The Motor Press Guild stretched the parameters a bit, but the new 2015 Ford F-150 and BMW i8 walked off with its 2014 Innovation Vehicle of the Year (IVY) Awards in Los Angeles yesterday.
The F-150 captured the title for vehicles in the under $30,000 class – even though its average transaction price is expected to be closer to $40,000 – while the 2014 BMW i8 claimed the award for the $30,000 and over category.
The two winners were from selected a group of 13 finalists assembled by a panel of judges.
MPG’s journalist and analyst members, then determine the winners by evaluating each car on innovation, technology, engineering, safety, environmental impact, price, affordability and value.
John Dinkel, MPG’s IVY Awards chairperson, said the all-new 2015 F-150 sets up an enormous risk-reward scenario for Ford, as the brand introduces its first all-aluminum bodied model.
By using aluminum, the F-150 saves up to 700 pounds of weight, giving the truck advantages in fuel economy, acceleration, braking and a higher towing and hauling capacity. There are also weight reductions in powertrain and chassis components and customer concerns with strength, ruggedness and repair-ability have been addressed via high-strength, dent and ding resistant, aerospace-grade, aluminum alloys.
“All these risks-rewards are focused on one word—aluminum—and Ford’s decision to become the first automaker to use significant amounts of this lightweight material in high-volume production is a gamble,” said Dinkel.
“Huge manufacturing delays could cost Ford its truck sales leadership. Then again, if everything aligns, Ford will become the world leader in the use of aluminum in automobiles. This truck is a game changer,” he said.
MPG members agree the BMW’s i8 sports car is a notable exception. BMW’s first plug-in hybrid sports car features a powerful electric motor driving the front wheels combined with a turbocharged 1.5-liter 3-cylinder gasoline engine connected to the rear wheels.
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Voters said were impressed with the car’s drivetrain combination, which powers the i8 from rest to 60 mph in around 4.3 seconds and to a top speed (electronically limited) of 156 mph. In either of its two pure EV modes, the i8 can be driven about 23 miles before the IC engine kicks in.
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“The i8 also boasts an extensive use of recycled, renewable raw and naturally treated materials, further exemplifying the innovation, environmental impact and enhanced engineering principles of the IVY award,” said Dinkel.
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Furthermore, to compensate for the extra weight of the batteries and electric motor, the i8’s passenger compartment is made of carbon fiber, making BMW’s “i” models the first high-production vehicles to make such substantial use of this high-tech material.