• Nov 29, 2010

2011 Nissan Leaf – Click above for high-res image gallery

At the start of November, the 41 contenders for the 2011 European Car of the Year award were trimmed down to seven finalists. Today, for the first time ever, Europe's most coveted automotive award went to vehicle that that relies upon electrical juice flowing from its lithium-ion battery pack as its sole source of motivation. That battery-powered vehicle, the Nissan Leaf, marks the automaker's first win since the Micra took home the award way back in 1993. Head juror Hakan Matson proclaims that the Leaf is "a breakthrough for electric cars" and that it "is the first electric vehicle that can match conventional cars in many respects." Nissan chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn accepted the honor and responded with:
This award recognises 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.
The Leaf faced strong competition from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Citroën C3/DS3, Dacia Duster, Ford C-Max, Opel/Vauxhall Meriva and Volvo S60/V60. Early predictions by some of the motoring press suggested that the pair of models from Citroën or perhaps even the lone Alfa Romeo vehicle would capture the award, but that's not how the jury of 57 automotive journalists ended up seeing it, and the electric Nissan Leaf grabbed the top spot. Last year, the Volkswagen Polo snatched the Car of the Year title away from second-place finisher, the Toyota iQ. In 2009, the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia just beat out the Ford Fiesta for the honor.

The Leaf also recently won the Green Car of the Year title from the UK's TheGreenCarWebsite and was named the 2011 "Best Car to Buy" by Green Car Reports. Hat tip to Matt!



Photos copyright ©2010 Damon Lavrinc
/ AOL

[Source: Nissan]

PRESS RELEASE

The 100% ELECTRIC NISSAN LEAF IS 2011 EUROPEAN CAR OF THE YEAR


-- First electric vehicle to win the prestigious award --

YOKOHAMA, Japan (Nov. 29, 2010) - In a historic moment for Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and zero emission vehicles, the 100% electric Nissan LEAF was awarded 2011 European Car of the Year.

The world's first mass-marketed, affordable, zero-emission vehicle for the global market beat 40 contenders to win motoring's most important accolade. This is the first time in the 47-year history of the annual competition that the award has gone to an electric vehicle. Nissan LEAF's rivals included vehicles from brands such as Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Dacia, Ford, Opel/Vauxhall and Volvo. The jury included 57 leading motoring journalists from 23 European countries.

"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 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."

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 vehicle is fully equipped with features such as regenerating 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 Nissan LEAF will be available in five colors in Europe - blue metallic and pearl, white pearl, silver metallic, black solid and red pearl. 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. In Europe, deliveries start in early 2011 to Portugal, the Republic of Ireland, the UK and the Netherlands. The zero-emission car is currently being built in Japan, but will also be produced in North America and Europe when new manufacturing facilities open in late 2012 and early 2013.

Nissan's innovative thinking extends beyond zero-emission mobility. Under the PURE DRIVE label, Nissan manufactures an extended line-up of environmentally friendly, internal combustion engine vehicles offering class-leading fuel efficiency supported by advanced green technologies. In Europe, the company will soon launch an advanced petrol-electric hybrid luxury sedan wearing the Infiniti badge, while hugely popular crossover vehicles, such as Nissan Qashqai and Nissan Juke, have created new and exciting vehicle segments dominated by Nissan. Next year will also see the arrival of thefourth generation Nissan Micra powered by a supercharged version of an all-new 1.2-litre three cylinder direct injection petrol engine with an Idling Stop system to offer spirited performance and CO2 emissions of just 95g/km.

Nissan has won the CoTY award in Europe before. In 1993, the UK-built Nissan Micra became the first car from a Japanese automaker to win the accolade and started Europe's love affair with the little car that continues today with the recent launch of the newest Nissan Micra model.

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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 33 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Congratulations Nissan.

      It makes sense given Europe's penchant for smaller, efficient vehicles and better infrastructure already in place to handle charging.

      Saw one of these at the SF Auto show last week...it's not bad looking. I'm still a Volt guy if I had to purchase an EV, but I can see the merit in these. Not a bad little car at all.
        • 4 Years Ago
        > better infrastructure already in place to handle charging
        What makes you think that? I'm not saying it can't be true but if it was I would expect to hear of it from local media, not from discussion on US-oriented website. :)
        Maybe I simply missed something, but overall I don't think Europe has better infrastructure in terms of charging EVs.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Much better pick and the severely over-prized (and frankly worthless) Volt. Kudos to Nissan!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Bloke, I agree with you on the uselessness of electric cars and the complete impracticality of the Volt given it's price.

