Lists, news roundups, and general reflections are the usual order of business as a calendar year comes to a close.
We’ve published more than 1,600 green-car news stories so far during 2017, and it’s proven to be quite a year.
In the car market at large, the most notable trend was a continued move toward utility vehicles of all sizes as passenger sedans and hatchbacks lagged in popularity.
In the U.S., that’s largely due to continued cheap gasoline prices and the higher fuel efficiency of all types of new vehicles due to corporate average fuel economy rules that have risen steadily since 2012.
The Trump Administration, riddled with climate-science deniers, is now looking at whether to freeze or roll back those rules.
But the trend toward crossovers and SUVs—or vehicles that look like them, at least—is a global phenomenon that extends far beyond North America.
What was our most important story of 2017?
— Green Car Reports (@GreenCarReports) December 20, 2017
We decided to survey our Twitter followers about what they felt to be the most important green-car news story of the year.
It took awhile to sift through a year’s news to winnow down to just four choices.
Those four choices are a blend of stories about specific vehicles and those covering broader global trends.
One of the car candidates is the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the first long-range battery-electric car in the world offered at close to a mass-market price: 238 miles for a starting price of $37,500.
The other is the Tesla Model 3, of which the first few dozen (hand-built) examples were delivered to selected buyers in a big handover ceremony in July.
That car is now struggling through “production hell,” in the words of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, but it’s the vehicle that offers the possibility of Tesla becoming a mass-market carmaker.
Our other two choices for most important story of the year, however, are broader trend pieces.
The first is the emergence during 2017 of China as the driving force and likely the dominant global player in battery-electric vehicles.
It’s already the world’s largest car market, at more than 30 million units a year.
China’s revelation in September that it was assessing when to ban sales of new vehicles with combustion engines of any kind generated our final candidate: the idea of future bans on sales of cars with engines.
The four choices are something of an uncomfortable blend, perhaps. But in reality, that’s how news arrives, isn’t it?
As always, please note that our Twitter polls are far from scientifically valid, due to small sample size and self-selection by those who choose to participate.