Photo Courtesy of Nissan USAThe all-electric Nissan LEAF is the 2011 World Car of the Year. The announcement was made at the New York International Auto Show on Thursday, April 21, 2011.
The announcement could not have come at a better time for the the prominent Japanese automaker. On April 11, Nissan announced a malfunction stemming from a sensor in the LEAF's air conditioning system that could prevent the car from restarting. There would be no recall required since the car would not stop running while being driven. The problem was reported to have cropped up in only a small percentage of the EVs.
The vehicle, which is currently available in the U.S., Japan and several European markets, also was named European Car of the Year. A panel of 66 automotive journalists representing 24 countries determine the winner of the World Car of the Year award. The BMW 5-Series and the Audi A8 were runner-ups in the competition, finishing second and third, respectively.
"It feels just like a normal car but only quieter" was the consensus from the judging committee. The five-seat, five-door hatchback was lauded for overall driving performance, quietness and handling. Nissan claims that the LEAF can travel more than 100 miles on a full charge; it takes approximately eight hours to full recharge on a 220 to 240 volt power supply. The base price of the 100-percent electric vehicle is in the low to mid $30,000 range.
Nissan, along with its alliance partner, Renault, is taking charge in its mission to become the leader of mass-marketed electric vehicles. The automobile manufacturer has forged partnerships with more than 90 governments and other organizations globally to promote sustainable mobility.
"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 Mr. Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO at Nissan. "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."
Turning of a new LEAF: Nissan also announced that the LEAF is going to be available in additional global markets in 2012. For more information, visit the company's website at www.nissanusa.com.