DETROIT, MI — Automotive journalists have named General Motors' Chevy Volt the 2011 North American Car of the Year, heaping another kudo on the hybrid electric vehicle that's also won recognition as Motor Trend's Car of the Year and the Green Car Journal's Green Car of the Year.
Forty-nine automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada representing magazines, newspapers, web sites and television and radio news outlets cast ballots for the title that was announced Monday at the 23rd annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
In the voting, the Volt received 233 points. That was 70 more than the next closest vehicle among the finalists for the North American Car of the Year honor -- the Hyundai Sonata earned 163 points and the Nissan Leaf electric car, 94 points. The automotive writers also named the Ford Explorer the 2011 North American Truck of the Year.
"It's a great honor to be recognized as the North American Car of the Year," GM CEO Dan Akerson said in a statement on Monday. "Since development began, we believed the Volt had the potential to transform the automotive industry. Today, the Volt is the first electric vehicle to win the prestigious North American Car of the Year award and the first vehicle ever to receive the industry's highest automotive, technology and environmental recognitions."
The Volt was introduced as a concept car in 2007 and brought to market in December 2010. The car's major accolades include being listed:
- Among Car and Driver 10 Best Cars for 2011
- Among Ward's AutoWorld 10 Best Engines for 2011
- As Automobile magazine's 2011 Automobile of the Year
- Among Popular Mechanics's 2010 Breakthrough Technology award winners
The Volt has consistently snagged headlines as well as industry recognition. On GreenBiz.com, recent coverage includes Claudia Girrbach's behind-the-scenes look at what it took to bring the Volt to market and Managing Editor Matthew Wheeland's article about GM's plan to recycle oil booms used in the Gulf oil spill cleanup and make them into air deflectors for the Volt's radiator.
The Volt has a driving range of as much as 379 miles based on EPA estimates that are calculated with the car starting out with a full tank and fully charged. Under those conditions, the Volt can be driven for its initial 35 miles without gas- and tailpipe-emissions by using the full charge of electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the energy stored in the battery runs low, the car operates on its gas-powered engine/generator to enable as many as 344 miles of further travel.
Image courtesy of General Motors.