The Nissan Leaf, the zero-emission electric car, powered by a lithium-ion battery that can be recharged in about eight hours and has a 100-mile range, has been selected as the 2011 World Car of the Year.
The Nissan Leaf was chosen from an initial entry list of 39 new vehicles from all over the world, then a short list of ten, then three finalists: the Nissan Leaf, the Audi A8 and the BMW 5 Series.
The World Car Awards jurors, announcing the award at the New York International Auto Show, commented:
“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. Dropped onto a unique platform and body, the Leaf’s lithium-ion battery modules and electric motor generate 108hp and 206 lb ft of torque, propelling the hatch from zero to 60mph in 11.5 seconds and a top speed of 90mph.
“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 Leaf was ranked No. 2, behind the natural gas-powered Honda Civic GX, in the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s Greenest Car list last year.
The Leaf has a sticker price of about $33,000, but after a federal tax credit of $7,500, the car costs about $25,000. The Leaf is considerably less expensive than the Volt, which costs around $40,000, or about $32,500 after the tax credit.
Previous World Car of the Year winners were the Volkswagen Polo (2010), Volkswagen Golf (2009), the Mazda2/Mazda Demio (2008), Lexus LS460 (2007), BMW 3-Series (2006), and Audi A6 (2005).
World Car of the Year candidates must become available for sale on at least two continents during the period beginning January 1, 2010 and ending May 30, 2011.
Vehicles are selected and voted on by an international jury panel comprised 66 top-level automotive journalists from 24 countries. Each juror was appointed by the World Car Steering Committee on the basis of his or her expertise, experience, credibility and influence.
Now in its seventh year, the annual World Car were launched in January 2004 to reflect the reality of the global marketplace, as well as to recognize and reward automotive excellence on an international scale.