The 2022 CleanTechnica Car of the Year Is …

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It’s been one month since we announced the finalists for our 2022 CleanTechnica Car of the Year award, and it’s time to announce the winner!

I’m going to go through all of the finalists once more, though, starting with the model with the lowest percentage of the votes and going to the one with the highest percentage of the votes. You can also watch our writer discussion below about the finalists if you haven’t done that yet.

The Rivian R1T is a fabulous truck. I just drove one the other day and the whole thing has been fine-tuned to the smallest detail. As the owner of that truck and others I’ve talked to have said, it’s perhaps the most over-engineered product on the planet. The interior is amazingly luxe and cool — much more so than I expected. The drive quality is fun. The gear tunnel is unmatched. The infotainment system seems perfectly planned. However, the truck is expensive, and voters agreed that due to the truck’s high price, it won’t have the biggest effect on the world. Other truck-makers are electrifying more mass-market trucks already, and every automaker in the world must know by now that the future is electric. The Rivian R1T ended up getting 11.5% of the vote.

We did the Kia EV6 and Hyundai IONIQ 5 a disservice by putting them both in the finals. That split the vote between two very similar models. In fact, person after person who I talk to about these EVs can’t decide which one they want more. The two electric models are clearly different, but also clearly similar in some key ways. The EV6 lost out to the IONIQ 5 in this survey (19.3% versus 12.2% of votes), but I expect both to sell well and lead to many happy EV owners. (Incidentally, at the past weekend’s Electrify Expo in Austin, Texas, there were a bunch of Kia EV6s available to test drive and no Hyundai IONIQ 5s. According to my main source at the event, that’s because Hyundai didn’t have any inventory to use for test drives.)

Combined, the Kia EV6 and Hyundai IONIQ 5 would have had 31.5% of the vote. Providing a little relief to my conscience, that wouldn’t have been good enough to beat this year’s award winner. And that just goes to show how strong this year’s winner is in a 5-vehicle competition!

The next best “loser” — and actually the runner up — in this year’s CleanTechnica Car of the Year survey was the Chevy Bolt EUV (22.9% of the vote). Some writers made a strong case for the car, including new Bolt EUV owner Jennifer Sensiba! The Bolt EUV was a great potential choice since it offers most of what everyone wants or needs at a very low price point. It brings EVs to more of society! Or, at least, puts them within grasp. The problem with the Bolt EUV is that its sales are still pretty meager despite being on the market for a while, and there’s no indication it will ever become a massive seller. Granted, it’s still the best selling EV in the United States that doesn’t have a Tesla badge on its hood, but there are other EVs that could definitely pass it up in time. That includes …

… the 2022 CleanTechnica Car of the Year winner, the Ford F-150 Lightning!* The F-150 Lightning got 34.2% of the vote, well above the #2 Bolt EUV.

In my many interviews with EV industry leaders, with business leaders on the edge of the EV industry, and with normal people, I haven’t seen so much enthusiasm for a non-Tesla electric vehicle as I’ve seen for the Ford F-150 Lightning. People are excited by the F-150 Lightning and want the F-150 Lightning.

Also, the electric pickup truck is pushing the industry forward with its implementation of vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-load capability. This is exciting many people who hadn’t previously been very interested in EVs, and it’s a big selling point for an electric pickup truck. Overall, though, it’s the world-famous F-150 name and its extreme historical popularity that makes the new Lightning such a big deal. Ford has electrified what has long been the USA’s top selling automobile, and that turns heads.

Also, the starting price of the F-150 Lightning is very accessible, and combining that with the low operational costs makes the F-150 Lightning hyper-competitive with the gas-powered Lightning and other fossil-powered pickup trucks.

I presume those are the big reasons why people voted for the F-150 above all others, but chime in down in the comments if you have your own reasons or thoughts on this beyond what I just wrote.

As one final note for those who think a car should have won, the Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T combined for 45.7% of the vote, whereas the three cars combined for 54.3% of the vote. Perhaps the cars got a raw deal by having their vote split in three, but we don’t really know what would have happened if there had been only two cars to choose from. In the future, though, it’s something to consider.

* I know — this should be called the CleanTechnica Automobile of the Year award, but we started off by calling it the CleanTechnica Car of the Year award and we’re sticking with that.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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