The BMW i3 was named Green Car Journal’s 2015 Green Car of the Year at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week. The i3 beat out the Audi A3 TDI, Chevrolet Impala Bi-Fuel, Honda Fit, and VW Golf to win the award.
The Green Car Of The Year award takes into account not only a car’s environmental friendliness but also its “availability to the mass market.” Unlike many other EV’s, the i3 can be found at BMW dealers everywhere in America. It is the first electric vehicle to win the award.
“BMW’s i3 is a milestone vehicle in many respects and illustrates the automaker’s expansive vision of future motoring,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com. “It is purposefully designed with a small environmental footprint and zero emissions, offering the best features of an electric vehicle with the functionality of an available on board engine-generator that nearly doubles its battery electric range.”
In the world of EV’s, weight is a critical consideration. BMW’s decision to use carbon fiber extensively instead of steel or aluminum to build the i3 means it weighs hundreds of pounds less than its competitors. Avid car collector and enthusiast Jay Leno was one of the members of the panel that chose the i3 for the award. He said at the award ceremony, “Unlike other manufacturers that build vehicles and then create advanced powertrains to go in them, BMW rethought the whole process of building a car from the ground-up, using new materials and techniques.”
The BMW i3 with range extender is rated 117 MPGe with an EV range of 72-miles. In gasoline powered mode, it is rated at 39 mpg. The EV-only version is rated 124 MPGe combined (137 in the city and 111 on the highway) and has an EV range of 81 miles.
The i3 is enjoying strong sales in the US, prompting BMW to allocate more of them to the American market. Now, if they could just get that sticker price down from $41,350, I might be willing to sign on the dotted line and put one in my own driveway.