Green Car Finalists Announced

Battery power vies with diesel, CNG and advanced gas options.

by on Oct.21, 2014

The BMW i3 is one of five cars up for the 2015 Green Car of the Year award at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

There’s been plenty of attention paid to electric vehicles over the last several years, but not all green machines have a battery under the hood.

To underscore that point, just check out the five finalists for the 2015 Green Car of the Year. The nominees for the annual award, which will be presented at the Los Angeles Motor Show next month, present a mix of alternatives that include not only the requisite EVs, but also a diesel, a bi-fuel package and a conventional gasoline-powered model. The list is dominated by three European models with one each from Japan and the U.S.

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“These five exceptional vehicles reflect an expanding ‘green’ car field that embraces diverse fuels and technologies as answers to a more efficient and low carbon future,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com. “Each offers a distinctly different approach to driving ‘green’ that appeals to buyers with varying needs and perspectives on how best to lessen environmental impact, while maintaining the joy of driving.”

The five finalists include:

  • The 2015 Honda Fit the only gas-only powered Green Car of the Year nominee.

    The Audi A3 TDI, the German luxury maker’s new entry-lux sedan here powered by a 2.0-liter clean diesel;

  • The BMW i3 is an electric city car that It uses a super-light carbon fiber body to extend range. It also can also be purchased with a gasoline range-extender engine;
  • The Chevrolet Impala Bi-Fuel package is one of a small but growing number of models that can be run on gasoline or natural gas;
  • The Honda Fit is an unexpectedly spacious subcompact that also gets up to 41 mpg on the highway using Honda’s new 1.5-liter Earth Dreams gasoline engine.
  • The Volkswagen Golf is VW’s seventh-generation small car and will be offered in electric drive in some part of the country, as well as with diesel and gas engine options.

The finalists for Green Car of the Year were announced a week after the cover was lifted on the five Green Truck of the Year finalists.

(Click Here to find out who is up for that award.)

The Green Car choices were picked by a jury that includes celebrities and auto enthusiasts, such as long-time talk show host and car collector Jay Leno, environmental advocate Jean-Michel Cousteau, Alan Lloyd, President Emeritus of the International Council on Clean Transportation, and others.

(Ford the latest to cut prices on EVs as it knocks $6K off Focus EV. For more, Click Here.)

All vehicles must be on sale by the end of this year and must have the potential to have a mass market, rather than niche impact.

That may explain why Hyundai’s new Tucson Fuel Cell Vehicle did not make the cut.

(To see why NHTSA is expanding the Takata airbag recall, Click Here.)

Over the years, the Green Car of the Year award has delivered more than a few surprises. Publisher Cogan and his colleagues have routinely sidestepped conventional wisdom and popular trends, diesel models landing the trophy in years when there were higher-profile battery-cars among the finalists.

The award will be presented on Nov. 20, during the media preview of the Los Angeles Motor Show.

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