The Chevrolet Volt – LA Auto Show’s Green Car of the Year 2011

Green is the buzz word in the motoring industry at the moment, and with good reason. The amount of pollution, or carbon footprint, created by every day motoring is wreaking our environment, and that’s not supposition, that’s a fact. Our air is becoming so polluted it is reaching crisis point, and finally the car trade have grasped this fact and producing a new range of hybrid and eco friendly vehicles.

Some are successful, some fall by the wayside, as is the way of the world. One car, however, has made such an impression that is has recently walked away with the Green Car of the Year Award for 2011 at the LA Auto Show. This car is the Chevrolet Volt, and it beat off stiff competition from the Nissan Leaf, and put to an end the run of success that powertrain diesel vehicles had enjoyed.

The Green Car of the Year Awards have been running for few years now, and previous winners include the Volkswagen Jetta TDI and the Audi A3 TDI. The whole aim is to make these eco-friendly cars mainstream rather than keep them in the niche market. To have the desired impact on the environment, these cars need to break out of the minority and become the majority, not an easy task but one which the industry in embracing.

The Chevy Volt is an aesthetically pleasing car that when parked alongside others, gives no indication at first glance that it is actually an electric hybrid vehicle. It is manufactured by General Motors and first went on sale in the US in selected markets during December 2010. It is by far the most fuel efficient compact car for sale in the States, as decreed by the EPA, Environment Protection Agency of the USA.

As you would expect with an electric car, you have to plug in the Chevy Volt to charge the lithium ion battery, and depending on the speed you are driving at you can travel for between 25 and 50 miles on one charge. To back up the battery this 5 door hatchback has a 1.4L cylinder engine, with a fuel efficiency of 44mpg. As the electric equivalent is 93mpg the average efficiency rating given to the Chevy Volt is an impressive 60mpg.

One of the main obstacles in green motoring has been the price of the vehicles, as with all new technology the price starts high then gradually drops as more and more embrace it. Whilst the Chevy Volt is not exactly cheap, with an RRP of around $43,000, it comes in a lot cheaper than many of its rivals, and thanks to the many incentives for motorists to go green; this cost can drop even further.

The Chevy Volt will be hitting the UK around May of 2012 and sold as the Vauxhall Ampera. The price is expected to be around £33,000, and a reported revamp of the current, and uninspiring, Government incentives to turn to greener motoring could reduce the price further.

Article published for Chevrolet.