Tesla's Model S
, the BMW i3, the Cadillac ELR, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell and the Ford C-MAX Energi are the finalists for Green Car Journal's 2012 Green Car Vision awards. The winner of the award, which is given to the most innovative "green vehicle" that's either in its demonstration phase or nearing its public launch, will be named at the Washington Auto Show on January 26.

Of the finalists, two – the Tesla and the BMW – are pure battery electric vehicles that are scheduled to be available for the 2013 and 2014 model years, respectively. The C-MAX is a plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle slated for the 2013 model year, while the Cadillac – expected as a 2014 model year – uses an extended-range plug-in hybrid powertrain similar to that of the Chevrolet Volt. The F-Cell hydrogen fuel-cell electric, which has been available in limited numbers for lease in Southern California, is slated for a 2014 model year debut.

"It's no surprise that electric drive continues to dominate the thoughts of automakers as they look to the future," writes Green Car Journal, which hands out the award. "While all five finalists integrate electric drive, they power their motors in distinctly different ways."

Last year's Green Car Vision award was won by the Ford Focus Electric, while the Nissan Leaf won in 2010. The Chevy Volt won in 2009. Who should win this year? Take our poll after the jump.



And the winner of the 2012 Green Car Vision award should be...
BMW i3 47 (6.5%)
Cadillac ELR 36 (5.0%)
Ford C-MAX Energi 21 (2.9%)
Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell 14 (1.9%)
Tesla Model S 600 (83.6%)


