The 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid won the inaugural Canadian Green Car award, presented April 12 at the Green Living Show in Toronto by AJAC and Green Living Enterprises.
The Automobile Journalists Association of Canada announced the new award at the Canadian International Auto Show in February and co-ordinated the voting for the award. The judging criteria emphasized fuel economy and overall emissions, but also considered other environmental features within each vehicle, such as the use of recycled or naturally sourced materials, and steps each manufacturer has taken to green its operations.
“We are extremely proud that the 2013 Ford Fusion hybrid has been honoured by our country’s top automotive journalists as the recipient of the inaugural Canadian Green Car Award,” said Steve Ross, Ford of Canada’s product marketing manager, sustainability and electrification. “The Fusion hybrid is an important vehicle in the Ford lineup, delivering leading fuel economy, innovative technologies and a sleek, desirable design for eco-conscious consumers.”
The Fusion Hybrid was among five finalists for the award from 15 environmentally advanced vehicles nominated by their manufacturers. The finalists included the Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, Hyundai Sonata hybrid, Mazda’s Mazda3 highly efficient internal-combustion compact and the Volkswagen Jetta Turbocharged Hybrid.
Importantly, and perhaps somewhat controversially, the award judges also assessed market potential, taking into account factors such as build quality, driving experience, overall features, availability, general consumer appeal and price. Peter Gorrie, the chair of the awards committee, acknowledged that these latter criteria likely prevented any battery-electric vehicles from making the finalist list.
“A car loaded with ‘green’ features will make a difference only if it sells in large numbers and supplants lesser models,” Gorrie said when the finalists were first announced. “While EVs represent impressive technology, that focus might have prevented the four battery-electric nominees from making the final five.”
However, EV owners and advocates loudly questioned this argument in critiques online and through various social media. Such vehicles put out zero local emissions, and very little greenhouse gas emissions even from the electricity plants in the three provinces where they’re most popular – Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. The critics therefore questioned whether awarding a Green Car award to a vehicle that uses fossil fuels – even in lower amounts – gives consumers the false impression that these are the cleanest vehicles on the market.
Correction: In an earlier version of this story, the Volkswagen Jetta was incorrectly identified in the list of finalists. The correct model is the Volkswagen Jetta Turbocharged Hybrid. The story above has been corrected.