GreenMBA unveils sustainable performance metric

Rating how well a car treats the environment – as well as handles the road – was the goal of a project designed by students in Dominican’s MBA in Sustainable Enterprise (Green MBA) program.

Green MBA Cover PictureThe Sustainable Performance Ranking Metric was unveiled on September 7 at the Sonoma Raceway at Sears Point during the raceway's Accelerating Sustainable Performance Summit, an annual meeting that brings together racing fans, electric car companies and developers of alternative fuels.

The metric rates vehicles’ sustainability and performance, both on a scale of 1 to 5, and then adds the two scores together for a “sustainable performance” score from 1 to 10.

Working with Joey Shepp, Sustainability Program Director in the GreenMBA, students used data from and to determine vehicle miles per gallon and emissions for sustainability. They also assessed horsepower, torque and power-to-weight ratio for performance.

“The metric shows that you don't have to compromise performance for sustainability; there are consumer vehicles available today that deliver the best of both worlds,” Shepp said. “This project lays down the roadmap for an emerging market where sustainability and performance are equally valued in purchasing decisions.”

Cars included in the ratings were broken down into three vehicle classes: top 10 hatchbacks/wagons under $60,000 (top car: Chevrolet Volt Plugin Hybrid); top 10 sedans/coupes under $60,000 (top car: Ford Mustang), and top 10 SUVs/trucks under $60,000 (top car: Toyota Highlander Hybrid).

The Ford Mustang had the highest rating of the sedans and coupes, with a 2.4 on the sustainability and a 5.0 on performance, resulting in a total sustainable performance ranking of 7.4.

The Toyota Camry LE Hybrid had the second-highest score among sedans and coupes, with an overall score of 7.3.
The Toyota Highlander Hybrid topped the sports utility vehicles and trucks category, with a 3.0 on sustainability and a 4.7 on performance, resulting in a total sustainable performance ranking of 7.7.

Paul Erickson, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UC Davis, reviewed the model for the group. The group hopes to expand the model to include further emissions analysis and how carrying multiple passengers impacts mileage.

“It’s reasonable to assume that there are significant number of car buyers who care both about performance and their environmental footprint,” said Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway president and general manager. “For those consumers, we think this metric can be a useful tool and we look forward to this opportunity to review and refine it.”


Media coverage of the Sustainable Performance Ranking Metric and the summit appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Marin Independent Journal and Paddock Talk.


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