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: