Nissan Leaf has become the first zero emissions vehicle to win the European Car of the Year competition. A panel of journalists voted and made this the first all electric vehicle to receive the award. The Nissan leaf is a midsize vehicle and has a fuel rating of 99 miles per gallon according to the EPA. Judges said the pollution free ‘green’ car, which can be charged from the domestic household mains, was the first electric vehicle to match conventional petrol cars and didn’t drive like a milk-float. The Leaf won 257 votes from the 58 judges across 23 European countries. Alfa Romeo’s Giulietta was in second position with 248 points, Vauxhall’s Meriva in third with 244 points and Ford’s C-Max fifth with 224.
The Vauxhall Meriva finished third, a further six points back with 244, followed by the Ford C-Max/Grand C-Max (224) the Citroën C3/DS3 (175), the Volvo S60 and V60 (145) and the Dacia Duster (132). The Leaf is also competing for 2011 North American Car of the Year honors, against a wide variety of vehicles that ranges from the extended-range electric Chevrolet volt to the Jaguar XJ luxury sedan. The winner will be announced at the 2011 Detroit International Auto Show in January.
Nissan LEAF is powered by a compact electric motor in the front of the car, which drives the front wheels. The AC motor develops 80 kW of power and 280 Nm of torque, enough for a maximum speed of 145 km/h (90 mph). The electric motor is powered by a Nissan-developed laminated lithium-ion battery with an output of more than 90 kW. The car has a range of 175 km (New European Driving Cycle) between charges making it a practical proposition for many urban drivers. The five-passenger, five-door hatchback goes on sale in the United States in December. It is the first modern, mass-produced all-electric car available from a major manufacturer, and is the first of a big push from the Nissan-Renault alliance that the company says will put half a million electric cars on the world’s roads in just a few years.
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.’s President and CEO Carlos Ghosn said: “This award recognizes the pioneering zero-emission Nissan LEAF as competitive to conventional cars in terms of safety, performance, spaciousness and handling. It also reflects Nissan’s standing as an innovative and exciting brand with a clear vision of the future of transportation, which we call sustainable mobility. With three other electric vehicles in the pipeline from Nissan – and with the imminent market introduction of four additional electric vehicles from our Alliance partner Renault – Nissan LEAF represents a significant first step toward a zero-emission future.”