The Ford F-150 pickup has been named the Green Truck of the Year, while the Ram ProMaster City has been declared the Commercial Green Car of the Year.
You might find it difficult to use the words, “green,” and “pickup truck” in the same sentence, but manufacturers have been striving to make even the biggest vehicles on the road more environmentally friendly, as reflected in a pair of new awards.
“Over the past few decades, new car models have benefitted from design and technology improvements that have brought higher fuel efficiency and greater levels of environmental compatibility,” said Ron Cogan, publisher of Green Car Journal, which hands out the annual awards. “We’re witnessing the pickup and light commercial vehicle field enjoying the same attention.”
The announcement at the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show follows a separate event at the Los Angeles Auto Show last Friday that saw the completely redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Volt beat out a competitive crowd that included the fourth-generation Toyota Prius to claim the title of Green Car of the Year.
(For more on the Volt’s Green Car win, Click Here.)
The 2016 Ford F-150 beat out four equally tough competitors, including three brand-new, high-mileage diesels:
- The Chevrolet Colorado Duramax and GMC Canyon Duramax, in fact, were officially rated by the EPA as the nation’s most fuel-efficient pickups this month;
- Nissan’s complete makeover of its Titan began with the launch of the diesel-powered XD;
- The Toyota Tacoma, the country’s best-selling midsize pickup, went through its own makeover.
The Tacoma and the Ford F-150 were the only conventional, gas-powered models among the five Green Truck finalists. And some might be surprised to see the new, “aluminum-intensive” Ford on the list at all considering it went through its major makeover last year. But the judges were impressed by the trucks new “gaseous fuel prep package” that will allow it to operate on other compressed natural gas or propane.
“Models that have won in previous years are not considered unless they are a new generation, significantly changed, or incorporate important ‘green’ powertrains or technology that is all-new to the existing model,” Green Truck organizers explained. The Ram 1500 actually beat out the F-150 last year by adding a new, high-mileage EcoDiesel option.
(Battery-based vehicles could soon generate 25% of Audi sales. Click Here for the story.)
As to the Commercial Car of the Year, the Ram ProMaster City swam to the top among another competitive list of alternatives, the finalists including the Chevrolet City Express, the Ford Transit Connect, the Mercedes-Benz Metris and the Nissan NV200.
In some ways, that group represents an even more significant shift than the list of Green Truck finalists. They show how manufacturers have suddenly abandoned decades-old, classically American van designs for a new generation of more European-style cargo vans that offer more functionality, as well as better mileage and lower emissions.
“The added benefit of higher fuel economy, lower carbon emissions, and greater environmental compatibility offered by the Ford F-150 and Ram ProMaster City mean buyers truly get more than they pay for,” said Cogan, summing up the new awards.
(Hydrogen cars are just a dodge, declares top Tesla exec. Click Here for the story.)