• Nov 18th 2010 at 12:30PM
  • 54
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, 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

  • 2011 Nissan Leaf front 3/4
  • 2011 Nissan Leaf rear 3/4
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt front 3/4
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt rear 3/4
  • 2011 Lincoln MKX Hybrid front 3/4
  • 2011 Lincoln MKX Hybrid rear 3/4
  • 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid front 3/4
  • 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid 3/4
  • 2011 Ford Fiesta front 3/4
  • 2011 Ford Fiesta rear 3/4

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Amazing the amount of hate directed at the Volt for "winning" a magazine award that is irrelevant. Relax folks, what matters is who wins in the sales race, at 41K the Volt has a tough hill to climb.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So the Volt has won the World Series!
      Shame the rest of us outside the US go for soccer/electric.
      • 4 Years Ago
      utter bull****. the volt uses GAS, people.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think you can use gas efficiently and still be green. The Prius is a good example of this; it stretched out gas so far and pollutes so little that if you lived on a grid that was 80%+ coal powered, you'd actually put out *less* emissions than driving an EV.

        My problem with the car is that it doesn't use that gasoline very efficiently. There are many things that GM could have done to bring up the efficiency.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wonder who got paid off to give GM this award. Someone's pockets got lined with GM's tax payer dollars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The volt is an electric vehicle with an ICE range extender. It comes with an ICE because car companies can make them cheaper. The general has enough driving up the cost in these first cars. As they make more, the costs come down. The future range extender might be a fuel cell. It may be a turbine, or free piston engine capable of taking many fuel types with great efficiency. This is the tech that allows the Volt to be a primary vehicle. The Leaf is disadvantaged by comparison. When (not if) battery tech catches up with the range that most drivers expect, the Volt will be a BEV. Volt deserves its laurels.
      • 4 Years Ago
      How did this ULEV plugin hybrid win this award? Who are the judges?
        • 4 Years Ago
        READ the freakin article DOH! The "Judges" are clearly listed. NRDC, Sierra Club, Cousteau-Oceans... all the greenest of the greenmost!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Jay Leno was included also. EPA has not even finalize the label for this car. How did a TV show host get to vote the winner? What was their definition of "green"?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Jay Leno was included also. EPA has not even finalize the label for this car. How did a TV show host get to vote the winner? What was their definition of "green"?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Amazing the amount of hate directed at the Volt for "winning" a magazine award that is irrelevant. Relax folks, what matters is who wins in the sales race, at 41K the Volt has a tough hill to climb.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is an award for selling the most magazines.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Awards for the Volt so far:
      1) MotorTrend Car of the year
      2) Automobile Magazine's Automobile of the Year
      3) LA Auto Show Green Car of the Year

      Keep 'em coming!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Pass gas, drive a real EV!
      • 4 Years Ago
      How does a car that gets 33 MPG get named Green Car of the Year?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Uh, there's another car out this year that you may have heard of called the Nissan Leaf. It NEVER uses gasoline and goes about 100 miles per charge. The Volt on the the other hand, cannot drive indefinitely on electricity even if you drive less than 40 miles between charges (the ICE-related equipment will eventually seize up if you do). When you exceed the battery-only mode in the Volt, it becomes a regular hybrid but gets about 33 MPG, which is pretty lame considering that the Prius (~50 MPG) has been around for more than a decade. Sheesh!
        • 4 Years Ago
        If I owned a Leaf this past year. I would have used 0 gallons of gas...that is freaking amazing...end of discussion.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If I owned a Volt this past year. I would have used 25 gallons of gas...that is freaking amazing...end of discussion.
        • 4 Years Ago
        By being the world's first plug-in hybrid, a car that won't consume gas in normal operation if you drive less than 40 miles a day, and one that you can recharge at home as the cheapest and least polluting way to travel those 40 miles.

        Do you have any other dumb rhetorical questions?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Perhaps the fact that you can burn zero gasoline by charging it every night and not driving more that 40 miles a day? Sheesh.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is kind of sad. Leading countries like Japan already have their entire country connected with fast Chargers. France will next year. China not far behind...

