Chevy Volt Named 2011 “Green Car of the Year”

Today was a remarkable day for General Motors Company. On Wall Street, the automaker’s long-awaited IPO netted the company more than $20 billion with upwards of 452 million shares traded. Meanwhile, at the Los Angeles auto show, GM’s Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric hybrid was named the 2011 “Green Car of the Year” by Green Car Journal.

On its Web site, Green Car Journal says it chose the annual auto show as the backdrop for its awards presentations because, “The L.A. Auto Show epitomizes car culture and, importantly, showcases the trends that continually shape our driving future.”

The Chevrolet Volt edged out four other finalists, the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and Nissan LEAF, to take the top honor. Judges for this year’s award included “Tonight Show” host and noted auto enthusiast Jay Leno, legendary automotive designer Carroll Shelby and Natural Resources Defense Council president Frances Beinecke.

Earlier this month, the Volt was named “Car of the Year” by Motor Trend and “Automobile of the Year” by Automobile magazine which will present the award to GM’s marketing boss, Joel Ewanick at the Los Angeles auto show tomorrow. GM won the coveted “Car of the Year” award in 2008 for its Cadillac CTS. The automaker had not won “Automobile of the Year” since 2001 when another Chevrolet model, the Corvette Z06, took home the award.

Although the Volt is, technically speaking, a hybrid vehicle, GM is touting it as the first electric vehicle to win the “Green Car of the Year” award. Green Car Journal editor and publisher Ron Cogan isn’t splitting hairs over the Volt’s classification either. Cogan said, “This has been a long time coming. 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.”

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

The Volt made its public debut as a concept model at the 2007 Detroit auto show. Later that year, GM began product development for the Voltec electric drive system.

The Volt is scheduled to arrive in dealer showrooms next month.

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