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Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt: Will one be Green Car of the Year?

October 21, 2010 |  6:30 pm

Godzilla and King Kong might as well have stomped into this race.

For the first time, the annual Green Car of the Year award might go to an electric vehicle. The competition, put on by Green Car Journal, celebrates eco-friendly autos newly available to drivers.

This time, the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf are joining the pack of finalists, which also includes the Ford Fiesta, the Hyundai Sonata hybrid and the Lincoln MKZ hybrid. All the cars are from the 2011 model year.

The selections "reflect an auto industry in transition," Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the magazine, said in a statement.

"It wasn't long ago when electric drive was a novelty," he said. "Now, it's expected that auto manufacturers will include electric drive in some form among their model offerings."

The Sonata and the MKZ each involve electric drive systems, while the internal-combustion Fiesta achieves up to 40 mpg on the freeway.

Jurors include the heads of the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council as well as auto enthusiast and "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno.

Stay tuned for Nov. 18, when the winner will be announced at the LA Auto Show. The results might be electrifying.

-- Tiffany Hsu