        But I can tell you are jealous of the US. European countries are living on borrowed times with their ludicrous craddle to grave nanny state policies and it's only a matter of time before they collapse (yes that includes Britain). I know many Brits that have moved to the US because of that and the failed government health care (one of the reasons Brits have such horrendous teeth) system (which our current moron in charge loves so much).

        Face it, Britain is just another "also ran" country in the world stage.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hey Bloke: How ya doing mate?

        By common sense, do you mean I should ASSUME?

        Also, when you say majority, are you talking 51 - 49 out of a hundred or 90 - 10 ? What margin of acceptability did you have in mind? Nissan hopes to sell 25K of these in the first year. I am willing to give you the 90 - 10 split out of every hundred. So are you saying that the 10% or 2,500 single car owners are just SOL?

        BTW: My car falls in the 30K - 50K category, and it is the only car I own. I can afford to buy another car, but insuring it would be a bit of a challenge though. Kids in College and all.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Bloke: Come to think of it, many Americans probably would buy a C-segment hatch that runs solely on electricity as an only car. My apologies - I was forgetting how the American idea of common sense differs from the British idea by a margin wider than the Atlantic. One only has to look at bankruptcy rates alone.

        While I agree with a very small part of your statement, most of it is rather silly.

        The environmentalists (tree huggers) would. The V8 & V6 still rules the roost around here. The Volt can be used exactly as the Leaf. However, if you're ever caught in a pinch, with the Leaf you're done, the Volt can still get you home without any trauma.

        Insurance, Registration, Maintenance and a place to park the darn thing are all factors that must be considered.

        Judging by your statement on bankruptcy, I have to say that you have no idea, of what happened in the US over the last decade. A very large percentage of those lost one of both incomes in their homes. Some bought homes that they could well afford, then lost jobs, home is now worth less than they paid for it, so selling it is not an option. Some are filing medical bankruptcy. This is caused by dead-beat insurance companies that happily collect people's premiums, then limit or cut off coverage when they are needed.

        Sure the British has a monopoly on common sense, this is why you still support the blood sucking Royal family
        • 4 Years Ago
        "While I agree with a very small part of your statement, most of it is rather silly."

        That would depend on the amount of real-world experience you've had in the UK and US.

        "The environmentalists (tree huggers) would. The V8 & V6 still rules the roost around here. The Volt can be used exactly as the Leaf. However, if you're ever caught in a pinch, with the Leaf you're done, the Volt can still get you home without any trauma."

        There's the difference - the average educated Brit would have the sense to realise up front that a car with a 100 mile range and all-night charging times wouldn't necessarily be particularly flexible as mainstream family transport. But Americans do tend to act first, and think about their actions later. You do have a point.

        "Judging by your statement on bankruptcy, I have to say that you have no idea, of what happened in the US over the last decade. A very large percentage of those lost one of both incomes in their homes. Some bought homes that they could well afford, then lost jobs, home is now worth less than they paid for it, so selling it is not an option. Some are filing medical bankruptcy. This is caused by dead-beat insurance companies that happily collect people's premiums, then limit or cut off coverage when they are needed."

        I've spent the better part of twelve years in the States on and off. The sheer lax bankruptcy laws, the amount of people going under on credit cards and unsecured loans alone is simply staggering. People taking on mortgages from enormous homes they can't even afford to furnish was rife. Ten years ago I commented during a PW lecture that US banks would only carry such unsecured debt for so long before their balance sheets were compromised.

        "Sure the British has a monopoly on common sense, this is why you still support the blood sucking Royal family"

        For many people, they're a source of pride - but only to those who don't put their own welfare above everyone and everything else.

        • 4 Years Ago
        "Nissan hopes to sell 25K of these in the first year"

        That is only the US. 50K for 2011 of the LEAF globally, another 40K for Renault on top of that. But Nissan/Renault global productiongoes up dramatically from that poin on... Quarter million in 2012, half million in 2013... More announced production has been indicated for China, Korea, etc....

        By comparison, by the end of the 2012 calendar year, GM hopes to be up to its 45k global production capacity for the Volt/Ampera, with no additional production capacity being built at this time.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Let's talk again in 12 to 18 months. The Smart car turned out to be not such a smart decision for the US. I called that one even before they started selling them here. This MAY work for Europe, won't work here.

