Five Contenders Battle for the Green Crown
Chevrolet’s all-new, second generation Volt was named 2016 Green Car of the Year at s Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The award was established by automotive publication Green Car Journal in 2006, when the Mercury Mariner Hybrid was the inaugural winner.
The Volt is the first car to win the award a second time, repeating a victory it claimed when the original plug-in hybrid debuted a half-decade ago.
“This is the first time in Green Car of the Year history that a vehicle has won the award in two succeeding model generations,” said Green Car Journal’s editor and publisher, Ron Cogan.
“Considering all the brands and models evaluated in the award program, that’s quite a statement,” Cogan said. ”The Chevrolet Volt was a standout when it won 2011 Green Car of the Year and continues in that role today as the 2016 Green Car of the Year.”
Selecting Green Car of the Year
The Green Car of the Year is selected through a majority vote by a jury that includes celebrity auto enthusiast Jay Leno, plus leaders of noted environmental and efficiency organizations, including Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; Matt Petersen, board member of Global Green USA; Dr. Alan Lloyd, President Emeritus of the International Council on Clean Transportation; Mindy Lubber, President of CERES; and Kateri Callahan, President of the Alliance to Save Energy. Green Car Journal editors round out the 11 award jury members.
Fuel efficiency, performance, affordability and Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board certifications are criteria in selecting the initial candidates. Qualifying vehicles
have to be on sale by January 1st of the award year, in this case, 2016.
During the award’s evaluation process, judges consider all vehicles, fuels, and technologies as an expansive field of potential candidates is narrowed down to a final five. Finalists are selected for their achievements in raising the bar in environmental performance.
The other four finalists included:
- The 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron. This is the German automaker’s first U.S. plug-in hybrid model. Audi has stated it will be the first of an expanding number of electrified vehicles.
- The 2016 Honda Civic. The top-selling compact car was redesigned for 2016. It was the only finalist without a battery and electric motors.
- The 2016 Hyundai Sonata. This Korean midsize sedan is now offered with a high-mileage gasoline engine as well as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants.
- The 2016 Toyota Prius. The world’s best-selling hybrid has also gone through a complete redesign. Among other things, the new Prius has increased its fuel economy by about 10 percent.
You’ll notice that all of the finalists are relatively affordable cars — prices range from $19,475 for the Civic to $38,825 for the Audi.
Only cars that sell in numbers that can make an appreciable difference on the environment are eligible. That’s why Tesla’s Model S and Model X, which both sell for average prices of around $100,000, have not made the cut, even though each can travel hundreds of miles on a single charge, the longest range of any electric car.
You’ll also notice there are no diesel powered cars on the list. In October, Audi and Volkswagen were stripped of Green Car awards they won in 2009 and 2008 for their ”clean diesel” engines after it came to light that the cars had software designed to cheat on emission tests.
About The Chevrolet Volt
The original Volt and the all-new 2016 model both have a gasoline engine and an electric motor. On a full charge it runs as an electric car, but once its battery runs out the internal combustion engine fires up, giving drivers the confidence they will not be stranded if the car runs out of battery juice.
The 2016 car’s increased electric range impressed Cogan, who said, “Chevrolet’s all-new Volt is a milestone, building on an already-technologically advanced ‘green’ car and delivering what buyers
have longed for, including an impressive 53-mile driving range on a single charge.”
Fuel economy of the gasoline engine is also improved to an EPA-estimated 42 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving. The all-new Volt delivers a total driving range of up to 420 miles. Chevrolet expects owners to travel 1,000 miles between gasoline fill-ups.
Upon receiving the crystal award, Steve Majoros, Chevrolet marketing director said, “For Volt to stand out in Green Car’s evaluation, it reaffirms Chevrolet’s commitment to being a leader in electrification.”
Company officials say they will be making the new Green Car of the Year award a centerpiece of their 2016 Chevrolet Volt marketing campaign.
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