Green Car Journal, a USA quarterly publication focused on environmentally-friendly vehicles and technology, recently announced the 5 finalists for the 2015 Green Car of The Year award. The 10th annual award will take place at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show during the Press & Trade Days on November 20, 2014.
The automobiles that made the top 5 are the Audi A3 TDI, the plug-in hybrid BMW i3, the Chevrolet Impala Bi-Fuel, the Honda Fit and the Volkswagen Golf TDI.
"These five exceptional vehicles reflect an expanding 'green' car field that embraces diverse fuels and technologies as answers to a more efficient and low carbon future. Each offers a distinctly different approach to driving 'green' that appeals to buyers with varying needs and perspectives on how best to lessen environmental impact, while maintaining the joy of driving,” said Ron Cogan, Editor and Publisher of Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com.
The Audi A3 TDI is equipped with the brand's 2.0-liter TDI clean diesel engine that creates 150 PS and is mated to a 6-speed S-tronic transmission. No official efficiency figures have been posted by the company but according to Audi, their diesel engines delivered on average 30% better fuel economy than their gasoline counterparts since 2009.
Up next is the BMW i3 plug-in hybrid. It is powered by a 22kwh lithium-ion battery and an electric motor that gives the i3 170 PS with 250 Nm of torque and is connected to a single-speed transmission. Its total range varies from 130 – 160 km on a single charge and can be extended with the use of a 34 PS two-cylinder gasoline engine that maintains the charge of the lithium-ion battery should it reach low levels. With it, the range extends up to 300 km.
The third car to be nominated is the Chevrolet Impala Bi-Fuel. No exact specifications were mentioned by the 'Bowtie' brand but the car can run on either standard gasoline or compressed natural gas (CNG). When both tanks are full, the Impala has a maximum range of 805 km. also features a unique powertrain system that can seamlessly switch from CNG to gasoline should the CNG tank run out. Additionally, Chevrolet also stated that CNG has 20% less greenhouse gas emissions according to the California Air Resources Board.
The fourth car is the 2015 Honda Fit that is fitted with a 1.5-liter i-VTEC DOHC engine from the Earth Dreams series. It develops 132 PS at 6500 rpm with 154 Nm of torque at 4600 rpm and is connected to either a 6-speed manual or a CVT with paddle shifters. On city driving, it averages 14.03 km/l, 17.43km/l on highway speeds and has a combined fuel efficiency of 15.31 km/l.
The last of the finalists is the 7th generation Volkswagen Golf which will be sold in the USA as a 2015 MY. Its 2.0-liter TDI derivative produces 153 PS along with 320 Nm of torque. The standard model is mated to a 6-speed manual but can be equipped with the brand's DSG dual-clutch system. No fuel efficiency ratings have been stated by Volkswagen.