Why the Chevy Volt Won 2016 Green Car of the Year

Source: General Motors
Source: General Motors

November’s Los Angeles Auto Show is the place and time for judges to pick a Green Car of the Year winner from five finalists. For 2015, the redesigned Chevrolet Volt has won the award for the second time in its two-generation history. According to the Green Car Journal editors who voted, the 2016 Volt stood out for its technology, extended electric driving range, and overwhelming efficiencies compared to the field.

Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal, described the new Volt as “a milestone” that improved upon “an already technologically advanced ‘green’ car and delivering what buyers have longed for, including an impressive 53-mile driving range on a single charge.” In addition to these advances, Cogan went on to praise the Volt for its styling, onboard electronics, and addition of the fifth seat in the back.

For the Chevy Volt, the 2016 Green Car of the Year honor continues a streak that began when the first-generation model won in 2011. This time around, the Volt was the only car with a long-range electric vehicle powertrain. Rounding out the list were the Audi A3 e-tron, Honda Civic, Toyota Prius, and Hyundai Sonata, the last of which has a plug-in hybrid variant for 2016.

With diesel models running for cover as of late, the Volt delivered an all-around package that judges could not deny, even with the impressive fuel economy specs the new Prius and Honda Civic boast. In fact, this award is just the latest accolade in what could become a heavy haul for Chevy.

2016 Chevy Volt
Source: General Motors

Earlier in November, the 2016 Volt landed the Kelley Blue Book Best Buy for the electric and hybrid category. Priced below the outgoing model, the redesigned edition features more power, increased range, and an EV-like economy that makes it a true value for new car buyers.

The key to understanding the second-gen Volt is to think of it primarily as an electric vehicle. Whereas the first edition offered 38 miles in electric mode, the jump to 53 electric miles means most drivers will make 90% of trips without gasoline. In fact, in the largest electric vehicle study to date, researchers found Volt drivers ahead of Nissan Leaf drivers who had a pure EV at their disposal. Chevy has estimated that driving frugally, you can travel 1,000 miles between fill-ups with this car.

That means the new model will do even more in a marketplace that yearns for workhorses in the EV segment. According to drivers, critics, and most journalists, the 2016 Volt ticks all the boxes. Given the fact it will be released nationally in spring 2016, Green Car of the Year may be the latest of many awards the new Volt receives in the next few months.

Follow Eric on Twitter @EricSchaalNY