The Nissan Leaf was honored as the 2011 World Car of the Year at the The New York auto show. The affordable, all-electric car beat the Audi A8 and the BMW 5-series, its closest two competitors, and was also named runner-up for the World Green Award.
"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 recent award recognized the efficient Nissan LEAF as a "pioneer in zero-emission mobility, as well as honoring 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," said the Japanese automaker.
This isn't the first award won by the Nissan's Leaf for the auto giant. The Leaf was named European Car of the Year in January. The Nissan Leaf is the first fully electric vehicle to do so.
CrunchGearreported, "The award for the European Car of the Year, which is similar to the North American Car of the Year, which the Chevrolet Volt won at the Detroit Auto Show, is chosen by auto journalists; 58 of them from 23 European countries. The contest was very close. The Leaf rang up 257 points from the journos, besting the Alfa Romeo Giulietta by only 9 points."
Ghosn has predicted on a number of news broadcasts that the Leaf, and electric vehicles like it, will account for at least 10% of the auto market by 2020. The sticker price of the all-electric Nissan Leaf averages around $33,000. Federal tax credits can lower that price substantially. The Leaf is less expensive than Chevrolet Volt, which averages $40,000.
Nissan reports the car is "5-seater, 5-door hatchback and is the world's first, purpose-built, mass-produced electric car. It has a range of over 100 miles on a full charge, 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 under-steer."
"The Nissan Leaf is available in Japan, the United States and select European markets and will be released in other global markets in 2012," reports the company. The vehicle is currently built at Nissan's Oppama, Japan plant."
Nissan announced last month that they have implemented a policy of monitoring and testing all vehicles manufactured at plants in the disaster-stricken country of Japan for traces of radioactive material, following the nuclear crises at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
Nissan said, "It also will be manufactured at the company's Smyrna, Tenn. plant, as reported in Digital Journal, in the United States in late 2012 and at Nissan's Sunderland plant in the United Kingdom by early 2013."
The win by the Nissan Leaf for World Car of the Year validates the design, production and sale of electric vehicles to consumers today, said Autopia at Wired.
Wired reported "The jurors called it “the gateway to a brave new electric world.”