Toyota Sponsors Environmental Media Awards
Lexus and Toyota have sponsored the event for the past 12 years. The sponsorship spotlights the company's status as nameplate leader in hybrids. Between Toyota and Lexus, the Torrance, Calif.-based automaker has eight Toyota hybrids and electrics and five Lexus hybrids.
The ceremony gives a nod to films and TV shows that highlight environmental issues and degradation.
Bob Carter, Toyta's SVP of auto operations, acknowledged that Prius is a big part of the effort, as the car got lots of early credit and attention because stars were into it.
“The entertainment industry elevated Prius to a cultural icon and made hybrids cool,” he said in a statement.
This year's honorees include environmentalist and author Bill McKibben, actor Matt Damon, and actresses Hayden Panettiere and Anna Getty. The nominees include films such as "Promised Land," "The Guilt Trip" and "Gasland II," and TV programs such as "Modern Family," "Portlandia," "House of Cards," "Real Time with Bill Maher" and "Dallas."
Toyota says the Lexus LS 600h L and CT 200h hybrid vehicles and 2013 all-electric RAV4 EV and Prius Plug-in Hybrid will be present. There will also be a deep dive into the Toyota hydrogen-cell program and Toyota's first vehicle using it under the hood, which comes to fruition in 2015.
Ironically, none of Toyota or Lexus' hybrids were among the five finalists in the "Green Car Journal" yearly pick of top environmentally friendly vehicles, both traditional and hybrid versions of the nameplates: Audi A6 TDI, BMW 328d, Honda Accord, Mazda3, and Toyota Corolla, the "Top 5 Green Cars for 2014."
The reason could be that automakers are finding ways of making ICE (internal combustion) vehicles models more efficient and green, with 40 mpg becoming the new 30 mpg. "The diversity of this field of finalists illustrates not only that 'green' has gone mainstream, but also that there is no single approach to achieving ever higher levels of fuel efficiency and environmental performance," says Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of "Green Car Journal" and CarsOfChange.com, in a statement.
Jurors also showed there's no single approach to expertise: "Tonight Show" host and car buff Jay Leno, and environmental organization leaders like Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club and Matt Petersen, board member of Global Green USA. Also, "Green Car Journal" editors cast a vote.