Shock, Horror as BMW i3, Tesla Model S, Fail To Win Euro Car of the Year

In 2011, the then all-new Nissan LEAF won the title of European Car of the Year. The following year, the Chevrolet Volt and its European sibling, the Vauxhall/Opel Ampera was awarded the prestigious award. And while the 2013 European Car of the Year was the Volkswagen Golf, we were pretty sure that when we heard both the BMW i3 and Tesla Model S made it to the shortlist for the 2014 award, one of these two important plug-in cars would walk away with the crown.

Beaten by a gas-guzzler: the Tesla Model S and BMW i3 fail to win European Car of the Year 2014

Beaten by a gas-guzzler: the Tesla Model S and BMW i3 fail to win European Car of the Year 2014

But despite the best efforts of both cars to impress the judges, the Peugeot 308 has just been crowned 2014 European Car of the Year, an internal combustion engined car whose most fuel-efficient Euro 6 diesel engine spits out 82 grams of CO2 per kilometer and a theoretical NEDC combined-cycle fuel efficiency of around 91 MPG Imperial (76 MPG U.S, 3.1 litres/100km).

With 307 votes amassed from the panel of European automotive journalists who made up the panel, the Peugeot 308 had a substantial lead on both the BMW i3 (223 votes) and the Tesla Model S (216 votes).

Cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth from plug-in fans around the world, but what went wrong?

According to AutoCar, which reported the news live yesterday from the Geneva Motor Show, the Tesla Model S and BMW i3 seems to have split the judges, with some giving top marks to the German-made i3 and some giving their top marks to the Californian-made Model S.

Here’s how the voting works. Each judge is given 25 points to distribute among the shortlist of seven finalists. According to the rules, each judge must allocate those points to five different cars, with a maximum number of 10 points to each car, and no joint top marks.

The BMW i3 came in second place.

The BMW i3 came in second place.

Of the 58 judges who voted this year, 22 allocated a full 10 marks to the Peugeot 308, placing it in a strong position within the competition. Final voting tallies have not been released yet, but it appears that both the BMW i3 and the Tesla Model S split the voting, each gaining their own significant proportion of the votes.  But with two electric cars to choose from, it appears that judges couldn’t make their minds up which electric car to vote for.

Under the rules of the European Car of the Year, each judge has to publicly justify their voting and in due course, the full breakdown of votes will be available to view on the European Car of the Year website.  With the Model S coming in a close third to the BMW i3 however, we suspect the voting will make for some interesting reading.

Tesla isn't used to coming in second -- or third.

Tesla isn’t used to coming in second — or third.

Neither BMW nor Tesla has spoken publicly yet about coming second and third to a gas-guzzling French-made family hatch, but we’re keen to know what you think about the verdict.

Do you think having two electric cars in the competition split the judges, ensuring neither car would win? Do you think it was a message from the panel that the BMW i3 and Tesla Model S are simply too expensive? And which car do you think should have won and why?

We’re keen to hear what you think.

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  • Esl1999 .

    Big luxo cruisers rarely win. The last car that won in the Model S class was the 1974 Mercedes 450S. The 1983 Audi 100 and the 2009 Opel Insignia are not really in the same class and BMW has never won. As for the I3, I think it’s too expensive and lacking in proper hatchback practicality for it to have won. Europe loves affordable practical hatchbacks. Check the winning statistics.