Most interesting North American Car of the Year ever

Plug-ins and hybrids top out list of North American Car of the Year finalists.

Chevy Volt easily a favorite.

Hybrids and EVs top list

The North American Car of the Year finalists have been announced, and for alternative powertrain fans, this has to be the best list ever, by far.

With the Chevy Volt, the Hyundai Sonata hybrid and the Nissan Leaf on the same list, all I can say is, wow.

To be honest, however, I'd have a hard time picking my winner. Obviously, with two plug-ins on the list, it's hard to vote against those two vehicles simply because they are taking automotive technology to the next level.

Nevertheless, the Sonata hybrid is very compelling. This is a full hybrid that utilizes lithium, even better it uses lithium-polymer technology that might offer the most cost-effective lithium manufacturing process of all current lithium technologies. Consequently, if you believe the battery studies, which predominantly claim that hybrid cars will dominate battery-powered sales through the next two decades, the Sonata hybrid might actually be the most significant vehicle on this list.

But that's being too rational, too logical. Awards are supposed to be funner.

As a result, the Leaf and the Volt have to be my top two contenders. Hmmmm. That's a tough call.

While I'm probably a bigger fan of Nissan's long term EV plans, I'd probably have to go with the Volt as my pick. For now, in terms of plug-ins, range anxiety will be critical, and that's exactly what the Volt was built to overcome.

Regardless, great to finally some next generation innovation making its way into the North American Car of the Year finalists.

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