The 2010 World Green Car of the Year award actually goes to three cars sharing a common system of technology.
In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.
The BlueMotion brand label is given to VW cars that add efficiency technology to a model's engine, transmission, braking system, and aerodynamics among other parts. The combination creates the lowest CO2-emitting version of each car. BlueMotion purports to improve a car's existing combustible engine, whether it be gas or diesel, to make it more efficient and emit less CO2, in lieu of a using a completely alternative drivetrain such as a battery-powered electric vehicle.
While the exact changes to the engines and transmissions (mostly lower gear ratios) differ between the BlueMotion versions of Polo, Passat, and Golf, there are some overall similarities.
Among those BlueMotion additions is what VW calls start-stop (aka stop-start), a system that saves fuel by turning a car's engine off instead of leaving it to idle when the driver has come to a complete stop. The BlueMotion versions of the Golf, Passat and Polo also offer slight body changes for less drag, which reduces fuel consumption through lower suspension, and more aerodynamic spoilers, bumpers, and grills. BlueMotion cars also offer regenerative breaking and low rolling-resistance tires.
The award was chosen by 59 automotive journalists from 25 countries. The Toyota Prius and Honda Insight were runners-up.