Environmental Awards for Electric Cars
by Yvonne Hawkins
In response to the growing acknowledgment of the environmental impact of fuel emissions, most successful automobile manufacturers are stepping up their game and creating electric vehicles that aren't entirely dependent upon gasoline. In honor of those electric vehicles (or EVs) that are pushing the limits in environmentally conscious technology, several awards are presented each year. Experts in the automotive industry judge vehicles on their fuel consumption, emissions and overall innovation in order to distinguish the best "green" vehicles produced.
Gasoline versus electricity
Green Car of the Year
Initiated in 2005, this award is presented annually by the Green Car Journal--an innovative publication that highlights environmental achievement in the automotive industry. This award program was created to acknowledge low-emission, alternative-fuel vehicles that have exceeded expectations in environmentally friendly technologies. The winner of the Green Car of the Year award is announced annually at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and after five nominees are carefully assessed and evaluated, the most deserving vehicle is chosen and awarded the title of Green Car of the Year. Former winners include the Volkswagen Jetta TDI clean diesel, the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, and the Toyota Camry Hybrid.
The Green Car Vision Award
This award is also presented by the Green Car Journal and recognizes new and upcoming technologies in the world of automobile transportation. It is geared toward concept vehicles in small-volume production or in the beginning stages of establishment with at least two existing functional models, or existing vehicles that have been innovated and enhanced through green technology. In 2008 the Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell Vehicle won the award due to its zero tailpipe emissions and possibility for commercialization.
World Green Car of the Year
This award was inaugurated in 2003 and officially initiated in 2004. It is a smaller category under the overall World Car of the Year program and is organized and administered by a nonprofit organization that is guided by automotive journalists from around the globe. This award aims to recognize automobiles that exist in a global market rather than those limited to regional developments. In order for a vehicle to be eligible for this pristine award, it must 1) be available in at least one major market during the previous year and 2) be in production or an experimental prototype with potential near-future application, given that it is released for individual or press evaluations in quantities of 10 or more for the previous year. Emissions, fuel economy and the vehicle's overall environmental responsibility are all factors evaluated when a winner is chosen. Some previous winners include the BMW 118d, Honda FCX Clarity and the Volkswagen Bluemotion.
The Environmental Transport Association's Green Car Awards
The Environmental Transport Association created the Car Buyer's Guide in 1992 due to growing interest in alternative fuel vehicles; it is a free online guide that highlights the environmental performance of vehicles on the market in Britain. They present an annual award to the most environmentally conscious vehicle available, according to the guide. Fuel consumption, emissions, noise and costs to own and maintain the vehicle are taken into consideration when choosing the overall winner. There are also category-specific winners ranging from large family vehicles to luxury vehicles. Previous overall winners include the Toyota Yaris and the Honda New Insight.