2014 World Green Car of the Year is...

green car cake
CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Rachel Gardner

What's the 2014 World Green Car of the Year? No, it's not that chocolate cake above. Yes, it is of course an electric car. (How could it be otherwise these days?)

Since the car had to be a new model, some top electric cars were out of the running. Electric car veterans that couldn't compete included the Tesla Model S (a previous winner), Nissan LEAF (should have been a previous winner, imho), and Chevy Volt (a previous winner). However, another electric car that we've been writing about quite a lot these days was eligible. I'll drop a few clues about the car before sharing the news:

    It was built electric from the ground up. (That is, it's not a modified version of a model originally built to run on gasoline.)
    The starting price in the US is $41,350 (€34,950 in Germany).
    It is supposed to have a range of about 81 to 100 miles (130–161 kilometers) on a full charge.
    It can go from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 60 mph) in around 7 seconds. (But, of course, has instant torque.)
    It's the nicest electric car (er... car of any type) I've ever driven. (Note: I haven't yet driven the Tesla Model S.)
    Its body is made with carbon fiber, some of its interior with recycled plastic bottles, and one interior option includes Eucalyptus wood in place of plastic.
    High demand for the electric vehicle recently pushed the manufacturer to increase daily production from about 70 cars to about 100, the manufacturer announced about a week ago. "The current production rate translates to about 20,000 vehicles for the full year, almost twice as much as [the manufacturer's] initial sales forecast," TreeHugger Sami wrote at that time.
    It looks like this:

Zachary Shahan/CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Yep, that's the BMW i3 (and me on the side). If you're curious, amongst electric cars, other than the BMW i3, I've driven the Nissan LEAF, VW e-Up!, Smart Electric Drive, and Renault Twizy. The nicest non-electric car I've driven was probably a Mercedes SLK. But how about some more information from the car experts who ranked the BMW i3 #1 amongst new "green" cars?

Bridgestone Corporation, a Japan-based multinational auto and truck parts manufacturer, is actually the company behind the ranking. However, the judges included Phil Berg (USA - PopularMechanics.com); Richard Bremner (U.K. Autocar magazine), Claus-Peter Koeth (Germany - automobil-industrie.de); Yumi Kawabata (Japan-environmental journalist); and John Voelcker (USA - GreenCarReports.com). The biggest factor for the judges is overall green cred. However, they also take into consideration other matters regarding style and drive quality. This year, the options were initially narrowed down to 14 cars, and then were again narrowed down to a final 3. Those final 3 were the BMW i3; the Audi A3 Sportback g-tron; and the Volkswagen XL1. Why'd the BMW i3 win? The judging panel stated:

“Radical in looks, construction, and powertrain, the BMW i3 is one of very few clean-sheet-of-paper cars designed from the ground up for efficiency, with the different needs of the new century’s megacities in mind. From its last-kilometer navigation system to take drivers from car to destination, to the shipped-around-the-world carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic body shell without a B-pillar, the BMW i3 pushes boundaries on many fronts.”

I think this is no real surprise to those who follow the electric car industry, but yet another reason to consider the i3 for your next vehicle purchase.

Here are some i3 commercials to get you even more excited about BMW's first mass-manufactured electric car:

It's not the BMW i8, but it's about 30% the price!

Tags: BMW | Electric Cars | Electric Vehicles | Energy Efficiency

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