at giving the battery-electric vehicle broader appeal.
“Featuring a compact footprint and welcome functionality, the electric Bolt EUV crossover offers city-friendly maneuverability and a 247 mile range,” Green Car Journal noted.
Like the original Bolt, all EUV models were recalled this summer due to potential battery defects that could cause a fire. The packs in all those vehicles covered by the recall are being replaced and the replacement batteries are now being used on the assembly line.
2022 Commercial Green Car of the Year: BrightDrop EV600
After a slow takeoff, there’s been surging demand for all-electric vehicles on the commercial side of the car market, especially among delivery services like Amazon Prime, FedEx and UPS. Fleets have discovered that initially higher purchase prices are quickly offset by substantially lower operating costs.
“A new business from GM, BrightDrop offers its all-new EV600 electric delivery van for diverse zero-emission delivery needs,” said Green Car editors.
The EV600 is the first of several different delivery vans General Motors’ new subsidiary plans to bring to market.
2022 Performance Green Car of the Year: Tesla Model S Plaid
Early battery-electric vehicles tended to deliver marginal performance, automakers focusing on maximizing their marginal range. As lithium-ion batteries have improved, and new designed have provided room to fit in larger packs, automakers like Tesla have put more emphasis on performance, as well as range.
“With 1,020 horsepower at the ready, Tesla’s Model S Plaid delivers 1.9 second 0-60 mph acceleration and a top speed of 167 mph,” noted the judges.
While the Model S Plaid can only deliver those numbers under ideal conditions, it still poses a direct challenge to today’s fastest gas-powered muscle and supercars.
2022 Green SUV of the Year: Hyundai Ioniq 5
Hyundai was one of the first mainstream automakers to offer a long-range BEV, the all-electric version of its Kona crossover. But the Ioniq 5 becomes its first all-electric model to adopt a unique, skateboard-like platform.
Dubbed the E-GMP, it will be shared with other planned BEVs, including the Ioniq 6 sedan due out next year and the Ioniq 7, a Palisade-sized SUV coming for 2024.
“The new Hyundai Ioniq 5 crossover SUV features a handsome design, spacious interior, and a targeted electric range of up to 300 miles,” said Green Car Journal.
Two additional awards, for Green Truck and Green Family Car of the Year, will be announced on Nov. 12.
Winners were chosen by a jury including celebrity auto fanatic Jay Leno, Paula Glover, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, Alan Lloyd, president emeritus of the International Council on Clean Transportation, Journal editors and others.