        Freedom loving Americans will run from this car, once they have to live with its restrictions for any extended period of time.

        Curiosity question, Just say, you are the model Leaf driver, who drives less than range of the car, comes home with 13 miles worth of driving range to spare. After being on the charger for only 1 hour, there is an emergency and you need rush a family member to the Hospital which is 17 miles away? Are you willing to take that risk? Even if you make to the hospital, how do you get back to your home?

        • 4 Years Ago
        Answer to your question: I wouldn't have a problem at all as I would have picked a Prius as my "green" car at roughly half the cost of the Volt if I were to buy such a car.

        I own more than 1 car though so a Leaf would be just fine in that situation as I would take one of my other cars.

        The Volt is just over-priced by $20K, way too much for it to be a viable car in this class. And testers are already complaining that it's not as roomy as the Prius so it's useless as a "family car". So if you need to own another car as a family car why go for the over-priced Volt? Might as well go for the Leaf.....
      • 4 Years Ago
      Congrats Nissan.
      • 4 Years Ago
      ok, and now leaf to oblivion plz
      • 4 Years Ago
      ...and this is how the European Car of the year can be renamed in Global Battery of the year. Whatever.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Disgusting car :-(
      • 4 Years Ago
      There's irony in the phrase "...sustainable mobility..." here.
      • 4 Years Ago
      for what i can tell you, there is no structure to support that car, we as well doesn't have a box to charge that, as well in the street, i think there would be more bettere car suited to be the best, anyway congrat nissa


      PS: i live in europe
        • 4 Years Ago
        No, you live in *a part* of Europe. In my part of Northern Europe we have charging stations "everywhere" now. From commercial parking lots to public buildings.

        Local and national government offices especially offer charging stations for their employees and government vehicles.

        It's mainly in the cities of course, but we have created networks of charging stations along major highways. From electric to hydrogen fuel stations, we've got them.

        Historically we've always offered power at our parking lots to keep the engine heaters running while we're away.

        What part of Europe are *you* from anyway?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Makes more sense in europe where you're better off walking everywhere. As for the US, where our towns are the size of their cities and our counties the size of their states, the reality is that you need to be able to drive more than 100 miles every 14 hours. That's where the Volt comes in.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Bloke, UK average car milage is 8,420 miles, not the 12K to 18K you suggested http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/nts/

        And there is a big difference between the US and the UK, as our 'built environments' are quite different. The majority of the US housing and road systems have been built around the motor car i.e. you are expected to drive to work, school. shopping etc.

        The UK (and the rest of Europe) is a little different as more of us live in older towns and cities which were not designed around the motor car, with a greater emphasis on walking. Europe also has a greater population density, hence the lower average mileages.
        • 4 Years Ago
        IBx1

        Seriously you really need to focus back on your geography studies so you don't horribly embarrass yourself with your obviously ignorant ramblings.

        Lastly stop trolling.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Where does reality come in?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hmmm why would it not work in Scandinavia? Sweden and Finland make even their own electric cars, Fisker Karma is made in Finland btw.

        And all houses and apartments in at least in fin and swe got charging fo every car to keep the warm in winter so the insfracture is there already.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Bloke - the average mileage of 8,420 miles for the UK that is quoted includes both company and private cars, just because you drove 14K miles per year doesn't mean that is a good estimate of the average!

        Quoting just the vague statistic of 12K to 18K for company cars is almost meaningless for comparitive purposes with US car mileage. Company cars represent less than 10% of cars in the UK.

        A more useful statistics might be the average commute distance (one way), which is 8.5 miles in the UK and 16 miles in the US. Average US driver mileage is 16,000 miles (http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/onh00/bar8.htm), both these statistics suggest US drivers drive twice as far as UK drivers and therefore the Nissan Leaf with its short range is probably going to more appropriate and usable in Europe than the US. Although even in the US the 100 mile range of the Leaf should satisfy the majority of commutes.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "@Bloke, UK average car milage is 8,420 miles, not the 12K to 18K you suggested http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/nts/"

        The statistic you have is for privately-owned vehicles only and doesn't account for company cars, which make up a large proportion of cars on UK roads (most management and professional positions include a company car as part of a remuneration package).

        HM Revenue & Customs deems average milage to be between 12K and 18K miles per annum - the same as the IRS does in the States. This figure comes from SMMT, the organisation which all motor traders subscribe to. It's also common knowledge if you've ever been involved in the UK motor trade. When I lived in the UK, I lived in central England and my annual private mileage was very much that average - just over 14K miles a year, much of which was taken up by commuting.

