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

The Nissan Leaf is a technological leap in that it is a mass-produced electric vehicle with a range of up to 100 miles on a single charge. Unfortunately for Nissan, its quirky EV hit the market at the same time as the prize-hungry Chevy Volt, which has already taken home the North American Car of the Year and Motor Trend COTY awards.

But while the Volt has taken the hardware here in the United States, the Leaf can now sport its own prestigious award: the 2011 European Car Of The Year. The 58 voters gave the Leaf the nod over more conventional offerings like the Volvo S60 and the Opel Meriva. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn is quick to point out the fact that the Leaf is the first EV to win the Europe COTY award, but he also stresses that the Leaf "is an appealing, competitive car, with no compromise on style, features, safety, performance or handling." Hit the jump to read over Nissan's brag-tastic press release.

[Source: Nissan]
Show full PR text
The trophy recognizing the revolutionary Nissan LEAF as Europe's Car of The Year 2011 was handed over to Nissan Motor Co.'s President and CEO Carlos Ghosn in a special ceremony at the Pavillion Gabriel in Paris.

To win the award, the 58 CoTY members - leading motoring journalists from 23 European countries - placed Nissan LEAF ahead of six conventional new cars on the shortlist. It is the first time in CoTY's 48-year history that the annual award has been won by an electric vehicle.

"I am convinced that we will see other electric cars named Car of the Year in the future. But when we do, we must always remember that only one can be the first. And that is why Nissan LEAF Car of the Year 2011 is - and will remain - so very special," said Håkan Matson, president of the CoTY jury, speaking at the ceremony.

"It is a great honor for Nissan LEAF to be recognized as the European Car of the Year - the first all-electric car to receive this distinction. Like previous Car of the Year winners, Nissan LEAF is an appealing, competitive car, with no compromise on style, features, safety, performance or handling. Yet it stands apart as an innovative car that reflects a clear vision of the future of transportation - a vision of sustainable mobility," said Ghosn after receiving the trophy.

Nissan LEAF is powered by an in-house developed compact electric motor and inverter in the front of the car driving 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 an advanced laminated lithium-ion battery with a power output of more than 90 kW. Developed by the Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), a joint venture between Nissan and electronics giant NEC Corp., the breakthrough battery has the capacity to store twice as much energy as the previous generation battery.

The zero-emission car is fully equipped with features such as regenerating braking, air conditioning, satellite navigation and a parking camera. Innovative smart phone connectivity will allow an owner to heat or cool the interior of the car remotely via a mobile phone. The single option is a solar panel mounted in the rear spoiler.

Pre-orders for Nissan LEAF have reached more than 27,000 units globally. The zero-emission car is currently built in Japan, but will also be manufactured in the United States and United Kingdom when new manufacturing facilities there open in late 2012 and early 2013 respectively. Deliveries to individual customers in Japan and the US began in December. In Europe, deliveries will start shortly to Portugal, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands followed by more markets later in the year.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance aims to be a global leader in zero-emission mobility and is taking a comprehensive approach encompassing both the product and the infrastructure required to support the mass marketing of electric vehicles. To date, the Alliance has entered into more than 90 partnerships with governments, municipal authorities and companies worldwide to prepare the markets and infrastructure for the successful adoption of electric vehicles.

* The current version of the coveted marble trophy, introduced in 2004, was created by Emmanuel Zurini, a French artist famous for his automotive sculptures. Zurini was a leading Grand Prix photographer in the 1960s before turning to sculpture in 1975. It is the third specially created trophy in the history of the Award.

Nissan has won the CoTY award before. In 1993, the Micra became the first Japanese-badged car to win the accolade and started Europe's love affair with the little car that continues today with the recent launch of the latest generation Micra in late 2010.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Nissan Leaf won the 2011 European Car Of The Year Award in Nvember last year. This isn't news guys.
      • 4 Years Ago
      U must be really ignorant if U say this car its pricy ...how much its the GM cra**p ???

      Anyway for me the price its well given, its the FIRST mass producction E car and its pretty afordable. Well done
      • 4 Years Ago
      As others said, this is kinda old...
      And you already reported it...

      As for my opinion I don't think it deserves the award. Obviously, being Italian, I supported the Alfa Romeo Giulietta (which came second, 248 points againt the 257 of the Leaf), there were lots of great cars that already are on the streets here, I was surprised when I heard that car, the title (as the rules say) should go to a car that has gone on sale at least 12 months before the date of the title, I don't think internet "pre-order" is "sale", no one apart from journalists drove it here in Europe as of 29 Nov...
      • 4 Years Ago
      And thats exactly the issue, its made for people who dont want to drive at all, its just they also hate waiting for a bus. It is the ultimate appliance. The car for people who dont like cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      just looking this car mekes me crazy.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wouldn't 2012 Car of the Year been more accurate?
      How many Leaf's has Nissan delivered in Europe?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Presumably, at least 1 was delivered in CY 2010.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ahh... On ABG, someone said a full dozen Leaf cars were delivered in Europe.

        Still not sure how many before 12/31/2010...

        Anybody got data for CY2010 Leaf deliveries in Europe?
      • 4 Years Ago

      I am a car enthusiast, and I am very interested in the Volt or the Leaf as my next car purchase. I have a fun car to play around with and a more practical commuter car for everyday stuff.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Give me a volt or e-lectric Focus anyday...
      • 4 Years Ago
      It is an innovative car and important towards development of longer range electrics. But in the end this thing is a toy with not much real world use. Its a fashion symbol due to its high price and limited range. The volt is a huge leap ahead of this thing and should have won.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It probably would have if it was in contention.
        • 4 Years Ago
        High price? It's in the low 20s. Where is Volt?
      • 4 Years Ago

      Congratulations Nissan !

      Pop pop, fizz fizz, oh what an e-Leaf it is.
      • 4 Years Ago
      reminds me of Nobel Peace prize for that black dude
        • 4 Years Ago
        @John H.: might be, I don't know... obviously I meant Obama who got nominated 10 days after his election, that's just ridiculous... and unless man is complete idiot he has to admit that
        apparently there are many idiots around
        • 4 Years Ago
        It seems some people are all too eager to call others racist!! Any way, it's a good analogy in my book because there are far better candidates imho.
        • 4 Years Ago
        bet at will, bimbo, i don't care where he was born... and shove your "racist" b/s up your a$$, his color is not what bother me on this guy
        • 4 Years Ago
        Racist much? I bet you believe Obama was born in Kenya and secretly wants the U.S to fail
        • 4 Years Ago
        Nelson Mandela deserved his Nobel Peace Prize.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "with no compromises on style.." Yeah right, this thing is ultra fugly.
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