The Green Car of the Year award is a program designed by Green Car Diary recognize and honor vehicles that demonstrate environmental leadership. For the sixth year in a row, the winner will be announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 18, 2011. This year, the 2011 nominees have been narrowed down to five finalists consisting of a pure electric vehicle, a plug-in hybrid. , two hybrids and a vehicle that only runs on gasoline.
Representing the electric vehicle phenomenon, the 2011 Nissan Leaf is the first pure electric vehicle to be named a finalist. Powered by an 80-kilowatt synchronous motor using a 24-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the Leaf is estimated to get 100 miles per charge. The battery can be charged with a special 220-volt charger in four to eight hours. The five-seater midsize hatchback is a zero-emission vehicle that has consumers eager for its arrival. In fact, the 20,000 sheets assigned to the US have already been reserved.
The number two finalist is the 2011 Chevrolet Volt. The Volt is a plug-in battery / gasoline hybrid hatchback that can be powered without emissions for approximately 40 miles from its lithium-ion battery pack alone. Full charge requires four hours using a 240-volt line or ten hours using a 120-volt line, and after the electrical power has been fully used, the Volt can continue to run for up to an additional 300 miles on gas.
Hyundai’s first hybrid, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata, is number three on the list. The family sedan is a full hybrid that uses advancements in lithium polymer battery technology. While the EPA has yet to determine fuel economy figures for the sleek hybrid, the automaker estimates 37/40 mpg city / highway. Its Direct Hybrid Blue Drive system can be driven with zero emissions and an all-electric drive mode at speeds up to 62 mph or a gas-electric mode at any speed. The 2011 Sonata Hybrid also features regenerative braking.
The second hybrid in the top five is the 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. This luxurious hybrid packs a host of standard amenities and achieves an impressive 41/36 mpg city / highway. The MKZ is powered by a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle I-4 hybrid engine and a nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery. The NiMH-driven electric motor can withstand speeds up to 47 mph. Also included is a regenerative braking system that captures energy and uses it to recharge the high-voltage battery.
Rounding out the top five is the only gasoline-powered vehicle, the 2011 Ford Fiesta. The compact Fiesta features a fuel-efficient 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that uses its aerodynamic shape to minimize air resistance and improve fuel efficiency. fuel. The vehicle has an EPA class-leading 40 mpg highway rating credited to its six-speed PowerShift automatic transmission.
Altogether, the 2011 Green Car of the Year boasts an impressive lineup. With first-time EV finalists and previous winners conspicuously absent, such as diesel and hydrogen / fuel cell vehicles, the title is up for grabs. The cars will be judged by a jury ranging from Jay Leno to the president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, with the winner finally being announced on November 18, 2011.