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, like last year, 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.
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.