Green Car Journal has announced the five finalists for this year's Green Car of the Year Award, including electric cars in the list for the first time.
Nominees for the prestigious prize, to be presented November 18 at the Los Angeles Auto Show, include the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and the 2011 Nissan LEAF.
With the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF representing electric nominees for the first time, and two hybrid models also in the race, only one of the nominees - the 2011 Ford Fiesta - uses a traditional gasoline engine.
Green Car Journal said that the inclusion of the Ford Fiesta, which achieves up to 40 mpg (5.88 l/100km) EPA fuel economy, "underscores that internal combustion continues to evolve in important ways."
"These five 2011 Green Car of the Year® finalists reflect an auto industry in transition," said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and editor of GreenCar.com. "It wasn't long ago when electric drive was a novelty. Now, it's expected that auto manufacturers will include electric drive in some form among their model offerings."
Last year's prize went to the 42 mpg (5.6 l/100km) clean diesel Audi A3 TDI, the second year in a row that a clean diesel car won the award - it beat another diesel vehicle and three hybrid models to take the prize.
The LA Auto Show is open to the public November 19 - 28 in Los Angeles, California.