A surprise result at the annual contest for the environment’s most friendly car.
Forget the electric car, forget the hybrid and forget the range-extender, at least for a few moments because the winner of the 2012 Green Car of the Year award is the Honda Civic Natural Gas. It is propelled by none of those advanced propulsion technologies, but just consumes natural gas to activate its traditional internal combustion engine. On its way to the title, it came from behind to beat the clear favorite in fan polls, the Ford Focus Electric.
Other candidates were the Mitsubishi I, the Toyota Prius V and the 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI. The results of the competition, which is organized annually by the Green Car Journal, were announced during the 2011 LA Auto Show. "The Civic Natural Gas is not only a great vehicle, it also demonstrates Honda's commitment to provide a variety of alternatives to gasoline," said victoriously Michael Accavitti, vice president of marketing at American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
"The Civic Natural Gas and the all-new Fit EV that we introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show are the latest additions to a rapidly expanding family of alternative energy Honda vehicles aimed at cutting petroleum use and reducing our carbon footprint." As from next year Honda will sell the Civic Natural Gas at 200 dealerships in 36 states. Before that the car, which went on sale last October, was sold in only four states. Natural Gas engines produce almost zero smog-forming emissions and are the cleanest internal-combustion vehicles certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
All Civic Natural Gas models are produced by Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC (HMIN) using domestic and globally sourced parts. The Civic Natural Gas driving range is relatively short, approximately 240 miles, though not as problematic as the EV's range. It can be refueled at gas stations that offer natural gas fuelling through specially designed facilities in about five minutes. It can also be filled up at home through special equipment. Among the award's previous winners are the VW Jetta TDI ('09), Audi A3 TDI ('10) and Chevy Volt ('10). The Nissan Leaf, the most significant EV in the North American Market, has never won that award.