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 53 Comments
      Actionable Mango
      • 3 Years Ago
      For sheer awesomeness, the Tesla S. They are basically making all-electric 4-door sports sedans with comfort, range, and damn good looks. But this poll isn't about that, it's about innovation. For most innovative, I'd vote i3 for two reasons: 1) It's extensive use of lightweight material without a stratospheric price. 2) For making a range-extending motor an option. Every other electric car you either have to have it (Volt), or cannot get it (everyone else).
        Marco Polo
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        @ Actionable Mango "For making a range-extending motor an option" . A good point, well spotted!
      Letstakeawalk
      • 3 Years Ago
      I still disagree with your conclusion that "most" people who can afford one would be too old and fragile to climb in and out.
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      I live in Florida. Lincoln's and Cadillac's are most popular with the Chronologically Gifted crowd. And, considering many of them also own NEV's, a plug in would go over rather well.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Do you think they can sell them for the price of a "Porsche, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Maserati, Corvette, AMG"? No, I don't think the Caddy will be in the same price range as those makes - it will be much cheaper. Which is my point - that there are lots of much more expensive cars that are bought by the young and lively. You don't have to be old and fragile to afford a car that will likely cost in the $60K range like the Caddy - there are plenty of young buyers who can afford that. Indeed, I'd suggest that the average PHEV Volt buyer will likely be in the prime of their lives.
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      This Cadillac has been a long time coming, it really deserves success. GM is finally starting to take the Cadillac back up-market where it belongs! Once, Cadillac was a marque to rival the best and most glamorous of cars. The choice of Presidents, Movie Stars, and Oil Tycoons! In recent years , it's been reduced to little more than an better spec'd Chevrolet! With this Cadillac, GM has announced it's back in the prestige business with new and exciting technology. GM's product may not be able to match the Bentley, or Rolls Royce, or even the Merc S class, but it is chasing BMW, and Lexus. This coupe will appeal to a younger, but successful and affluent buyer, seeking a really different company car, with a 'greener image. Go for it, GM! Tesla S ? Not just car of the year, the most important car of the decade!
        Ziv
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Marco, this is slightly off topic, but I was driving along a week ago and a CTS-V Wagon came rolling by. Now that is one cool, 556 hp, fire breathing, Brembo brakin', snap you back in your Recaro type of a wagon! Practical? Well, not so much, but sometimes great car makers should make a statement, and the CTS-V Wagon is a heck of a statement!
          Marco Polo
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Ziv
          @Ziv, "but sometimes great car makers should make a statement, and the CTS-V Wagon is a heck of a statement!" I agree! A really great vehicle! But, a Cadillac waggon? This should have been a Oldsmobile or Buick. The Buick, Pontiac, Oldsmobile brand names, should have been retained.
      Dave
      • 3 Years Ago
      I didnt say "only." I said "most."
      HVH20
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Cadillac looks great, but the leading tech is in the model S and its actually going to hit production.
        Dave
        • 5 Months Ago
        @HVH20
        "leading tech"??? There is no leading tech in the Tesla. The tech is the same. It is just a bigger, heavier, more expensive battery, nothing more.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Dave
          Dave, please go check out your closest Tesla store and see the custom aluminum chassis, watermelon sized multi hundred horsepower motor, and battery pack config of this car.. As an EV builder, it impresses me very much. Tesla is miles ahead from their competitors.
          JakeY
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Dave
          No leading tech? How about industry leading battery energy density, battery pack range, and battery cost ($/kWh)? An industry leading 300kW motor in power and power density; other automakers need 2 or 4 motors combined to top it. The first EV to have motor with a liquid cooled rotor for high performance (existing liquid cooled motors cool the stator); Tesla has a patent for it. The first to have a completely integrated motor and power electronics module (most people looking at it think it's two motors!). The first to actually put the skateboard design into production (where the entire powertrain fits under the floor of the car and the top sections can be changed to other vehicle types); the i3 will be the second. Industry leading 20kW level-2 and 90kW level-3 chargers.
          JP
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Dave
          Actually there is good aerodynamic design, highest specific energy density EV pack, rare earth free induction motors, and intelligent packaging and construction. It's also already sold out beyond it's first year of production. None of the other vehicles are particularly interesting or innovative.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 3 Years Ago
      I disagree with your conclusion that only the old and frail can afford a $60K-ish car. Indeed, so would Porsche, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Maserati, Corvette, AMG, etc., etc. I do agree that it is gorgeous...
      JeremyD
      • 3 Years Ago
      I can see myself in that Cadillac... man that is one slick whip!
        Dave
        • 5 Months Ago
        @JeremyD
        It is gorgeous. Unfortunately, most of the people who can afford one are too old and fragile to climb in and out of one, so they buy taller cars. And, most probably, the visibility would be awful.
        • 5 Months Ago
        @JeremyD
        The Caddy? There's no "crack" in that whip -- 0-60 in 8.5 seconds, seriously? The slowest trim level of the Tesla Model S hits 6.5 seconds; the fastest, 4.4 seconds. Plus, we're talking green cars here; the Caddy is still just a hybrid, and doesn't have any new tech to speak of; it's just a recycled Volt.
          JeremyD
          • 5 Months Ago
          Whip is slang for a nice car, not necessarily a fast car but one that can be considered a status symbol, or sexy, or both like this Caddy. 92MPGe is plenty green, but thats not the point of my comment. Besides how do we know this uses the Volt 1.0 drive train and not a more refined version since we are talking about a 2014 model year car.
          Ryan
          • 5 Months Ago
          Does 0-60 really matter? It seems like bad drivers use it to piss off the non-racers out there. Big trucks burn 1/8 gal of gas to 'beat' someone else off the line. And on-ramps here are plenty long enough to get up to the speed limit.
          Timo
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Ryan, 0-60 doesn't matter (much), but 30-80 does, and that too is very fast in Model S. That's the main speed area where you need acceleration to get past 18-wheelers and other slow vehicles. For Model S Performance version it is nearly as fast if not faster than 0-60 (IIRC torque peaks at 75mph).
          EZEE
          • 5 Months Ago
          @ryan Having good accretion comes in handy now and then, however, I wonder how many drivers of Cadillacs or Lincoln's show up at the strip on a Saturday night, or get arrested for drifting? That is what the v series is for...
