Though it tottered on the brink of destruction just 16 months ago, GM has emerged as a player in the automobile industry again. Its IPO was the largest global IPO in U.S. stock market history and the Chevrolet Volt – built by its subsidiary, Chevrolet – is the 2011 winner of the Green Car of the Year award.
On its road to profitability, GM has emphasized its smaller, crossover vehicles that are more fuel efficient and produce less environmental waste. The Chevy Volt beat out competition from Lincoln, Hyundai, Ford and Nissan, a huge win for the company as Asian carmakers contributed to its previous collapse. An American car company winning the award illustrates the seriousness the U.S. is taking towards green technology.
GM's vice president, Joel Ewanick, accepted the award, declaring that he was "humbled to stand up here with this car." Ewanick asserted that GM's engineers "wanted to make a great car, but they also felt they were doing something for the environment, for the world." The Volt is capable of driving up to 40 miles on a single battery charge, after which a gasoline engine kicks in to recharge and supplement the battery.
Car makers have invested heavily in electric cars, gambling on consumer demand for vehicles that will both cut fuel costs and reduce worldwide pollution levels.