While battery-electric vehicles may just be starting to gain momentum with the public, they’ve certainly gained the attention of leading automotive journalists, with all-electric models making up fully six of the nine finalists for North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year.
The selection process — which includes three finalists for each of the three categories — underscores the dramatic changes sweeping through the auto industry, noted Gary Witzenburg, NACTOY president, as he announced the nominees during a ceremony marking the start of this year’s LA Auto Show.
Significantly, all three of the Utility Vehicle finalists are all electric, “the first time that has ever happened in a single category,” said Witzenburg. Two of the three truck nominees are battery powered, along with one of the Car-of-the-Year finalists.
But internal combustion technology hasn’t disappeared, with even a classic V-8 delivering plenty of muscle for one of the Truck category nominees.
The finalist list includes:
- Acura Integra: A reborn name for an all-new sedan that delivers a mix of upscale features and sporty styling;
- Genesis Electrified G80: A pure battery-powered version of the South Korean carmaker’s midsize luxury sedan;
- Nissan Z: The latest generation of the Japanese automaker’s long-running sports car drops the numbers and just goes by the name everyone knows it as.
- Chevrolet Silverado ZR2: A sporty off-road take on Chevy’s full-size pickup;
- Ford F-150 Lightning: The wildly popular all-electric version of the classic Ford pickup delivers a mix of performance, power and technology;
- Lordstown Endurance: The name is appropriate, as the EV startup has struggled to get into production. This electric pickup is now targeted specifically at the commercial market.
- Cadillac Lyriq: The domestic luxury brand’s first all-electric model and initial rolls out in a single-motor version with more variants to follow;
- Genesis GV60: The second finalist nominee from the Korean carmaker is an all-electric SUV riding on a unique skateboard-style platform;
- Kia EV6: A mainstream EV crossover from the same family as Genesis and sharing the underlying platform, the EV6 has already won numerous awards.
NACTOY is now in its 29th year. A total of 50 U.S. and Canadian journalists helped pick this year’s NACTOY finalists whittled down the list from 26 entrants, including 10 in the car category, three truck and 13 utility vehicle semi-finalists. The finalist list includes two Japanese, three South Korean and four domestic models.
The list now will be winnowed down during the coming weeks, jurors submitting their ballots no later than Jan. 6, 2023.
Winners will be announced during a special event at Detroit’s Huntington Place Convention Center on Jan. 11.