The Green Car Journal, in announcing the five finalists for the 2012 Green Car of the Year award, has revealed a wider focus for the award. Now in its seventh year, the Green Car of the Year designation honors environmental automotive leadership and the winner will be announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Nov. 17.
This year, the online magazine is looking at five finalists including the new Ford Focus Electric, Honda Civic Natural Gas, Mitsubishi i, Toyota Prius v and Volkswagen Passat TDI. That includes two all-electrics, a CNG vehicle, one hybrid and a diesel-powered car.
Just getting to the finals in the Green Car judging is a distinct honor as the field is growing with increasingly technological investment in environmentally conscientious automotibles with a growing variety of alternate fuels and propulsion modes.That is what’s remarkable about this years nominees is they represent different shades of ‘green.’
Honda’s Civic Natural Gas champions an alternative fuel that burns cleanly and is abundant in the U.S., though the distribution system is spotty. The Volkswagen Passat TDI expands the automaker’s new “clean diesel” vehicles that produce significantly lower greenhouse emissions while making progress on particulates and achieving high mileage ratings. The Prius v has expanded cargo space allowing it to compete with sexy Euro-wagons and marking the expansion of the Toyota Prius line into its own family of vehicles. Ford’s Focus Electric and Mitsubishi’s i are the newest zero-emission all-electric vehicles ready to burst out upon the American highways.
“This year’s Green Car of the Year finalists underscore that there is no single solution to our transportation challenges,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and editor of GreenCar.com. “Here we have five exceptional answers to the question of how we’re going to increase efficiencies, reduce tailpipe and CO2 emissions, and decrease petroleum use. These nominees deserve to be recognized for their unique approaches in providing consumers diverse choices as cars intelligently evolve toward a more environmentally-compatible motoring future.”
The editors had to consider a burgeoning field of potential awardees this year as dozens of models were considered for improved environmental impact and increased efficiency. All fuels and technologies are evaluated, including high-mpg gasoline and diesel models as well as those using gaseous fuels, electricity and other alternatives. Along with quantifiable environmental achievement, market significance and freshness are considered as the field of 2012 Green Car nominees is narrowed to a final five.
It is a competition that can only become more intense as auto manufacturers spend billions on research and development of new and greener tech.
A effort a month or so ago to find an electric car in Denver was completely fruitless – that is one you could actually test drive. There were and still are no Chevy Volts or Nissan Leafs in the Denver Market. The Tesla salon in Park Meadows had roadsters on hand, but test drives or even a Tesla S you could lay hands were not readily available.
The Fisker is coming to Rickenbaugh Cadillac and Volvo showrooms at Broadway and Speer, in the next couple weeks and the Mitsubishi I should begin to hit showrooms sometime next year along with the Ford Focus Electric.
The 2012 VW Jetta TDI is available with a special offer for a limited time at both Tynan and McDonald Volkswagen showrooms, if your currently looking to add some green cachet to your ride.
Green Car of the 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 2012 jury.