The finalists for the 2011 Green Car of the Year award have been announced and unlike in years past there’s a lot of competition, not to mention a lot at stake. Some serious heavyweights are on the list for 2011 including the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt. Other finalists include the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. Interestingly, the Ford Fiesta has also made it through to the top five and is the only vehicle of the group that doesn’t incorporate some sort of electric drive. Notably absent this year are any diesel offerings.
The Leaf is touted as the world’s first mass-production electric car with a 100 mile range, while the Volt is able to travel anywhere from 20-50 miles on electric power before the gasoline engine kicks in to charge the battery packs and add an additional 300 mile range. Lincolns MKZ Hybrid is rated at 41/36-mpg (city/highway), while the Sonata Hybrid achieves 37/40-mpg. As for the Fiesta, it can achieve up to 40-mpg on the highway using conventional internal combustion technology.
“These five 2011 Green Car of the Year finalists reflect an auto industry in transition,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and editor of GreenCar.com. “It wasn’t long ago when electric drive was a novelty. Now, it’s expected that auto manufacturers will include electric drive in some form among their model offerings.”
According to the Green Car Journal nominees, “must stand out as exemplary models that forward environmental performance in meaningful and quantifiable ways,” while the “newness” of the technology and its ability to penetrate the market are also important.
The winner of the 2011 Green Car of the Year award will be chosen by a panel of judges that include 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. And let’s not forget Jay Leno and Carroll Shelby and the editors of the Green Car Journal.
The winner of the award will be announced at the LA Auto Show on November 18th. We do, however, suggest you take the announcement of the winner with a grain of salt, as last year’s winner was Audi A3 TDI.
Official release after the jump:
2011 Green Car of the Year® Finalists Revealed
LOS ANGELES – Oct. 21, 2010 – Green Car Journal announced today its five finalists for the 2011 Green Car of the Year®, including the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and the 2011 Nissan LEAF. For the sixth consecutive year, this increasingly important award will be announced during a press conference at the LA Auto Show Press Days on Nov. 18.
The Green Car of the Year® award is a program that honors environmental leadership in the automobile field and recognizes vehicles that become available to consumers during the award year. For the first time, the Green Car of the Year® finalists include two primarily electric-drive vehicles in addition to two hybrids and a high mile-per-gallon, gasoline internal combustion engine.
“These five 2011 Green Car of the Year® finalists reflect an auto industry in transition,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and editor of GreenCar.com. “It wasn’t long ago when electric drive was a novelty. Now, it’s expected that auto manufacturers will include electric drive in some form among their model offerings.”
While four of the five Green Car of the Year® nominees do incorporate electric drive, the Ford Fiesta nominee underscores that internal combustion continues to evolve in important ways. This hatchback achieves up to 40 EPA estimated highway fuel economy, running on conventional gasoline. Along with vehicles incorporating electric drive, a new generation of internal combustion gasoline and clean diesel models are expected to push efficiencies ever higher in the coming years.
Dozens of potential nominees weighed in during the selection process. Green Car Journal editors considered vehicles employing all fuels and technologies in the effort to raise the bar in environmental performance, including high efficiency gasoline internal combustion, advanced diesel, hybrids, electrics and vehicles capable of running on alternative fuels. In the Green Car of the Year® program, nominees must stand out as exemplary models that forward environmental performance in meaningful and quantifiable ways. Market significance and “newness” are also factors. All nominees must be on sale by January 1 of the award year.
Jurors include leaders of the nation’s top environmental organizations, including 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.
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.