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.