Congratulations to the Volt
I kinda seen this coming anyways. It was just meant to be.
GM -- derided in the 2006 documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car?" for its failure to make the EV1 a success in the 1990s -- today won the North American Car of the Year award for the Chevrolet Volt, an extended-range electric vehicle.
The Volt beat the pure electric Nissan Leaf and the Hyundai Sonata to win the coveted honor, which was announced at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
"From my perspective, the electrification of the automobile is something thatís not, per se, a fad," Tom Stephens, GM's vice chairman for global product operations, told reporters. "This is here to stay. And globally across the world you're going to be seeing a lot more with electrification."
The Volt, which stole the show when it was introduced as a concept vehicle at the 2007 Detroit auto show, is now being sold by dealers. The car uses a 400-pound battery pack to travel up to 40 miles on a single charge of electricity before a gas engine kicks in and helps power the car.
For GM, the victory is particularly sweet because it came in a competition with the Leaf, which Nissan launched to compete with the Volt. The Leaf is a pure electric car that can travel up to 100 miles on a charge of electricity.
Stephens said GM's experience with the EV1 generated invaluable lessons.
"We learned a lot, our people learned a lot and we were able to apply a lot of what we had learned -- especially in terms of electric motors, power electronics and those kinds of things -- that helped us do a much better job with the Volt in terms of quality, durability, performance," Stephens said.
The North American Car and Truck of the Year awards are judged by an independent group of 49 journalists from the U.S. and Canada. The awards are technically not affiliated with the Detroit auto show, but the announcement is made here every year.
The Ford Explorer was named Truck the Year, beating the Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
It's the third consecutive year Ford has won the award.
"When we first started talking about doing the next-generation Explorer -- whenever youíre dealing with one of the icons of the company -- we really set the bar high. The team did a fantastic job," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas.