Nissan Leaf Wins 2011 European Car of the Year

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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Published on December 16, 2010

The Leaf is the first mass-produced fully electric car. (Photo: Nissan)

Published on December 16, 2010

All it needs is a household socket and a little patience. (Photo: Nissan)

Published on December 16, 2010

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Automotive rulebooks are being rewritten now that alternative fuels have gone mainstream, and the result of that is an automotive first: a zero-emission electric vehicle has won the 2011 European Car of the Year!

A total of 41 entrants as of the beginning of last month were whittled down to 7 finalists, and now news has arrived that the 2011 Nissan Leaf claimed the top prize.

"The jury acknowledged today that the Nissan LEAF is a breakthrough for electric cars", said Håkan Matson, President of the Jury, Car of the Year. "Nissan LEAF is the first EV that can match conventional cars in many respects."

A jury of 57 automotive journalists voted the Leaf to the top spot.

Nissan hasn't won the coveted price since its subcompact Micra took the honours in 1993, so the award is especially sweet for the Japanese automaker.

"This award recognizes the pioneering zero-emission Nissan LEAF as competitive to conventional cars in terms of safety, performance, spaciousness and handling," said Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn. "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."

What was the Leaf up against? The shortlist is formidable, and includes the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Citroën C3/DS3, Dacia Duster, Ford C-Max, Opel/Vauxhall Meriva, and Volvo S60/V60.

Deliveries in Japan and North America start this month, while European availability begins early next year, starting with Portugal, Ireland, the rest of the UK and the Netherlands.

Nissan currently builds the Leaf in Japan, but will begin North American and European production when its new manufacturing facilities get up and running in late 2012 and early 2013.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Hatchback, Nissan, 2011, Leaf, $40,000 - $49,999,

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