Who's doing their bit for the planet? Our Green Motoring Awards salute the companies with a conscience. By Sean O'Grady

Green Car of the Year: The Tesla electric sports car

Watt a car! Yes, our winner proves that electric cars don't have to be slow and weird. They can be fast and weird, too. It's American: a hopeful sign in the home of cheap gas. This two-seater, developed with Lotus, will travel 150 miles for $3 (£1.50) of electricity (the price of a gallon). The Tesla has a 185kw (248hp) drive-train, and does 0-60 in four seconds - "wicked fast", says the inventor, Martin Eberhard. With a range of around 250 miles, the projected price (near $100,000) is its only downside. Still, what price the planet?

Green Award for Bravery: Saab Bio power

This is for the way in which Jonathan Nash, managing director of Saab GB, has attacked ministers over their miserable attitude to bioethanol. Yet now Gordon Brown suggests that he'll be more generous to alternative, renewable fuels. Who dares, wins.

Greenest Conventional Car: Mitsubishi i

An odd choice, this, especially as it's not on sale officially in the UK and may never be offered by Mitsubishi's importers, but we like it anyway. The Japanese companies have long experience of engineering tiny but spacious and funky small cars because of their eccentric automotive tax laws. The i is an unusually clever concept, being as economical and frugal on the planet's resources as a Smart ForTwo, and almost as compact, but with four doors and four seats. Looks funky, too.

Green Manufacturer of the Year: Honda

We were tempted to give this one to Toyota, such is the success of its Prius hybrid and its vast range of other petrol/electric hybrid cars. Toyota has spent millions on this technology and on other research, but then it will soon probably be the world's biggest motor company. More impressive, though, was Honda's contribution to this work, both because it is a smaller player and because it promises that a production-series hydrogen fuel cell car, the new FCX will be on sale by 2008.

Global Green Personality of the Year: Al Gore

OK, we're using the term "personality" loosely here, but no one can deny that the former American vice president's global crusade for the environment, particularly through his documentary The Inconvenient Truth has raised eyebrows and consciousness. If only he could have had that sort of impact when he was a party politician. The inconvenient truth is that we can't go on using fossil fuels as we have been: the more palatable fact is that the motor manufacturers are beginning to realise this, too.

Green Innovation Award: BMW Hydrogen 7

In truth, we're not quite sure how commercially viable the new BMW is, but they are making 100 and will be lending them (not selling them) to selected celebs to act as green ambassadors. The clever bit is that we get to keep our old friend the internal combustion engine, but we can now run it on ultra-green hydrogen (provided it is produced using renewable energy). An outside bet for the future.

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