          Letstakeawalk
          • 5 Months Ago
          Which is why I voted for the i3. It brings CF composites into an entirely new price range, one that is vital to making lightweight EVs mainstream volume products. It is an example of a major manufacturer making investments into a crucial process, worthy of a "visionary" accolade.
          Stephen Pace
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Ryan, imagine if the Tesla Model S had 10 second 0 to 60. Then people would complain, "sure, it has the range, but it is too slow. Call me when it can accelerate like a normal car." The point is, the Tesla Model S will need to be in many ways BETTER than an ICE equivalent to convince switchers. Having ridden in the Beta of a Model S already, I think they are well on their way. In five years when we have a similar car with 600 mile range or more for $45k with no tax credit, forget about it. Game over for ICE.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 3 Years Ago
      The peak earning years for most people is between 35 and retirement. After retirement (usually when you get old and frail), income stagnates, or drops significantly. Most of the buyers of the Caddy would be between 35 and retirement, and so should be considered fairly healthy enough to get in and out. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_5aAsxFJOeMw/Rjdsu4ocJqI/AAAAAAAAAOA/i-CamPVJnQQ/s1600-h/2005-distribution-income-by-age.JPG
      skierpage
      • 3 Years Ago
      For anyone so ill-informed they might vote for anything but the *Tesla Model S*, I'm reprinting JakeY's comment in response to Dave in response to HVH20. How about industry leading battery energy density, battery pack range, and battery cost ($/kWh)? An industry leading 300kW motor in power and power density; other automakers need 2 or 4 motors combined to top it. The first EV to have motor with a liquid cooled rotor for high performance (existing liquid cooled motors cool the stator); Tesla has a patent for it. The first to have a completely integrated motor and power electronics module (most people looking at it think it's two motors!). The first to actually put the skateboard design into production (where the entire powertrain fits under the floor of the car and the top sections can be changed to other vehicle types); the i3 will be the second. Industry leading 20kW level-2 and 90kW level-3 chargers.
        Marco Polo
        • 5 Months Ago
        @skierpage
        @Skierpage. Although I voted for Tesla, I think it's a little intolerant to dismiss those who preferred the other models as,"ill-informed"! Others are entitled to their opinions, and JakeyY's list of preferences is very self serving. Others may prefer attributes and technology the other models display. There is no moral 'right' or ''wrong', these are car models, not moral philosophy!
          Marco Polo
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @JakeY Jake, my comment was entirely as a reply to Skierpage. I took no issue with you comment in itself which I thought was perfectly reasonable within the context you intended.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Agreed! That's the very nature of this sort of nomination/voting process; we can agree that these cars all represent to varying degrees a vision of what a "Green Car" can be. A true enthusiast should be able to see the positive aspects of each design, regardless of a personal preference to a specific design ideology. It's not a contest to establish that one is superior to the others, or that one design/engineering/technical direction is the "right" direction...
          JakeY
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          A point of clarification. I never said others were ill-informed (that's Skierpage's opinion), that only the Model S deserves the award, or that you are "wrong" if you don't vote for the Model S and "right" if you vote for the Model S. Nor did I ever intend to. My original post was a response to Dave, who said that it had "no leading technology" (which implies it's completely undeserving of even being a finalist). So I posted multiple counter examples to disprove his points. I would have never posted my comment if he didn't make that point.
        Dave
        • 5 Months Ago
        @skierpage
        Absolutely everything mentioned is readily available from many suppliers. There is nothing cutting edge in the Tesla.
          Dave
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Dave
          And, by the way, there is nothing wrong with the fact that the Tesla isn't cutting edge. A production vehicle should use reliable, established technologies.
          JakeY
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Dave
          "Absolutely everything mentioned is readily available from many suppliers." Bull****. If it's readily available then why do none of the other automakers have the anything with matching or higher specs (even in concept cars)? 1) Go find a battery pack from a supplier with matching or higher energy density. Daimler and Toyota wouldn't be going to Tesla if that existed. I'm waiting for other automakers to top 200 miles of pre-2008 EPA range, much less 300. 2) Go find a supplier with a watermelon sized 250+kW motor (not even going to bother including the liquid-rotor-cooled point, because as I said other motors are stator cooled). It doesn't exist! Even the F1 racer in the other article needs 4 motors to get 640kW (160kW each). http://green.autoblog.com/2012/01/13/drayson-racing-presents-850-hp-electric-racer-at-low-carbon-raci/ The frequently used UQM motors (for example in the Fisker Karma, the Porsche eRuf, Audi e-Tron, Coda Sedan) top out at 200kW and even their 150kW motors weigh 200lbs (vs 110lbs for the Roadster motor which outputs 185kW). 3) Go find a supplier that offers a motor with all the power electronics integrated into one cylinder, I've never seen this done until the Model S (I totally didn't expect it). The suppliers offer it in a flat box that you have to mount somewhere else (and this was how it was done in the Roadster too). 4) Go find another supplier that offers a skateboard platform. 5) Go find another supplier that offers a 20kW onboard charger + EVSE. I'll give you the last point on quick charging, since there are 90kW+ offboard chargers sold for buses/forklifts. But 60kW is the highest I've seen for public charging in passenger vehicles. And please list specific advancements (like what specs they top, not just a vague point) for the vehicles you mentioned. What do they have that you can't buy from other suppliers (by your own standard) and doesn't already exist? For example, the Volt genset is based on very similar principles to the series-parallel genset of the Prius. Fuel cell stacks have existed for quite some time; the stack in the B-class isn't even class leading in efficiency or density: the Clarity has better efficiency in a larger car, the stacks used by Nissan and GM top it in density. What is exactly innovative about them?
          Dave
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Dave
          The genset in the ELR and its control system is more advanced than anything in the Tesla. The fuel cell stack in the B-Class is more advanced than anything in the Tesla. And both of those vehicles have advanced motors, batteries, and controls.
      Timo
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Of the finalists, two – the Tesla and the BMW – are pure battery electric vehicles that are scheduled to be available for the 2013 and 2014 model years, respectively." Make that 2012 and 2014 respectively. Model S deliveries should start at summer this year. So for Model S that is not a vision only. For vision Model S should have won the competition last year.
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