BMW i3 Wins At The 2013 Next Green Car Awards, As Does The Tesla Model S, Nissan LEAF

AUG 15 2013 BY JAY COLE 8

What are the Next Green Car Awards?  The group bills itself as “…the most scientifically based green car Awards in the UK.”  While noting that the awards are given in eight vehicle segments including a ‘Next Generation’ category, which highlights new technology models close to market launch.

BMW i3 Interior Seating Arrangement

BMW i3 Interior Seating Arrangement

The upcoming BMW i3 took home the supermini prize, marking their first real journalist-approved award win to date.  Understandably, BMW was proud of the achievement:

“We believe the BMW i3 is a real game changing vehicle because it has been born electric. Being designed from the ground up to be an electric vehicle has resulted in a number of benefits in terms of weight, packaging, range, emissions and driving dynamics. We are delighted to be awarded this prestigious honour as it is the first UK award that recognises the significance of the BMW i3 and its 360 degree electric ownership package for a holistic mobility solution.” BMW’s Suzanne Gray , General Manager of BMW i, said of the award.

Other winners include the Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid, the Nissan LEAF – and naturally, what kind of award would it be without the Tesla Model S grabbing some hardware?

However, casting some doubt on the validity of the competition (in our opinion) is the choice for “Next Generation Award”, which went to the VW e-up! Electric, which seems both overly pricey (€26,900 – $34,500 USD ) and underwhelming in performance, with only 99 miles of range on the NEDC standard (about 60 miles in equivalent “EPA miles”)

Here are the winners (of plug-in interest) by class, as well as a little ditty from Next Green Car about their choices:

BMW i3 Picks Up Some "Next Green Car" Hardware

BMW i3 – Next Green Car – Supermini Award

Supermini Award 2013 – BMW i3 Electric

“The BMW i3 is set to change what we expect and demand of an electric urban vehicle; one that maximises electrification, connectivity, quality and driving performance.”   – CO2: 0 g/km

Runner-up: Renault Clio 1.5 dCi Start-Stop


Nissan LEAF - Next Green Car - Small Family Winner

Nissan LEAF – Next Green Car – Small Family Winner

Small Family Award 2013 – Nissan LEAF [2013]

 “A high quality family electric vehicle, the new LEAF offers best-in-class range and versatility. With multiple buying options, it’s never been so easy to own an electric car.” – CO2: 0 g/km

Runner-up: Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI BlueMotion

Volvo V60 PHEV - Large Family - Next Green Car

Volvo V60 PHEV –  Next Green Car – Large Family Winner

Large Family Award 2013 – Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid

“Ticks all the boxes for a high quality, well-built, efficient family car for the here and now; but more importantly also looks to the future with its innovation and vision.” – CO2: 49 g/km

Runner-up:  Skoda Octavia 1.6 TDI

Tesla Model S - Next Green Car - Executive Winner

Tesla Model S – Next Green Car – Executive Winner

Executive Award 2013 – Tesla Model S

“The pin-up of the electric vehicle world, the Tesla Model S combines a ladle-full of executive gadgeted luxury with a futuristic electric driving experience.”  – CO2: 0 g/km

Runner-up: Lexus IS 300h Hybrid

VW e-Up! - Next Green Car - Next Gen Winner

VW e-Up! – Next Green Car – Next Gen Winner

Next Generation Award 2013 – Volkswagen e-Up! Electric

“A high quality but affordable electric city car, the all new e-Up!offers compact comfort with zero emissions. With VW’s brand and backing, the e-Up!could be the catalyst for a step-change in urban electric car adoption.” – CO2: 0 g/km

Runner-up: Audi A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid

Next Green Car

Categories: BMW, Nissan, Tesla, Volkswagen, Volvo


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8 Comments on "BMW i3 Wins At The 2013 Next Green Car Awards, As Does The Tesla Model S, Nissan LEAF"

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One minor flaw with the BMW i3 and other general electric cars (Leaf, i-MiEV). They all look different and “spacey”. I think adoption takes off when more electric cars look more like normal cars. Imagine a 120-mile all electric Nissan Maxima or Chevy Malibu, Buick Lacross. That kind of thing. The “new-agey” look of some EVs is a put off to some interested parties. Also, don’t make them “that aerodynamic”. Tesla is growing sales because they are about power and not efficiency (heck, look at their vampire drain…) By making cars attractive and utilitarian, such as a CUV, companies will sell more EVs. They don’t need to be 3.5 miles per kWh to be successful – 3.2 or 3.0 kWh/mile is fine – as long as they operate well, have utility and perform acceptably. And look good.

My first impulse when reading this was to point to the Prius and Civic Hybrids from a decade ago. The Prius looked different and “spacey”, but the Civic looked like its non-hybrid counterpart. Many believe that this (along with the lower fuel economy) is precisely what kept the Civic Hybrid from taking off, while the Prius became the undisputed Hybrid leader.

Then I think about Tesla – a great looking car, with performance and luxury. It has been doing incredibly well.

Overall, I think we need both, and let the market decide. Hopefully they’ll all be successful to a degree.

“Also, don’t make them “that aerodynamic”.” Aerodynamics = better range. You don’t want better range? The Model S is very aerodynamic. Do you have a problem with its appearance?

“The “new-agey” look of some EVs is a put off to some interested parties.” Possibly. However, the Toyota Prius never took off until it got the significant redesign that made it odd-looking (to many). Why? People wanted to flaunt their “green” credentials. The odd shape of the Prius made it stand out in the crowd, allowing their neighbors to know how “environmentally friendly” they were.

“…3.2 or 3.0 kWh/mile is fine…” That’s still better than gasoline, but once again it affects range. Right now, range is king because of the limited capacity of batteries. Therefore, manufacturers are going to focus on things that will increase range, such as improved aerodynamics, lighter weight, and more efficient electronics.

I look at it like – we need something to replace the “big” vehicles. Imagine someone with a CUV with 25mpg, or less, now who could go EREV or BEV at something like 2.8 kWh/mile. That would be a great for around-town schlepping of groceries or kids or shorter commutes.

Aero is important – at speed. Not everyone is on the highway at 60+ mph. Some suburbanites are running around side-roads at 30-40mph, stoplight to stoplight. I think the EREV and BEV CUV and eventually SUV segment will be very important to cutting gas usage.

Sounds like the Toyota Rav4EV should meet your requirements.

There has been a lot of buzz around electric cars recently with the brand new BMW. We just wrote a story about how purchasing solar panels and an electric car at the same time can actually save you more money than if you choose only one. One couple proved that this really works, and we have both their story and the numbers behind it on our blog! Check out the Aggarwal’s story here:

I am trying to like the i3 but I’m just not feeling it. I love the carbon fibre. I love the concept of 80 miles of range and a little 2-cylinder range extender. But that body . . . meh.

Same for me, it is the only BMW that completely missed its esthetics exam. What a pity to go through all that nice tech evolution and then have a box that spoils it all.
I just hope they soon come up with a normal shape BMW i5 in line with the standard BMW 5 so that we can forget the i3 mishap but keep the technology side from it.