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To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Chevrolet Volt was awarded the 2011 North American Car of the Year.
“It’s a great honor to be recognized as the North American Car of the Year,” said GM CEO Dan Akerson after being handed the award at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. “Since development began, we believed the Volt had the potential to transform the automotive industry. Today, the Volt is the first electric vehicle to win the prestigious North American Car of the Year award, and the first vehicle ever to receive the industry’s highest automotive, technology, and environmental recognitions.”
Apart for the Volt’s quantum leap in extended drive technology, it represents the new General Motors, recently emerged from bankruptcy and ready to take on the world’s finest yet again.
An American take on the electric car, the Volt delivers electric power for 25 to 50 miles, after which the gasoline engine kicks in to charge the lithium-ion battery pack an enable an additional 300 miles.
The announcement also follows on the heels of the Nissan Leaf (one of the other finalists for the 2011 North American Car of the Year award) being named European Car of the Year.
North American automotive publications have lauded the Volt, with the car recently winning the Motor Trend 2011 Car of the Year, as well as a very long list of other accolades from Popular Science, Car and Driver, Ward’s AutoWorld and the Green Car Journal (2011 Green Car of the Year).
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The short lists of nominees for the 2011 North American Car and Truck of the Year have just been announced with GM and Kia boasting three models, while Ford and Nissan have four models nominated (if you include Lincoln and Infiniti).
On the list for the 2011 North American Car of the Year are the Audi A8, Buick Regal, Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Volt, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Sonata/2.0T/Hybrid, Infiniti M37/56, Jaguar XJ, Kia Optima, Mazda 2, Nissan Juke, Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen Jetta and Volvo S60.
The 2011 North American Truck of the Year list includes the Dodge Durango, Ford Edge, Ford Explorer, Honda Odyssey, Hyundai Tucson, Infiniti QX56, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Kia Sorento, Kia Sportage, Lincoln MKX, Mercedes-Benz R-Class, Porsche Cayenne, Toyota Sienna and Volkswagen Touareg.
Of note, just three vehicles on the list contain unconventional powertrains, with those vehicles being the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. It’s also important to point out that Ford has just one car on the list and three vehicles in the truck category (if you include Lincoln).
The top three finalists in each category will be announced on December 16th with the winners being given their titles at the Detroit Auto Show in January.
Last year the Ford Fusion Hybrid won the North American Car of the Year Award, while the Ford Transit Connect took home North American Truck of the Year.