Marie Claire UK Sustainability Awards 2021: Motors Winners

sustainability awards 2021

Road transport is one of the biggest sources of pollution in the UK, and cars are among the worst offenders. But where lies the greatest problem, also lies the greatest opportunity for change – and the winners in our Motors category are eco-friendly cars and innovative initiatives taking radical strides to turn the car industry as we know it on its head.

From electric cars and groundbreaking new approaches to radical new ownership options, here are the Marie Claire UK Sustainability Awards winners in the Motors category...

Marie Claire UK Sustainability Awards Motors winners

Best Eco Car App

Winner: Kia – Kia Charge

Best Eco Car App Winner: Kia UK Limited – Kia Charge

If you're an electric car owner, it's likely you have access to a charger installed at home. But charging your car away from home – especially during a long trip – can be a daunting prospect.

Enter the Kia Charge app. With around 17,000 connectors, this clever app provides access to an impressive 68% of the UK's public-charging network from a single account, so it's never been easier to find charge on the go. With payments made via a convenient itemised monthly invoice, the app also offers bolt-on access to the IONITY ultra-fast charging network – allowing Kia owners to benefit from heavily discounted rates.

Anxiety around the availability of charge points is often a noted drawback for would-be electric car buyers, which is why our judges think Kia's app is the perfect, stress-free solution.

Highly commended: BMW – My BMW

Best Electric Car

Winner: Fiat – New 500

Best Electric Car Winner: New Fiat 500

The iconic Fiat 500 just got an electric upgrade. Taking inspiration from the generations before it, this new model brings the classic 500 into a new era, becoming more sustainable, connected, autonomous and fully electric. Boasting more range than any other city car in its segment – up to an impressive 199 miles, to be exact – the New 500 is also the first car in its segment to offer level 3 autonomous driving.

With innovative features including a front-facing camera and radar-monitoring technology, intelligent speed assist, urban blind spot, attention assist and 360-degree sensors, this dynamic electric vehicle not only enhances efficiency and convenience for drivers, but also significantly increases the safety of passengers and pedestrians.

Oh, and as if that wasn't enough, it takes just five minutes to build up a sufficient energy reserve to travel 30 miles. That's more than the average daily commute! Needless to say, it also gets an A+ for style in our book. As Erin Baker, Editorial Director of Auto Trader and MC Sustainability Awards judge remarks, "[It's a] very cool interior with great use of recycled marine materials and detailed design quirks for character and appeal."

Highly commended: Tesla – Model 3

Highly commended: Renault – Zoe E-Tech

Best Ethical Initiative

Winner: Polestar - #NoWasteofSpace

Best Ethical Initiative: Polestar UK

When the planned opening of Polestar's Manchester retail space was put on hold due to the pandemic, the Polestar team decided to use its demonstrator cars and staff at the Space to support FareShare UK.

Inspired by Marcus Rashford's Feeding Britain's Children BBC documentary, Polestar's PR team swapped gift boxes out for a completely empty – and sustainable – box outlining its #NoWasteofSpace initiative. (The name derived from the fact that the company didn't want its retail spaces to be of no use during the pandemic.) Recipients were invited to fill their boxes full of non-perishable food and other essentials, then send them back to Polestar so they could use their demonstrators and staff to deliver them to those in need.

To say the campaign took off is an understatement, with 325 filled boxes and 2.2 tonnes of food received. Polestar also matched the donations, subsequently providing more than 10,000 meals for vulnerable people in the Greater Manchester and Merseyside areas. Deservingly awarded Best Ethical Initiative, our Sustainability Awards judges were impressed by Polestar's willingness to go that extra mile to support the communities in which its stores are based.

Best Green Emission Initiative

Winner: Lynk & Co - 01

Best Green Emission Initiative Winner: Lynk & Co - 01

Equipped with the knowledge that the average car is only in use 4% of the time, Lynk & Co came up with a radical solution: to create a pioneering membership community that allows drivers to share their vehicle. How does it work? By offering members a simple, fuss-free ownership ethos that allows you to pay on a month-by-month basis, and cancel anytime. When you share the 01, you can claim money back – so unlike conventional ownership, you won't end up shelling out for a car that's not in use.

It's not just any car, though. The 01 is a state-of-the-art, fully equipped vehicle designed and engineered in Sweden for the thoroughly modern driver, making it a clear winner in the eyes of our judges.

Explaining why she loves it, Erin Baker says" "The entire brand ethos is founded on sustainability and it is a true industry disruptor with no previous legacy. It has built not only a car that incorporates many of the sustainability ideas of other OEMs, but has created a sustainable ownership experience too, taking a far more holistic approach to the topic than anyone else."

Truly visionary in its business model, we've no doubt that this is what the future of car ownership looks like.

Highly commended: BMW – eDrive Zones

Best sustainable interiors

Winner: Tesla – Model 3

Best sustainable interiors Winner: Tesla Model 3

It's no secret that Tesla is on a mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy. After all, it's a brand that, according to Sustainability Awards judge and MC Associate Editor-at-Large Sunil Makan, "continually pushes boundaries".

But Tesla has gone that step further in offering a pristine, all-vegan interior on its Model 3. Softer than leather, yet significantly more durable and stain-resistant, the brand's custom-engineered seating material is markedly more sustainable than traditional seating materials – making for a thoroughly modern interior to match a thoroughly modern vehicle.

Highly commended: Mazda – MX-30

Marie Claire UK have determined the award winners in accordance with the judging criteria and with the information provided by the entrants. All information provided by the winning brands are published in good faith.

Kate McCusker

Kate McCusker is a freelance writer at Marie Claire UK, having joined the team in 2019. She studied fashion journalism at Central Saint Martins, and her byline has also appeared in Dezeen, British Vogue, The Times and woman&home. In no particular order, her big loves are: design, good fiction, bad reality shows and the risible interiors of celebrity houses.