This past Tuesday in New York, the Chevrolet Volt was honored with gold at the 2011 Edison Awards for its innovations in personal transportation.

The silver award was given to an elegant bicycling solution, the Copenhagen Wheel , and bronze was taken by the Nissan LEAF.

GM’s OnStar MyLink also received a silver award, led by Ford’s MyKey technology.

The Chevrolet Volt's latest accolade, an Edison gold award, was granted to GM on April 5 in New York.

While the Edison Awards have a Green Award category, the only automotive company to receive recognition was the paint shop at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. – yes, that was a nominee, word for word – and it received a nod as a finalist.

Named after the famed inventor, Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), who is quoted as saying "Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration," the awards represent a feather in the cap, at the very least. They were founded by the American Marketing Association in 1987, and became an independent organization in 2008.

According to GM, “The awards symbolize the persistence and excellence personified by Edison whose innovations and new product developments earned him 1,093 U.S. patents.”

To be sure, the company is pleased, and Chevrolet Volt Vehicle Line Director Tony Posawatz sent GM-Volt founder Lyle Dennis an e-mail yesterday notifying him, although this time an article was in draft form by the time Lyle kindly forwarded the e-mail in the early evening.

This drive unit, the heart of the Volt, just keeps earning it more recognition.

“Being selected as an Edison Award winner validates our drive to develop an all-new transportation solution,” said Posawatz at the Edison event Tuesday, “Innovation has been at the heart of the Volt from its onset; from the development of the Li-ion battery to the drive unit and the driver connectivity.”

To have been considered for a 2011 Edison Award, a product or service must have been launched after July 1, 2009. If an aspiring nominee did not meet this time frame, the official eligibility guidelines said, “please feel free to submit a nomination once you have reached production level.”

Paid entrants who submitted their design before a Dec. 10 deadline were also told their “nomination will be reviewed by the members of the Edison Best New Product Steering Committee , who [will] develop a list of finalists in each of the Best New Product and Green Award categories.”

An Edison descendant actually is listed first on the 11-member steering committee. Sarah Miller Caldicott is a great grandniece of Thomas Edison and co-author of Innovate Like Edison.

Silver award winner: MyLink builds on the safety and security oriented OnStar by integrating online services like Pandora® internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio® using hands-free voice and touch-screen controls via Bluetooth device connectivity. MyLink will be available first to Chevrolet Equinox and Chevrolet Volt customers later this fall.

Once selected, the steering committees' nominees were then voted on in a comprehensive ballot sent to “more than 2,500 senior business executives from the Marketing Executive Networking Group, (MENG), past Edison Award winning teams and various faculty members at universities across the nation,” the Edison Awards Web site said.

The steering committee reviewed nominations based on the following:
Societal Impact: The product improves the consumer’s lifestyle and/or increases the consumer’s freedom of choice while supporting 21st Century sustainability objectives and environmental responsibility.
Marketplace Innovation: The strategy and positioning of the product’s introduction was innovative, and traditional marketing techniques (such as advertising, sales promotions) were used in creative ways that introduced the new product to consumers.
Marketplace Success: The product shows signs of cash register success and staying power.
Technological Innovation: The product or service is on the cutting edge of new technology.
Market Structure Innovation: The product pioneers a new market or restructures an existing market by creating a new segment or dominating an existing one.

A Chevrolet Volt quietly slips through scenic landscape.

The finalists were notified by e-mail Feb. 11, but the awards came this week at the gala celebration.

The Volt’s Edison gold award now complements its having won the Motor Trend, Automobile Magazine and Green Car of the Year awards, as well as Popular Science Best of What’s New and Ward’s 10-Best Engine designations.

As for OnStar, this was its second consecutive Edison Award. OnStar’s Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, a technology designed to reduce dangerous high-speed chases, received a Silver Edison Award for Best New Product in the Technology category in 2010.

Source: GM , Edison Awards