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Electrification Defines 2017 ‘Green Car of the Year’

With public acceptance and subsequent production momentum finally taking hold in the North America Hybrid, EV car and light truck segment, “electrification” dominates this year’s Green Car of the Year. A sign of the times? Perhaps.

Tuesday morning finds an announcement from the Los Angeles Auto Show listing Green Car Journal’s 2017 “Green Car of the Year” finalist - there all electrified, a first, in recent memory anyway. Say what you will, “EV” is here to stay and will become more prevalent on the road as the auto industry embraces alternative powered vehicles in the quest for C.A.R.B. compliance, near zero car-produced air pollution, and independence from carbon base derived fuels.

BMW 330 iE, Chevy Bolt, Chrysler Pacifica, Kia Optima,Toyota Prius Prime

Torque News spoke with Green Car Journal's founder and publisher Ron Cogan last week about Chevy Bolt, the progress at BMW and what this year’s finalist bring to their respective segments. What we don’t find here is an entry from Honda, the brand that introduced the first mainstream hybrid gasoline/electric to America back in 1999. Ron further states that a car or light truck need not be electrified to be considered for “Green Car of the Year.”

A vehicle need not be electrified for consideration in this competition. As demonstrated in past years, a substantial increase in fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, regardless of how achieved, is a key to the initial participant selection process.

In the words of Ron Cogan

"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 Finalists:

BMW 330e iPerformance

The BMW 330e iPerformance adds a plug-in hybrid drive system to the BMW 3 Series. The use of an electric motor with the BMW TwinPower Turbo inline 4-cylinder engine results in a total system output of 248 hp and 310 lb-ft 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.

Chevrolet Bolt

The Bolt EV offers a breakthrough EPA-estimated 238 miles of range on a full electric charge, the first production electric vehicle to achieve a 200-plus mile driving range. It features an array of advanced connected technologies designed to enhance and personalize the driving experience. A Regen on Demand feature allows the driver to use a steering wheel paddle to initiate more aggressive regenerative braking to slow down without using the brake pedal, while transferring electrical energy back to the battery.

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