Chevrolet Volt triumphs in Green Car of the Year award

The extended range electric vehicle finished ahead of BMW’s frugal 320d EfficientDynamics and the World Car of the Year, the Nissan Leaf to be named the best green car on the market.

In total, 66 respected automotive journalists helped produce a shortlist for the award, and th Chevrolet Volt was declared the eventual winner this week.

The Chevrolet Volt, which is on sale in the US and will arrive in the UK next year, runs on purely electric power courtesy of an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery pack.

However, unlike conventional electric cars, it also features a small petrol engine that charges the battery when the range is depleted.

This allows the range of the car to be extended to over 350 miles, more than three times the distance of the Nissan Leaf and other electric cars from Citroen and Peugeot.

“The selection of the Volt as the World Green Car is a further proof point of the fuel efficient technologies that are now being offered by the Chevrolet brand around the world,” said Rick Schiedt, Vice President of Chevrolet Marketing. “This award, and the others that have preceded it, validate the efforts of the development team to build a truly remarkable vehicle with the potential to transform transportation around the globe.”

A version of the Chevrolet Volt, rebadged as the Vauxhall Ampera, will also be sold in the UK from early 2012. However, the Ampera will boast one major difference to the Volt when it arrives.

It will feature a system that allows the car to travel using petrol-generated electricity first. Then, nearer to the end of journey the power can be switched to purely electric power for the final leg.

This allows people to use the petrol engine for motorway driving and then switch to electric if the journey ends in a city, where low speeds and constant stopping and starting is more prevalent.

The Vauxhall Ampera is expected to cost less than £30,000 when it goes on sale in the UK in 2012.