2010 Concept Vehicle of the Year Award Winners Announced

Detroit, MI, June 21 – The ninth annual North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards were announced this evening during a ceremony at the Automotive Hall of Fame. The awards recognize those vehicles most likely to shape the future of the automobile industry. A jury of more than two dozen North American automotive journalists selected the winners from 19 Concept Vehicles and 8 Production Preview Vehicles that made a North American debut during the 2010 Auto Show season.

The Production Preview Vehicle category is for those vehicles based on a model that has already been announced or planned for production.

On a fast track to become the first all-electric vehicle to reach mass-market status, the Nissan Leaf takes the honor of 2010 Production Preview Vehicle of the Year. According to juror Chris Poole, “The Nissan Leaf is a bold and ambitious effort to bring pure-electric vehicles to the mass-market at a price real people can afford. As such, it promises to change the way thousands of people drive over the next few years, and could well accelerate mass-market acceptance of EVs.”

Because of the unprecedented challenges faced by the auto industry in 2010, a reduced number of Concept Vehicles prompted the consolidation of the Car, Truck, and Specialty Concept categories into a single “Concept Vehicle” category. With just the one category for the 2010 Concepts, the winners in that category earn the distinction of Most Significant Concept Vehicle of 2010. Also unprecedented in the competition is this year’s tie for that top spot.

Making electrified technology an across-the-board theme for this year’s awardees, the co-winners of the Most Significant Concept Vehicle of 2010 honor are the Audi e-tron, and the BMW Vision Efficient Dynamics.

The Audi e-tron features two electric drive motors that independently power each of the rear wheels, representing a leap in the evolution of drivetrain power distribution. The ability to independently control not only braking, but also power application down to the level of milliseconds, enables precise control of vehicle dynamics, beyond that of current stability control systems. “This peek into Audi’s not too distant future promises to infuse the EV category with the style, performance and desirability,” said juror Lyndon Conrad Bell. “Audi has trained us to expect from its products. A miniature R8 with instant torque and no emissions? How can you not love that?”

Sporting the gullwing doors that are among the signature design attributes of many legendary super-cars, BMW’s Vision EfficientDynamics concept combines a plug-in hybrid drivetrain architecture, with a cutting-edge 2+2 interior configuration, neatly wrapped with an angular yet organic body line. “BMW’s Vision EfficientDynamics promises that a future filled with hybrids and EVs does not have to be drab. Performance for this plug-in full hybrid is measured not only in MPG, but also MPH . . . Environmental responsibility, meet exhilaration,” says juror Ryan Gehm.

While the studios that gave form to this year’s winners have all made it to the finalist level in previous years, 2010 marks the first podium appearance for all three design studios. This also marks the first year of competition where one of the “Detroit 3” manufacturers did not claim the top honors.

Additional information and details regarding the nominees, the selection jury and the award winners can be found by visiting?http://www.northamericanconceptawards.org on the web.

More from Our Auto Expert