It's that time of year when everyone is handing out awards for vehicle of the year.  We've reported on several of these awards thus far and here's another one, the "2010 Green Car Vision Award" goes to?  The award will officially be presented at the 2010 Washington, D.C. Auto Show, but the top five finalists have been announced, and all of the vehicles have some form of electric power on-board.

The five finalists include, Coda Automotive's Coda BEV, the Ford Focus BEV, the Mercedes-Benz F-Cell FCEV, the Nissan Leaf BEV, an the Toyota Prius PHEV.

Certainly there's a lot of letter lingo above so breaking down the list into categories would go like this.

In the traditional electric drive class of vehicles powered by batteries and an electric motor are the Nissan Leaf, the Coda, and the Focus.  These vehicles derive their power strictly from their on-board batteries and by plugging in for charging.  Most have a range around 100 miles.

The Toyota Prius occupies the plug-in hybrid class.  This class of vehicle can operate for a short length of time under electric power only, but also carries an onboard gasoline engine to provide additional motivation when needed.

Then there is the Mercedes-Benz F-Cell.  This vehicle utilizes an on board fuel cell stack and hydrogen gas to create electricity which is then stored in the vehicle's li-ion battery pack.  The vehicle has a range of about 250 miles.

The 5 nominees include 3 EVs, one PHEV, and one fuel cell vehicle.  Surprisingly absent from the list is the EREV Chevy Volt, but looking at the award criteria suggests that the Volt is not yet eligible to receive an award in this category.

The award is given to a vehicle - and technology - that judges deem to be the most significant of the year involved in demonstration programs or in limited production but not yet on sale in the mass market.

The winner of the Green Car Vision award will be announced at the 2010 Washington Auto Show on Jan. 26. The competition is sponsored by the Green Car Journal magazine.

Source:  Edmunds