The Green Car Vision awards celebrate a car that's got its headlights pointed down the road of the future. Among this year's five finalists are two serial hybrids (Chevrolet Volt and Fisker Karma) two electric cars (MINI E and Mitsubishi i-MiEV), and one hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (Honda FCX Clarity). It seems like a pretty good breakdown of where things stand now, with serial, plug-in hybrids and electric cars duking it out in center court and a hydrogen vehicle thrown in to keep things honest. Three of those cars -- the MINI E, i-MiEV, and Clarity -- are on the roads right now, albeit in limited numbers, and the Fisker is due to hit the scene at the end of 2009, while the Volt bows in 2010. The winning car will be announced on February 3 at the Washington, D.C. Auto Show. You can read the full press release after the jump and check out a high-res gallery of the finalists below.

Related GalleryGreen Car Journal 2009 Finalists
Chevrolet VoltHonda FCX ClarityMitsubishi I-MiEVMINI EFisker Karma

[Source: Green Car Journal]


PRESS RELEASE

2009 Green Car Vision Award(TM) Finalists Announced

Plug-In Hybrid, Hydrogen, Range Extended Electric, Battery Electric Cars Included

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Five nominees have been identified for Green Car Journal's 2009 Green Car Vision Award(TM), which acknowledges a vehicle that best envisions the road ahead. One of these five finalists -- the Chevrolet Volt, Fisker Karma, Honda FCX Clarity, MINI E, or Mitsubishi i-MiEV -- will be honored as the 2009 Green Car Vision Award winner during a press conference on Public Policy Day February 3, at The Washington Auto Show in Washington D.C.

"Vehicles offering dramatically improved environmental performance are crucial to helping us move beyond today's challenges of oil dependence and growing environmental impacts," says Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal and editor of GreenCar.com ( http://www.greencar.com/ ). "While not yet widely available in new car showrooms, these vehicles each inspire in important ways with their advanced powertrains, use of cleaner or more sustainable fuels, vastly improved efficiencies, or a combination of these attributes."

Unlike concept cars, which tantalize us with wild designs or features that may or may not ever make it to the highway, these five vehicles are real. They are either in limited production or in demonstration programs now, or are in development and on the road to commercialization.

Dispelling the myth that innovation will only come from outside the traditional automotive industry, four of the 2009 Green Car Vision Award(TM) finalists are products from major auto manufacturers. The fifth is from a new car company, Fisker Automotive, headed by Henrik Fisker, formerly director of Ford's Global Advanced Design Studio and before that president of BMW division DesignWorks USA.

Chevrolet's Volt is a range-extended, plug-in electric car with a scheduled introduction in late 2010. The Fisker Karma, to be shown in production form next month, is a plug-in hybrid luxury sedan that's set for sale in late 2009. The FCX Clarity, Honda's innovative hydrogen fuel cell sedan, is in very limited production and being leased to a small number of consumers now. The recently unveiled battery electric MINI E will be leased to 500 select consumers in three states. Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric cars are on the highway in a demonstration program with Southern California Edison and PG&E.

"The advanced technology vehicles now available at new car showrooms, like highly efficient gasoline-electric hybrids, are the result of visionary work that occurred years in advance of their introduction to the market," says Cogan. The five nominees for Green Car Journal's 2009 Green Car Vision Award(TM) are exceptional examples of innovation at work."

The award-winning Green Car Journal has focused on the intersection of automobiles, energy, and environment since its launch in 1992. As part of its mission, the magazine hosts events, produces ride-and-drives of advanced and clean fuel vehicles, and conducts various outreach efforts to educate consumers on better and more environmentally positive vehicle choices.

The 67th staging of the Washington Auto Show: The Automotive Seat of Power will bring more than 700 new cars, trucks, mini-vans and sport utility vehicles from over 42 domestic and import automakers to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from Feb. 4 -- 8, 2009. Supporting its growing 'green' theme, a wide array of advanced technology and clean fuel vehicles will be displayed in a Green Car Pavilion and throughout the show floor. For more information visit the Washington Auto Show online at http://www.washingtonautoshow.com/.