Nissan’s Leaf has become the first all-electric car to win the coveted European Car of the Year title
The electric Nissan Leaf was awarded the 2011 European Car of the Year award, despite splitting opinion during the voting process.
Several of the 57 jurors actually placed the Leaf in last place, but its 257 points were enough to beat the Alfa Romeo Giuletta and Vauxhall/Opel Meriva, who came in second and third respectively.
The remaining finalists were the Ford C-Max/Grand C-Max, the Citroën C3/DS3, the Volvo S60 and V60, and the Dacia Duster.
“The jury acknowledged today that the Nissan Leaf is a breakthrough for electric cars. Nissan Leaf is the first EV that can match conventional cars in many respects,” said Håkan Matson, President of the Jury, Car of the Year.
Nissan Leaf is powered by a compact electric motor in the front of the car, which drives the front wheels. The AC motor develops a power output of 109PS and 280Nm of torque, enough for a maximum speed of 145kph. The electric motor is powered by a Nissan-developed laminated lithium-ion battery with an output of more than 90kW. The car has a range of more than 160kms (New European Driving Cycle) between charges.
The vehicle is fully equipped with features such as regenerative braking, air conditioning, satellite navigation, parking camera and advanced on-board IT and telematics systems. Innovative connectivity will allow an owner to set charging functions to monitor the car's current state of charge and the remaining battery capacity, as well as to heat or cool the interior of the car remotely via mobile phone or computer. The single option is a solar panel mounted in the rear spoiler that supports charging of the car's 12V battery used for powering accessories.
Deliveries in Japan and the United States begin this December. The zero-emission car is currently being built in Japan, but will also be produced in Sunderland, England from early 2013.
Nissan is aiming to have the car in Wellington by mid 2011.