The 2011 Nissan LEAF has been named the 2011 European Car of the Year, the first electric car to win the prestigious award. The Nissan LEAF award comes just two weeks after its top competitor for world headlines, the Chevrolet Volt, won the important Green Car of the Year award at the Los Angeles Auto Show, along with other awards.
The Nissan LEAF is the world’s first mass-marketed, affordable, zero-emission EV all-electric vehicle for the global market. The Chevrolet Volt is not. The Volt is a plug-in extended range hybrid, not an all-electric. In Europe, GM’s Opel division has its own version of the Volt, called the Ampere.
The Nissan Leaf beat out European rivals from brands including Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Dacia, Ford, Opel, Vauxhall and Volvo. The European Car of the Year award jury includes top automotive journalists from 23 European countries.
The 2011 Nissan LEAF is powered by a compact electric motor in the front of the car, which drives the front wheels. This motor develops 80 kW of power and 280 Nm of torque, enough for a top speed of 90 mph (145 km).
The electric motor is powered by a laminated lithium-ion battery developed by Nissan, with an output of more than 90 kW. The Nissan LEAF car has a range of 100 miles (175 km) between charges, which makes it a practical car for those of us who drive less than 100 miles a day — which is most of us.
The Nissan LEAF has creature features including a satellite navigation system, parking camera and advanced telematics which allow you to pre-heat, pre-cool and start the car remotely from your mobile phone or computer. Everything comes standard. The only option is a solar panel, which is mounted in the rear spoiler and helps charge the car’s 12 volt battery to power accessories.
Deliveries of the 2011 Nissan Leaf begin in December in the US and Japan, and in Europe early in 2011. Right now, the car is being manufactured in Japan, but Nissan is building production facilities in North America and Europe to open in late 2012 and early 2013.
The Nissan LEAF is priced at $32,780, before a $7,500 federal tax credit and whatever incentives are offered by the state in which you reside.
- click here for side-by-side comparisons of LEAF and Volt purchase and lease costs
- Nissan LEAF named one of top inventions of 2009 by Time Magazine
Nissan also has announced three more all-electric models in the pipeline.