      In the presence of fast chargers, the Volt is irrelevant. I doubt that any leading country will be giving it awards. The more US publications concentrate on the halo vehicle rolling excuse to not go true electric, the further we as a country fall behind.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You have a link about Japan covered with fast chargers? I don't think that is true. There are no cars on the road to use them.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's clear that the US companies want to continue to keep people on pertroleum....and people in this country are dumb enough to fall for it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Fast chargers don't help a lot when you are driving more than 160 miles. Do you pull over every 60 or 70 miles for a top up? The interstate will have fast chargers soon, but using them for anything other than topping up a city car will be a waste of time. You could do it, but you would be wishing you had a Volt the whole time.
        Fast chargers will be a lot more useful when BEV AER is closer to 200 miles so that you can drive 3 hours and then top up the pack. And that will happen, probably in 8-10 years and then there will be much less reason to buy an EREV.
        Admittedly, tho, a fast charger in the area will make an 80 mile real world AER (like the Leaf and the Focus Electric) a lot more useful, but it won't make it a primary car like the Volt.
        Regardless, bring them all on! BEV and EREV's are both welcome in my neighborhood.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Leading countries like Japan already have their entire country connected with fast Chargers."

        I believe you mean that Japan has decided on a standard for quick-chargers, and has created an organization to encourage their development.

        Japan is far from having a wide-ranging quick-charging infrastructure:

        "The good news for TEPCO there is that there are 153 chargers in TEPCO's area and 254 total in Japan."

        France (Europe for that matter) still hasn't even decided upon a standard for quick-charging.

        "On 24 June 2010, The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) issued a press release stating that “European automobile manufacturers have defined joint specifications to connect electrically chargeable vehicles to the electricity grid in a safe and user-friendly way”. The recommendations adopted by ACEA are intended to “enable the relevant EU standardisation bodies to make rapid progress with defining a common interface between the electricity infrastructure and vehicles throughout Europe” and “provide decisive guidance to public authorities that are planning investments in public charging spots”.

        The recommendations adopted by ACEA, which include a large number of caveats, only cover AC conductive charging of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. Recommendations covering DC charging and the AC conductive charging of heavy duty vehicles are still under development."


        (I would like to see sources for the claim regarding France and China, as well.)
        • 4 Years Ago
        Speaking of Japan, Aren't JFE engineering releasing their 5 minute 80% fast charger in 2011? Wonder if they do and whether they've cpntacted Nissan etc
        • 4 Years Ago
        Right. Once again the us is giving up strategic advantage because of macho morons
        Chargers will be top to bott of california highways in a couple years. Its DONE for municipaltiea already.

        Leaf is the star breakthru. Not a new "hybrid" like the volt. If it burns gas, it's not electric.
        Sun power for personal travel is just a few years away. And who will lose money on that, I wonder ?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @letstakeawalk, "I believe you mean that Japan has decided on a standard for quick-chargers, and has created an organization to encourage their development."

        No, from page 14 of the pdf file.

        "Expected to complete the installation of battery chargers at all Nissan dealers on the end of November." Nissan plans to install 4,400 normal and 200 fast chargers.

        From Green Car Congress "For the convenience of Nissan LEAF drivers, at least one quick-charge unit will be available within a 40-kilometer radius throughout the country."

        • 4 Years Ago
        @letstakeawalk ,
        That UK SMMT paper is a fine summary, thanks.

        The main text ends with "The Japanese CHAdeMO DC charging system and JEVS G 105 (TEPCO) connector are already gaining worldwide acceptance as the standards for DC charging." After all the dithering about AC charging it's almost like someone snuck that sentence in after everyone else went home ;-)

        Regarding DC charging, SAE still hasn't decided whether to add two extra holes for chunky DC pins to its J1772 receptacle , or adopt CHAdeMO's second receptacle.

