In light of the recent diesel emissions test-cheating scandal, it’s not a surprise the 2016 Green Car of the Year award will be contested by a couple electric vehicles, and couple hybrids and a conventional gasoline car.
Up for the award presented annually (since 2005) at the Los Angeles Auto Show are the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron and Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric cars, the Toyota Prius hybrid, the conventional gasoline-fed Honda Civic, and the Hyundai Sonata (which covers just about every alternative with its gasoline, hybrid and now a new plug-in hybrid models).
The extended-range Audi offers up to 31 km of dedicated electric range before getting support from a 1.4-litre four cylinder gasoline engine, while the new second generation Volt can go up to 85 km before its 1.5L “four” kicks in for support.
The Prius is also new for 2016, and though only the new sedan/hatchback has been announced, it is expected to expand into the various compact, wagon and plug-in models that are available in the current generation.
The Sonata redesigned last year gets new Hybrid and plug-in versions for the coming model year, as well as soldiering on with one of the most efficient conventional four-cylinder engine line-ups in the business. Conventional is the only optional for the new Civic, which is also to expand into Hybrid territory in the near future.
The Green Car of the Year awards are voted on by a jury of noted environment and efficient-energy leaders.
Jury members include Jean-Michel Cousteau (president of Ocean Futures Society), Dr. Alan Lloyd (President Emeritus of the International Council on Clean Transportation) and Kateri Callahan (President of the Alliance to Save Energy), among others. Celebrity car collector Jay Leno also sits on the jury charged with picking the winner of the award.
“This is the strongest field of finalists we’ve seen in our annual Green Car of the Year program,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com, whose editors pared down an extensive list of vehicles to the final five.
“Each of the five nominees makes a strong environmental statement in distinctly different ways, with a common strategy of recognizing what’s most important to today’s drivers. Their use of wide-ranging powertrain technologies underscores that all approaches are essential to achieving important environmental goals,” he concluded.