Chevrolet Volt Named 2011 Green Car of the Year

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt has been named Green Car Journal’s 2011 Green Car of the Year.

The Volt stood out in a stellar field of hybrid, electric and low emission vehicles that all feature exceptional efficiency and innovation in their approach to reducing the automobile’s impact on the environment, according to a statement issued Thursday from Los Angeles Auto Show. 

The Volt is the first-ever electric vehicle to take top prize. This award welcomes a new genre of mass-production electric vehicles, says the statement.

[ Also Read: Five Finalists for Green Car of the Year Award ]

Tech major IBM reveals that its software and simulation tools helped General Motors (GM) engineers design and develop the software in the advanced control systems on the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, which was designed and engineered in just 29 months. (Read: IBM Software Drives Chevrolet Volt)

As the action is getting hot in the electric vehicles segment, major auto companies around the world are introducing their new models.

Toyota’s comprehensive technology strategy, for example, is a portfolio approach that includes a long-term commitment to hydrogen fuel cells, plug-in hybrids and battery electrics all driven by the further proliferation of conventional gas-electric hybrids, like Prius, as its core technology.

Toyota has announced that coinciding with the arrival of the RAV4 EV in 2012, it will launch, in key global markets, the Prius PHV (plug-in hybrid) and a small EV (Electric Vehicle) commuter vehicle. (Read: Toyota Plans to Produce New Electric Vehicles)

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation also decided to host the world premiere of the North American version of its i-MiEV new-generation electric vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show. (Read: Mitsubishi i-MiEV at the LA Auto Show)

“This has been a long time coming,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and editor of

“The electric vehicles that were test marketed in the 1990s tantalized us, but were without a solid business case. What a difference a decade makes. Now, Chevrolet has stepped up with an all-encompassing package in its Volt extended range electric car – a car deserving of the title 2011 Green Car of the Year.”

[ Also Read: Over 50 Vehicles to Get Unveiled at LA Auto Show ]

The Volt’s Voltec propulsion system is capable of delivering 25 to 50 miles of all-electric driving on a single charge before a gasoline-powered on-board generator provides electricity to power the wheels for an additional 300 miles.

This ability to allow extended electric drive range after the car’s batteries are exhausted is an important element that helps address the ‘range anxiety’ that some fear with battery-powered electric cars.

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“The Green Car of the Year award validates the Chevrolet team’s promise to deliver a practical electric vehicle,” said Joel Ewanick, VP, U.S. Marketing, General Motors. “The Volt’s a transformational technology that will lead our industry into a new age of vehicle electrification.”

The Green Car of the Year jury, comprised of six environmental and automotive experts along with Green Car Journal editors, selected the 2011 Chevrolet Volt from a field of five finalists that also included the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, and Nissan LEAF. 

Green Car of the Year honors are reserved for exemplary vehicles that forward environmental performance in meaningful and quantifiable ways, with all nominees on sale by Jan. 1 of the award year.

This year’s jurors include the following leaders of the top environmental organizations: 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 2011 jury.

Green Car Journal has been unveiling the Green Car of the Year winner at the LA Auto Show every year since it initiated the annual award in 2005.

RMN News

Rakesh Raman