Nissan Leaf Wins the 2011 European Car of the Year Award

While our readers favored the Alfa Romeo Giulietta in our poll, the jury of the 2011 European Car of the Year Award (COTY) announced that the Nissan Leaf is the winner, earning a total of 257 points. This is the first time in the 47-year history of the competition that the award goes to an electric vehicle.

“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.

The Giulietta came in second with 248 points, while the Opel/Vauxhall Meriva took the bronze, with 244 points.

Naturally, Nissan is happy with the result. The firm's CEO Carlos Ghosn commented: “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”.

The Nissan Leaf is a plug-in EV, featuring an 80 kW (107 hp) AC electric motor that's fed by a Nissan-developed laminated lithium-ion battery. The EV accelerates from standstill to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 11.9 seconds and it has a driving range of 175 km (109 miles).

Deliveries in Japan and the U.S. start this December, while European customers will have to wait until early 2011. Base price in Europe is €30,000, but there are government incentives in several countries, ranging between €3,000-6,000. The U.S. government offers a $7,500 federal tax credit, which means that the U.S.-spec model starts from $25.280.

By Csaba Daradics

2011 COTY Final Standings

1. Nissan Leaf 257 points

2. Alfa Romeo Giulietta 248 points

3. Opel/Vauxhall Meriva 244 points

4. Ford C-MAX/Grand C-MAX 224 points

5. Citroën C3/DS3 175 points

6. Volvo S60/V60 145 points

7. Dacia Duster 132 points