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Joel Ewanick, VP, U.S. Marketing for General Motors, and the Chevy Volt with the Green Car of the Year Award

The Chevrolet Volt drove off with the 2011 Green Car of the Year Award at the LA Auto Show this morning, beating out tough competition from the Nissan Leaf and ending a two-year diesel powertrain reign (at the 2008 show, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI was named the winner; last year, the Audi A3 TDI won). The other finalists for this year's award, given out by Green Car Journal, included the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid , Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and the Ford Fiesta.

The Natural Resources Defense Council's Roland Hwang said during the ceremony that "the environment means business." To be globally competitive, automakers need highly-efficient vehicles to compete and, "what this means is that green vehicles are going to go mainstream." The Green Car of the Year award embodies this change. When it was first given out in 2006, it was sort of tacked on at the end of the LA Auto Show. Today, as it was in '09, the ceremony was a highlight of the show.

Last year, Green Car Journal editor Ron Cogan made a point to mention the five vehicles up for consideration were notable because they were mainstream vehicles that were already available. This year, only three of the candidates are currently on dealer lots. With the high tech involved in the Leaf and Volt, though, we're okay with the slight delay in availability.

If you were rooting for the Leaf, don't worry too much. Today, that car won the Green Car of the Year title from TheGreenCarWebsite.co.uk over in the UK. Still, in the U.S., the Green Car Journal award is the big one, and we want to know if the Volt claiming the first Green Car of the Year award of the electric era – and if there's one message we're heard here in LA this year, it's that we're really in the electric era now – make sense to you. Let us know in the comments below.

[Source: Green Car of the Year]
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Chevrolet Volt Named 2011 Green Car of the Year

Winner Announced at Los Angeles Auto Show Press Conference, Nov. 18

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 18, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2011 Chevrolet Volt has been named Green Car Journal's 2011 Green Car of the Year®. The Volt stood out in a stellar field of hybrid, electric and low emission vehicles that all feature exceptional efficiency and innovation in their approach to reducing the automobile's impact on the environment. The Volt is the first-ever electric vehicle to take top prize. This award welcomes a new genre of mass-production electric vehicles.

"This has been a long time coming," said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and editor of GreenCar.com. "The electric vehicles that were test marketed in the 1990s tantalized us, but were without a solid business case. What a difference a decade makes. Now, Chevrolet has stepped up with an all-encompassing package in its Volt extended range electric car – a car deserving of the title 2011 Green Car of the Year®."

The Volt's revolutionary Voltec propulsion system is capable of delivering 25 to 50 miles of all-electric driving on a single charge before a gasoline-powered on-board generator provides electricity to power the wheels for an additional 300 miles. This ability to allow extended electric drive range after the car's batteries are exhausted is an important element that helps address the 'range anxiety' that some fear with battery-powered electric cars.

"The Green Car of the Year® award validates the Chevrolet team's promise to deliver a practical electric vehicle," said Joel Ewanick, VP, U.S. Marketing, General Motors. "The Volt's a transformational technology that will lead our industry into a new age of vehicle electrification."

The Green Car of the Year® jury, comprised of six environmental and automotive experts along with Green Car Journal editors, selected the 2011 Chevrolet Volt from a field of five finalists that also included the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, and Nissan LEAF. Green Car of the Year® honors are reserved for exemplary vehicles that forward environmental performance in meaningful and quantifiable ways, with all nominees on sale by Jan. 1 of the award year.

This year's jurors include the following leaders of the nation's top environmental organizations: Carl Pope, chairman of the Sierra Club; Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society, and Matt Petersen, president of Global Green USA. Also, Jay Leno, noted auto enthusiast and host of the "Tonight Show," as well as automotive icon Carroll Shelby join Green Car Journal editors in rounding out the 2011 jury. Green Car Journal has been unveiling the Green Car of the Year® winner at the LA Auto Show every year since it initiated the annual award in 2005.

"This year's Green Car of the Year® finalists illustrate an important point," said Cogan. "There is no single answer to improving efficiencies, diminishing air quality impacts, or displacing petroleum use. All technologies and fuels are at play, and important. The Chevy Volt – Green Car Journal's exciting 2011 Green Car of the Year® – shows that electric vehicles are certain to become an important new part of the equation."

About Green Car of the Year®

The GCOY award is an important part of Green Car Journal's mission to showcase environmental progress in the auto industry. Founded in 1992, Green Car Journal is considered the premier source of information on high fuel efficiency, low emission, advanced technology, and alternative fuel vehicles. Subscription information, along with a downloadable sample issue, can be found at GCJUSA.com. Green Car of the Year® is a registered trademark of Green Car Journal and RJ Cogan Specialty Publications Group, Inc.

