If there is a car contest that gets tougher every year, this one has to be it. The Green Car of the Year award will be handed out at the LA Auto Show next week. This year’s five finalists include some impressive vehicles on the eco-friendly front.
The awards, handed out by the Green Car Journal, honor the most important “green” vehicle of the year. The 2017 models duking it out for top billing include the BMW 330e, Chevrolet Bolt, Chrysler Pacifica, Kia Optima and the Toyota Prius Prime. The contest gets harder every year as more new vehicles offer better efficiency.
“This year’s Green Car of the Year® finalists clearly represent the momentum that electrification is experiencing in the auto industry,” said Ron Cogan, Editor and Publisher of Green Car Journal and GreenCarJournal.com. “Whether it’s all-electric, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or a combination of these powertrains plus conventional gasoline engines within a model line, electrification is now considered by most automakers an essential technology for current and future high-efficiency models.”
The winner is chosen by a panel that includes car enthusiast Jay Leno and a bunch of environmental leaders. We’ll find out which car wins at the LA Auto Show on Thursday, November 17.
BMW 330e iPerformance
The BMW 330e iPerformance is a plug-in hybrid version of the BMW 3 Series. It shares its powertrain with the TwinPower Turbo inline 4-cylinder engine to make 248-horses and 310 pound-feet of torque . The BMW 330e iPerformance accelerates from 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds and reaches a top speed of 140 mph. Pure-electric driving is possible at speeds up to 75 mph with a range of approximately 14 miles and combined fuel efficiency of 71 MPGe when driving on batteries.
This fall Chevrolet surprised everyone by announcing the Bolt would make an EPA-rated 238-miles on a full charge. Definitely more than the 200-mile mark first promised. You’ll also be able to drive it with one pedal, meaning drivers can control both acceleration and braking with one pedal under some conditions. It allows for the highest level of regenerative braking, which captures otherwise lost energy from deceleration and sends it back to the battery pack.
The Chrysler Pacifica hybrid makes the list as the first of its kind in its class. The big deal is FCA’s innovative dual-motor electrically variable transmission. It features two electric motors — both of which are capable of driving the vehicle’s wheels. It offers 80 MPGe efficiency, a 30-mile electric driving range, and a total driving range of 530 miles with combined battery power and its V6 powertrain. It can be charged in as little as two hours with an available 240v charger.
Kia is getting points for greening up its lineup with the new Optima Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid. They have an electric motor and a new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder under the hood. The plug-in model has a larger battery pack than the standard hybrid to allow up to 27 miles of all-electric driving before the plug-in model reverts back into its efficient hybrid mode.
Toyota Prius Prime
The new 2017 Toyota Prius Prime plug-in features up to 22 miles of battery electric range. That’s double that of the original Prius plug-in. It features quad-LED headlights and a fancy new taillight design that has a rear spoiler LED glow. Toyota also says it boasts a Toyota-first carbon fiber rear hatch and dual wave rear window for better aerodynamics.
Photo Credit: Toyota, BMW, Chevrolet, Kia, Chrysler