        Meanwhile the European AC charging compromise may be that you travel with a cord to plug into charging stations, so it doesn't matter whether the receptacle on the car is SAE J1772 or the Mennekes IEC 62196-2. Most public charging stations will continue to be 230V home sockets in a box and more powerful ones may use the SCAME connector so you'll just bring an adapter for your cord.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "plans to" and "will be" . . . you said 'already connected'. There is a big difference. No one has a significant fast-charging infrastructure. Why would they? There are no cars for them yet.
        • 4 Years Ago
        To answer your question as to why they have done this: it is called proactive leadership. They anticipate future needs before the crisis. They build the infrastructure to catapult themselves to the front of the global competition, rather than using a lack of infrastructure as an excuse not to move forward.

        In contrast, you can be a reactive follower. Try to get by with half-measures. Wait for companies to fail then bail them out. Wait for other countries to develop technological leads, then try to play catch up.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Get real dude! Who the eff wants to drive 40 miles, stop, get out, hook up the charger, wait four hours (even TWO hours) then continue for the next 40 miles??? Just to do it all over again??

        Having fast chargers means diddly unless they are EVERYWHERE your car might go on limited AER. Won't happen soon unless you live in disneyland.
        • 4 Years Ago

        You don't understand what a fast charger is. It is 50kW+ of charging at 480v. It is more like drive ~100 miles, stop for ~30 minutes. That is what the level 3 fast chargers going up in Japan do.

        40 miles is just how far apart Nissan has placed the chargers they installed (in addition to the ones the Japanese government and utilities have installed)- you don't have to stop at every one of them. It has already happened in Japan and is happening at greater and greater desity every day. The US could do the same if they decided to take some of the money away from liquid fuel subsidies or decided to direct current DOE funds to it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Nissan alone will have the entire country connected with their in-house developed and produced fast chargers by the end of this month: see page 14.


        That is in addition to all the utility and government-funded fast chargers (especially in major cities likeTokyo, Kyoto, etc.) that connect the country. Tepco(Japanese Utility)-developed CHAdeMO chargers are throughout the country. Remember that iMiEV and a number of other EV's not sold here from various manufacturers are already on the road and Japan has invested a lot of money in this. Japan tends to lead in electric vehicles.

        Due to industry stalling in the US, we still haven't even settled on a standard. Taking baby steps and propping up failures rather than leading is leaving us farther and farther behind countries in global leadership positions.
        • 4 Years Ago
        254 TEPCO chargers connects the entire country of Japan, in addition to the 200 from Nissan that connect the entire country. Most charging is done at home and most trips don't require fast chargers, so it doesn't take that many. And more are going up every day. The Japanese government is planning to putting 2 million Level 2 and 5000 quick chargers into place. We could do the same if we weren't spending our money propping up failed companies and subsidizing liquid fuels.

        The France reference came from Renault, but I don't have time to dig it up right now. The fact of the matter is the US could be choosing a leadership position in transportation and energy by taking progressive action (in EV's, high speed rail, solar, nuclear, etc.) but by is falling behind by being conservative with half-measures.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ..or they can't afford to buy a $30k+ car new

        Ya know.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Those 254 TEPCO's are already in place and connect the entire country. It has already happened. The 200 Nissan chargers that are going up this month are in addition to that and many have already been installed. Nissan's 200 space them 40 miles apart in Japan (WELL within the range of the LEAF), which connects the entire country.

        The 5000 fast chargers the Japanese government is installing will place will mean that on average Japanese will be more than 2.5 miles from a fast charger. The Level 2 chargers will put them on average within a block of everyone on the country.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "extended range electric car"
      Looks like they are being even more bold/explicit. Using extended range electric vehicle (EREV) was correct technically, since EV in that case refers to the drivetrain. But calling it an electric car is wrong, and it is clear they intend to do that, not just use EV in context of the drivetrain. I wonder if other PHEVs will also attempt to similar stretching.

      Still congrats to them for winning and hopefully the car will be cheaper and more available soon.
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X