About the LA Auto Show

As the first major North American Auto Show of the season, the 2010 LA Auto Show will host approximately 50 World and North American debuts. Press Days, Nov. 17 and 18, will feature more than 25 press conferences from manufacturers around the globe. Join the LA Auto Show conversation by following the Show at Twitter.com/LAAutoShow, Facebook.com/LosAngelesAutoShow and sign up for alerts at LAAutoShow.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Kudos GM.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Another great award, kudos to GM and the Volt team! Haters can suck it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      2011 Chevy Volt wins Green Car of the Year title in LA, the same day the IPO comes out, what a coincidence!!!!! With a 37mpg ICE, I would rather buy a Prius for $15K less after tax and rebates! $7,500 federal rebate + $5,000 state rebate (CA), HOV stickers, + $10K less to start = Leaf FTW, this of course is my opinion, no need to bash.
        • 4 Years Ago
        And for all the people complaining about electric, I have one word, Solar. Now go cry about pollution elsewhere.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What is there to get excited about? I went to the LA Auto Show yesterday and was not treated well at the Chevy Volt display. After the auto consultant did her demonstration people started asking questions about the car. I asked about the battery life. One person commented about the cost. He stated 4 to 5 thousand dollars was expensive. I stated that we do not fully understand what the impact will be on the environment from all of the battery waste. The consultant heard me and started to lash out at me and told me if I did not shut up that she would call security and have me thrown out of the show! I felt like I had just left the DMV. If GM thinks that they can treat people like they do at the DMV.....get ready for another bailout cause they won't be selling very many cars. Hope you are listening GM. The white dashboard....ugly. The car....ugly. The price....high. The real impact to the environment.....not understood. The car's reliability....big gamble on something just whipped up for the auto show. Just goes to show you, "Elitism" does not sell cars. Let the free market speak! This is a loser waiting to happen. If Obama endorses the car that is the kiss of death!
      • 4 Years Ago
      lol, just lol, it's not even out yet, plz go environuts.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Kudos GM.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So a car that uses gas gets an award for being greener for than a car that doesn't?

      Anyway, chevy has GOT to be paying people off.
        • 4 Years Ago

        I will happily down-vote your stupidity!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sure at face value on a car by car basis.

        But taking into account actual market impact, this is a more mainstream product and will have a significantly larger net green impact.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @jeff: Not a bad post, with the understanding that my reply was deliberate hyperbole in response to the OP. I'm well aware that EVs can reduce pollution overall, but then you should also be aware that bicycles and mass-transit would have even greater benefits.

        I used to think like you, that the Volt was a transition to "pure" BEVs. The more I think about it, "pure" BEVs will never be more than a tiny niche in the US. I think BEVs are all fighting over being the 3rd (sometimes 2nd) car, specifically purposed for commuting, with other cars to haul stuff or cover ground. If the US ever got serious about convenient and efficient mass-transit, the BEV market would shrink even further.

        As I've been rethinking the Volt, I'm more of a mind that things like the Volt are much closer to the real future of the automobile because they have the flexibility of being generally useful, and stepping in as someone's primary car, or only car. In this context, something Volt-like works well to drive mileage up across the board, with mass acceptance based on long-term viablity.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Down vote away children.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If it were that simple, by your logic an old Suburban with a 454 is no more or less "green" than a Prius. Obviously, there's much more to it than that...
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ John H
        Please do a little calculations for yourself. Too many people like you look at this issue and immediately assume that an EV must be just as bad as a conventional vehicle when you take the full fuel cycle into account. If you actually run the numbers, you see that even with the current US mix of power generation, and taking into account all the losses you mentioned, EVs come out far ahead of their gas powered equivalents. Please google Argonne National Lab's GREET model, it's a free software that'll let you check these numbers for yourself, and it can also do calculations on Vehicle life cycle costs that take into account the energy that goes into producing the vehicles in the first place.

        @Travis, by your reasoning, it should probably be a G-Wiz that wins this award, since it's smaller, uses cheaper and more easily recycled battery tech, and uses less energy than the Leaf. You can make the greenest car in the world, but unless you convince a significant number of people to drive, it's not gonna do any good for the planet. I think the Volt is getting these awards because the judges think it will appeal to more people since it doesn't require any change of driving habits whatsoever. It's a perfect bridge technology that'll ease the transition to pure BEVs once the battery technology has improved and the charging infrastructure has been established.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Obama gets the Nobel Peace prize before actually doing anything and Government Motors gets car of the year for a car that's not yet being sold. WTF?
      • 4 Years Ago
      What a JOKE ...
      I just don't get this.
      Ok ... so the tailpipe (doesn't have one) has zero emissions.
      But you have to plug it in to charge ..
      Where AND HOW do these people think electric power is generated ???
        • 4 Years Ago
        My sense is that the average Greenie thinks that electricity comes from invisible, magical pixie farts.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @warren: I see no reason for the government to encourage people to buy new cars. If a "new" car is needed, let the buyer choose what makes the most sense, when they decide they need to replace their car.

        Similarly, moving emissions from tailpipe to smokestack is only good if the net result is cost effective. Otherwise, we could mandate bicycles for everyone and be done with these evil cars.
        • 4 Years Ago
        John H. -- you're glossing over two important counterpoints:

        1) Electricity in America is, by and large, created 100% by Americans and Canadians. It isn't shipped halfway around the world, it doesn't require us to pin our electricity costs to geopolitics, war, and shipping.

        2) Reducing pollution in cities is a good goal, no matter what. Why? Because that's where the people are! People will be healthier. If this means more pollution at power plants, then that's a fine compromise to make. Plus Government can more effectively push industry to gradually reduce the pollutants coming out of those waste towers, than they can push millions of people to purchase new cars.

        Any argument along the lines of "electricity creates more pollution" is a bit of a canard anyways, because well.... look around at all the electronics we have nowadays. The computer you used to post your Autoblog comment with doesn't run on pixie farts, either. The electrical grid already has to cope with ever-increasing demand.
      • 4 Years Ago
      no way!!!!

      sell your wife sell your kids invest everything in GM stock

      • 4 Years Ago
      awesome, let's ship them to dealers asap so stickers can be slapped on the day after they're printed and cars sold asap.
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