Finalists for 2015 Green Car of the Year Reveal Diverse Tech Strategies

The five finalists for the 2015 Green Car of the Year award were announced earlier this week. The award is given out every year at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The finalists give clear evidence that green comes in many shades—using a diverse set of technologies and fuels, including electric, natural gas, diesel and even plain ol’ gasoline when efficiently burned.

In more than one case, a single model can use multiple fuels. For example, the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf is available with a 2.0-liter clean diesel system, an efficient four-cylinder engine, and in select markets, a pure electric powertrain. The EV version is called E-Golf (shown above), the first of many battery-powered vehicles expected from VW.

The award committee, organized by the Green Car Journal magazine, also put the Audi A3 TDI on the finalist list. Like the diesel Golf, the A3 DI also uses a 2.0-liter diesel engine.

The all-electric BMW i3 is also a finalist. In a sense, the fuel diversification theme continues with the i3—because it’s available either as a pure no-tailpipe electric car, or with a small optional range-extending engine that holds a small tank of gasoline on reserve to extend the EV’s 80-mile range for an additional 80 miles. Engineers also increased efficiency by using a lightweight carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) body on an aluminum space frame for the BMW platform.

Meanwhile, the Chevrolet Impala Bi-Fuel, another finalist, gives drivers of the popular mid-size four-door sedan the ability to switch between natural gas and conventional gasoline.

Finally, the third-generation Honda Fit makes the list. The Fit has long been respected for providing big utility from a small car. It leads its class of compacts in interior space, while offering 41 miles per gallon on the highway—not from electricity, diesel or natural gas, but from a highly efficiency 1.5-liter gasoline engine.

The winner will be announced on Nov. 20 at the L.A. auto show.

Article by Brad Berman, appearing courtesy ebay Green Driving.

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