Nissan Leaf Named 2011 European Car of the Year
Nissan Leaf is the first battery-powered vehicle to win the European Car of the Year award
Yesterday, Hakan Mason, the President of the Jury of the European Car of the Year Award, made the historic announcement that the Nissan Leaf electric car has won the 2011 European Car of the Year. This is the first time that an electric car has ever won the prestigious European Car of the Year award.
The announcement marks a great accomplishment for electric cars, and comes after the announcement of the Chevrolet Volt winning the 2011 Green Car of the Year award at the LA Auto Show, also the first time the award has been given to an electric car.
To win this honor, the Nissan Leaf beat out a number of formidable competitors, including the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Ford C-Max, Citroën C3/DS3, Volvo S60/V60, and Opel/Vauxhall Meriva. The Nissan Leaf was selected by a jury of 57 automotive journalists from 23 European countries. Recent winners include the Volkswagen Polo and the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia. Unlike any other European Car of the Year winner, the Nissan Leaf is powered by a lithium-ion battery that produces 80 kilowatts of power.
The electric car has a maximum speed of 90 mph and a range of approximately 108 miles. Nissan Leaf features include regenerative braking, a satellite navigation system, and a parking camera, all of which come standard. The electric car's only option is a solar panel set into the car's spoiler that can collect solar energy to charge a 12-volt battery used to power accessories.
Mason noted that the Nissan Leaf is remarkable in that it is a fully electric vehicle that "can match conventional cars." Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn accepted the honor for his company and noted that the Nissan Leaf excels in "safety, performance, spaciousness, and handling," in addition to being an innovative and environmentally responsible vehicle.