BMW i3 is first electric model to be crowned Green Car of the Year

Danger! High voltage

The BMW i3 has become the first pure electric car ever to win the Green Car of the Year award, as part of the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The Green Car Journal presents the award, and it's quite a big deal that this is the first time a purely electric car has received it.

Among the final five cars shortlisted (and beaten by the i3) for the award this year were the Chevrolet Impala, which has a hybrid natural gas engine, the diesel Audi A3 and the more conventional VW Gold and Honda Fit.

Cooking with electricity

Efficiency will have played a big part in the BMW i3's victory. It manages the equivalent of 124 miles per gallon in its pure electric version, making it more efficient than any petrol-powered runabout.

There are two versions of the BMW i3. Both have electric engines, but there's also a version with a range extender that charges up the battery using its own petrol engine, acting as a generator. It's still the electric part that drives the wheel at all times, though.

You can get 80-100 mile range out of the pure electric BMW i3, and over 150 miles from the range-extended version.

The BMW i3 starts at $41,000/£30,680, although in the UK you can shave £5k off that thanks to the government's electric car grant.