BMW i3 first electric to win Green Car of the Year

Green Car Journal chose the BMW i3 for its Green Car of the Year award, announced at the 2014 Los Angeles auto show, beating out such cars as the Volkswagen Golf, Honda Fit, and Audi A3 TDI.

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Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
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Josh Miller/CNET

BMW i3
The BWM i3 electric car wins the Green Car of the Year award at the 2014 Los Angeles auto show. Josh Miller/CNET

LOS ANGELES -- In past years, pure electric cars have barely made it to the final five in Green Car Journal's Green Car of the Year selection, but this year the BMW i3 took the top honor. Green Car Journal announced the winner during the press preview days of the Los Angeles auto show.

The Nissan Leaf was nominated in 20111, but lost out to the Chevrolet Volt . Many hybrid cars have shown up among the nominees and won the award in past years.

The BMW i3 beat out a field which included the Honda Fit, Volkswagen Golf, Chevrolet Impala Bi-fuel and Audi A3 TDI.

Although the i3 only gets a range of 80 to 100 miles from its 22 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, comparable to many other compact electric cars on the road, Green Car Journal judges praised it for forward-thinking construction and BMW's more general plans around sustainable transportation. The i3's range extender engine option also gives it more flexibility for owners.