After three years that saw a diesel, a plug-in and a natural gas vehicle win Green Car Journal's Green Car of the Year award, the Ford Fusion won the title this year at the start of the second day of the LA Auto Show. The Fusion was nominated in part because it has a variety of powertrain options: hybrid, plug-in hybrid and an EcoBoost gas engine.
The other 2013 finalists included the Dodge Dart Aero, Ford C-Max, Mazda CX-5 Skyactiv and Toyota Prius C. For what it's worth, the C-Max won the informal Autoblog/AutoblogGreen poll for 2013 with 31.5 percent of the vote. The official votes were tallied by a panel of judges of "the nation's top environmental leaders," car freaks like Jay Leno and the GCJ staff. GCJ's Ron Cogan said the winner was chose by majority vote.
Cogan also said that the award (and his magazine) have never been about vehicles that eke out mileage gains by stripping away the joy of driving. The method by which the five finalists are chosen is somewhat shrouded in mystery, but the Tesla Model S was left off the list due to its high price and the current unavailability of the base model. He said:
Last year, the Green Car of the Year winner was the Honda Civic Natural Gas. Previous winners include the Chevrolet Volt (2011), the Audi A3 TDI (2010), the Volkswagen Jetta TDI (2009) and the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid (2008).
The Tesla Model S offers everything, by all reports. What it doesn't offer are things that are crucial to the Green Car Of The Year program, which are different than Motor Trend's Car of the Year or Yahoo Autos. We deal specifically in cars you can buy and buy now and vehicles that are affordable enough that you can buy them. We deal in vehicles that are available in significant enough numbers so you actually have quantifiable emissions reductions and oil displacement. It doesn't have to be a mass produced car in the sense that it's one of the best-selling cars, but it does have to be available. And, right now, the Tesla Model S, as good as it is, is the Signature Series at $95,000 to $105,000. That's not accessible. And the base model is not being delivered.
Three Approaches to Driving 'Green' and Mass-Market Appeal Help Cinch Win
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The all-new 2013 Ford Fusion has been named Green Car Journal's 2013 Green Car of the Year® at the LA Auto Show. The Fusion emerged on top of an exceptional field of finalists including the 2013 Dodge Dart Aero, Ford C-MAX, Mazda CX-5 SKYACTIV and the Toyota Prius c.
Green Car of the Year honors are reserved for production vehicles on sale by Jan. 1 of the award year. Nominees are exemplary in that they forward environmental performance in meaningful and quantifiable ways while also presenting an accessible choice to enough consumers to make a real impact on the environment. The groundbreaking 2013 Ford Fusion not only significantly reduces petroleum use, CO2 emissions and overall environmental impact, but is priced to encourage the kind of sales volume that can truly influence environmental improvement.
"We are very honored that the all-new Ford Fusion has been recognized as the Green Car of the Year by the Green Car Journal," said David Mondragon, Ford general marketing manager. "From EcoBoost to hybrid and plug-in hybrid offerings, the new Fusion is delivering best-in-class fuel economy all wrapped in a dynamic package."
Ford's all-new Fusion exhibits a stunning design and Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, plus an affordable point of entry at just $21,700. Importantly, the 2013 Ford Fusion breaks new ground with five diverse powerplant choices, among them three efficient gasoline internal combustion engines including two with EcoBoost technology, a 47 mpg hybrid, and a plug-in hybrid that's expected to top 100 mpg equivalent.
Powering the base model is a 175 horsepower, 2.5-liter engine that's EPA rated at up to 34 mpg on the highway. Making use of Ford's advanced EcoBoost technology that combines direct gasoline injection and turbocharging, the Fusion's 178 horsepower, 1.6-liter powerplant achieves up to 37 highway mpg, with the more powerful 240 horsepower, 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine netting 33 mpg highway estimates. The Fusion hybrid provides a combined 188 horsepower with notable 47 mpg fuel efficiency across the board, while allowing travel at up to 62 mph on electric power alone. Fusion Energi capitalizes on Ford's excellent hybrid powertrain, adding plug-in charging capability and up to 20 miles of all-electric range, with hundreds of additional miles available on gasoline-electric hybrid power.
"The 2013 Ford Fusion approaches the market with a 'game-on' attitude," said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com, and president of the nonprofit Green Car Institute. "There's no overstating the importance of what Ford has done. Many have long envisioned new car showrooms where a desired model could be purchased with one of many distinctly different and efficient powertrains, selected to satisfy a buyer's particular needs and desires."
Electrification is part of this diverse and green vision since driving on battery power enables zero-emission motoring. But advanced and highly-efficient internal combustion engine choices with different levels of 'green' performance are also integral to this forward-looking strategy, since many drivers prefer the familiarity and affordability of gasoline powered vehicles. The 2013 Ford Fusion leads the way toward a new generation of advanced vehicles with its diverse portfolio of clean and efficient power choices, along with its suite of advanced electronics, desirability, and buyer accessibility.
A jury comprised of the nation's top environmental leaders including Natural Resources Defense Council president Frances Beinecke, Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune, Ocean Futures Society president Jean-Michel Cousteau, and Global Green USA president Matt Petersen, plus Tonight Show host and auto enthusiast Jay Leno and Green Car Journal staff select the 2013 Green Car of the Year through a majority vote.
About the Los Angeles Auto Show
As the first major North American auto show of the season, the 2012 LA Auto Show will host some of the industry's most important new vehicle debuts and set the tone for the rest of the year. To receive the latest show news and information, follow the LA Auto Show on Twitter at twitter.com/LAAutoShow, visit the Facebook page at facebook.com/LosAngelesAutoShow and sign up for alerts at LAAutoShow.com.
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. Since 1992, Green Car Journal has focused on the intersection of automobiles, energy, and environment, first with an industry newsletter and then with an award-winning auto enthusiast magazine. Today, the magazine is considered the premier source of information on high fuel efficiency, low emission, advanced technology, and alternative fuel vehicles. Many Green Car Journal features are also carried online at CarsOfChange.com. The nonprofit Green Car Institute pursues a tangential mission of research and education to promote cleaner and more efficient transportation. Green Car of the Year® is a registered trademark of Green Car Journal and RJ Cogan Specialty Publications Group, Inc.