        "And there is a big difference between the US and the UK, as our 'built environments' are quite different. The majority of the US housing and road systems have been built around the motor car i.e. you are expected to drive to work, school. shopping etc."

        Very true, but the majority of UK towns and cities have out-of-town shopping plazas in this day and age. The main reason why car ownership is essential in America is because public transport systems are non-existent in many areas.

        "The UK (and the rest of Europe) is a little different as more of us live in older towns and cities which were not designed around the motor car, with a greater emphasis on walking. Europe also has a greater population density, hence the lower average mileages."

        Population density varies considerably by region. In the US, the population density in New Jersey is considerably different to Arizona. Even within States, that density differs. In England it's a similar story - almost half the country's population lives in London and the Home Counties.

        In my experience, commuting and shopping mileages differ little between the UK, Belgium and US where I've lived. The same goes for other I've talked with in similar positions. The main difference, as I stated before, is the US institution of the "road trip" which is far less common in Europe because it's cheaper to fly.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "@Bloke - the average mileage of 8,420 miles for the UK that is quoted includes both company and private cars, just because you drove 14K miles per year doesn't mean that is a good estimate of the average!"

        No it doesn't - it's for vehicles only in private hands. It doesn't take account of company cars; the UK has the largest company car market in the world (Institute of Directors). I never said my own mileage was representative, however in the trade it's regarded as average mileage. Any used vehicle will command a premium if it has covered an average of less than 12K miles per annum.

        "Quoting just the vague statistic of 12K to 18K for company cars is almost meaningless for comparitive purposes with US car mileage. Company cars represent less than 10% of cars in the UK."

        The statistic isn't vague and it's the source that both taxation authorities and the trade itself uses. I'm sure you've managed to glean that yourself from the considerable amount of personal experience I'm sure you have of life in both the UK and US.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This article far more accurately represents real-world driving mileages/conditions in the UK:

        http://car-insurance-information.org/average-annual-car-miles-uk.html
        • 4 Years Ago
        Just to be clear, a Level II charge takes 7 hours and a Level III takes 20 minutes to recharge to 80%.

        14 hours is just trickle charging. With European-style EV infrastructure, that would never happen.

        With the money saved over a Volt, you could easlily afford to rent a car or fly for periodic long trips... if you didn't already have a second car (which most US households do).
        • 4 Years Ago
        And of course we all know that Americans don't all drive hundreds of miles every day. The average mile in the Uk, for example, is 12-18K miles per annum, which is identical to the US. This is because the majority of mileage is performed via commuting and private errands. The only difference in motoring behaviour between Americans nd Europeans comes to vacations, where more Americans drive and more Europeans tend to fly instead.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Our towns are the size of their cities"
        What?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Here are 8 things you don't know about the Nissan Leaf: http://www.energyinyourlife.com/article.php?t=100000076
      • 4 Years Ago
      What infrastructure in Europe? It hasnt been built yet and also there is not enough electricity as it is let alone plugging in a load of these.... Also it is not that green as it seems as it requires an increase in industrialization ....hmmmm smacks of this was the besteco car that they thought they had to vote for...Also how can a japanese car win Euro Car of the year???
        • 4 Years Ago
        It won European Car of the Year because it is an award given by the collective voting of the main automotive publications throughout Europe. It is basically like every magazine COTY award in Europe combined into one. Those publications picked a car that is not yet made on their continent but will be sold there early next year.

        In terms of what infrastructure, Level II charging is a standard wall plug (unlike here in the US). Level III charging is also going up rapidly to connect many European countries. However, most charging happens at home with Level III only needed for longer trips.
        • 4 Years Ago
        My parents are living in France and have 3-phased 240v at home (house was built 25 years ago, not really a high tech stuff). Not so sure how long it'll take them to recharge a car but that's a great start. Also there are lots of local/national initiative (supermarket chains, etc) installing charging stations everywhere. This is getting faster than we imagine.
        I live in Ireland, and here by the end of 2011 1500 public charging points will be installed. It's a small island with just 4,5 million people here so this is actually a big figure.
        http://www.esb.ie/main/ecars/e-charging/map-of-charge-points.jsp
        And this is reality... last weeks, I've seen my first iMiev driving, and first public charging points.
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