Porsche918 Spyder1LR

What are our five favorite alternative energy cars this year?

Before we get to that, there are undoubtedly many passenger vehicles worthy of consideration, and some even meet needs our top picks would not.

Also, unlike other “green car of the year” type selections, the vehicles that make our list need not be mass-market sellers, so what are our criteria you ask?

Simple. Our list is a selection of vehicles – three of which are carryovers, not new releases – that nonetheless stand to impact alternative energy transportation in an outsized way.

And although HybridCars.com covers clean diesels and hybrids, obviously, only one is a regular hybrid, while two are all-electric, and two others are plug-in hybrids.

We’ve seen the enormous potential of electrification. Kilowatt-hours from the grid – or even better, from on-site renewable sources – usually costs less than unit measures of liquid fuel, and emit nothing from any tailpipe.

Following is our list, and we’ll explain our rationale for why each deserves mention.