This auto news story is hot off the presses. The BMW i3 beat out the Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S to be named 2015 Green Car of the Year at the Los Angeles Auto Show Thursday, November 20th.
The finalists for this year’s award included the diesel Audi A3 TDI, the Chevrolet Impala Bi-Fuel which runs on gasoline and natural gas, the Honda Fit and the VW Golf.
The Green Car of the Year award is presented by the Green Car Journal, a magazine focused electric, hybrid and other fuel-efficient automobiles. The Honda Accord, Ford Fusion and the Chevrolet Volt can be mentioned among earlier winners.
Statement from Green Car Journal Editor
Green Car Journal editor Ron Cogan commented in a statement after the award Thursday. “The BMW i3 is a milestone vehicle in many respects and illustrates the automaker’s expansive vision of future motoring.”
Details on the BMW i3 2015 Green Car of the Year
The BMW i3 is offered in two versions — an all-electric version and a version with an added two-cylinder gas engine that significantly extends the range. Of note, the all-electric version of the BMW i3 is the only plug-in car to win the award.
In a singular honor, the electric version was touted the most efficient vehicle ever rated the EPA. It gets 124 “miles per gallon equivalent,” a measure of the distance a vehicle travels on an amount of energy equivalent to a gallon of gasoline. The i3 is very lightweight as it is largely composed of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic and aluminum.
The all-electric version can travel around 81 miles on a full electric charge. According to the EPA, when you add the two-cylinder gasoline engine, the BMW i3 can travel more than 150 miles using both the battery and gas reserves.
To qualify for the Green Car of the Year award, a vehicle must be all-new or have significant changes for the new model year.
The i3 is part of BMW’s “i” series of electric cars, which also includes the BMW i8, a more expensive sports car. You can buy an i3 in the U.S. starting around $41,000.