“We humbly accept this award. Thank you very much.” With those words, Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota Division, accepted the 2016 World Green Car award at the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) for his company’s Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell car.
The World Car Awards were presented at a NYAIS press conference attended by hundreds of journalists during the show’s press days. Mirai won top honors (out of an initial field of eight) against strong finalist competition from its stablemate, the redesigned Toyota Prius, and the similarly updated Chevrolet Volt. BMW was the winner in both 2014 (i3) and 2015 (i8), and the Tesla Model S in 2013.
The World Car award process is global, with input from 73 respected auto journalists (chosen by the World Car Steering Committee) in 23 countries. The jurors’ ballots are tabulated by international accounting firm KPMG.
At NYIAS, Fay said the Mirai is “a fabulous design that we made work as a midsized car.” He pointed to the Prius, which was a finalist for the Green Car award in 2010. “Just as Prius changed the world nearly 20 years ago, the hydrogen-powered Mirai is ready to make history. With a range of over 300 miles per tank, a refueling time of under five minutes, and emissions that consist only of water vapor, Mirai is leading the world toward a more sustainable future.”
The first U.S. Mirai was delivered to Glenn Rambach, an engineer, north of Sacramento, California late in 2015. California has the most robust hydrogen refueling network in the country, though east coast initiatives are also underway. Toyota announced plans last year to work with hydrogen supplier Air Liquide to build 12 stations in five states—New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
The World Car Awards also include World Car of the Year and World Car Design of the Year (both won by the Mazda MX-5 Miata this year), World Performance Car (Audi R8 Coupe), and World Luxury Car (BMW 7-Series).