Nissan LEAF is the 2011 World Car of the Year

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 22, 2011

The Nissan LEAF, a zero-emission and 100-percent electric vehicle, received the 2011 World Car of the Year award today at the New York International Auto Show, surpassing the Audi A8 and the BMW 5-Series from the top spot.

Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, has expressed his joy for the award, and stated that it recognizes Nissan LEAF as comparable to gas-powered vehicles in terms of superb handling, driving performance and quietness.

The award also confirms the company’s clear goals as well as the values of sustainable mobility that it wants to bring to the global market, Ghosn stated.

The LEAF is considered the gateway to a new electric market from Nissan, according to the jurors of the World Car Awards. Being an electric car, the LEAF has a range of at least 100 miles on a full charge, and takes around eight hours to recharge through a 220-240V power supply, the company claims.

This 5-door, 5-seater hatchback produces zero tailpipe emissions, and has a low centre of gravity which produces sharp turn-in with almost no understeer and no body roll. In addition, this model feels just like a normal car, only more silent. Winners for the World Car of the Year competition, which was launched in 2004, were chosen by a panel of automotive journalists from North America, Asia, and Europe.

Considered as the first budget-friendly mass-produced electric automobile, Nissan LEAF also bagged a series of awards such as the European Car of the Year. This vehicle model is available in the United States, Japan and select European markets. It will also be released in other countries in 2012.

On the front end, the Nissan LEAF is identified by a sharp, upright V-shaped design with long, up-slanting LED (light-emitting diode) headlights. These LED headlights feature a blue internal reflective design that seemingly states that the Nissan LEAF is a special car. Moreover, these LED headlights have been designed to split and redirect airflow away from the door mirrors to reduce wind noise and drag.

Since the LED headlights have an energy consumption equivalent to just 10 percent of conventional lamps, they help Nissan LEAF get extra range from its battery. Inside, the Nissan LEAF features a "blue earth" color theme, which is derived from the Aqua Globe body color of original model.

This theme is clearly conveyed through the EV’s blue dashboard highlights and instrument illumination. One of the interesting features of the new Nissan LEAF is its exclusive advanced IT system linked to a global data center, allowing it to provide support, information, and entertainment anytime during the day.

Drivers could discern how much power the Nissan LEAF still has and where the nearest charging station is just by looking at the dash-mounted monitor. They could also use their mobile phones to turn on air-conditioning as well as set charging functions, even when their Nissan LEAF is powered down.

Likewise, they could pre-program an on-board remote-controlled timer to recharge batteries. Tooru Abe, Chief Product Specialist, remarked that the IT system gives the Nissan LEAF a critical advantage. Abe quipped that the IT features helped them make the LEAF a partner for the driver and an enhancement for its passengers and create a zero-emission community.

While Nissan considers the LEAF as a critical first step in creating a new era of zero-emission mobility, the carmaker still expects internal-combustion engine (ICE) technologies to be given a vital role in global transportation for the upcoming decades.

This is the main reason why the Japanese carmaker is using holistic approach in implementing its zero-emission goal, offering a wide range of eco-friendly technologies from which customers could choose. In fact, some customers may find the Nissan LEAF as the only car they will ever need, while others will choose this EV as an addition to their fleet of family vehicles, specifically for daily trips.

Press Release

NISSAN LEAF WINS 2011 WORLD CAR OF THE YEAR

Today, at the New York International Auto Show, the 100-percent electric, zero-emission Nissan LEAF was named 2011 World Car of the Year, edging out the BMW 5-Series and the Audi A8 for the top spot. Today's award is the latest in a string of accolades for the world's first affordable mass-market, all-electric vehicle for the global market, which was also named European Car of the Year.

"It is a great joy that the world's first, mass-marketed electric vehicle, the Nissan LEAF, has won the prestigious award of 2011 World Car of the Year," said Nissan Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn. "This accolade recognizes Nissan LEAF, a pioneer in zero-emission mobility, as comparable in its driving performance, quietness and superb handling to gas-powered cars. And it validates Nissan's clear vision and the values of sustainable mobility that we want to offer to customers around the world."

The World Car Awards jurors observed that, "The Leaf is the gateway to a brave new electric world from Nissan. This 5-seater, 5-door hatchback is the world's first, purpose-built, mass-produced electric car. It has a range of over 100 miles on a full charge claims Nissan, takes around 8 hours to recharge using 220-240V power supply and produces zero tailpipe emissions. Its low center of gravity produced sharp turn-in with almost no body roll and no understeer. The good news? It feels just like a normal car, only quieter."

The World Car of the Year competition was launched in 2004, with winners chosen by a panel of automotive journalists from Asia, Europe and North America.

Nissan LEAF is available in Japan, the United States and select European markets and will be released in other global markets in 2012. The vehicle is currently built at Nissan's Oppama, Japan plant. It also will be manufactured at the company's Smyrna, Tenn., plant in the United States in late 2012 and at Nissan's Sunderland plant in the United Kingdom by early 2013.

Aiming to be the world leader in zero-emission vehicles, Nissan, with its Alliance partner, Renault, has formed partnerships with more than 90 governments, cities and other organizations around the world not only to develop and produce EV and lithium-ion batteries but also to promote sustainable mobility. Nissan is also taking a comprehensive approach to encourage to the world to more sustainable mobility such as improvement of charging service, infrastructure deployment, the promotion of the use of recycled materials and overall energy management system including second-life use of lithium-ion batteries.

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