Nissan Leaf EV wins 2011 World Car of the Year title over Chevy Volt and Audi A8

Nissan Leaf wins 2011 World Car of the Year title

Today, at the New York International Auto Show, the 100-percent electric, zero-emission Nissan LEAF was named 2011 World Car of the Year, edging out the BMW 5-Series and the Audi A8 for the top spot. The all-electric Leaf that was first introduced one year ago, at the same time as the Gulf oil spill, beat the Audi A8 and BMW 5-Series to take the top honour, announced Thursday at the New York Auto Show.

Today’s award is the latest in a string of accolades for the world’s first affordable mass-market, all-electric vehicle for the global market, which was also named European Car of the Year.

“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 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.”

The Nissan Leaf is a small, four-door hatchback, powered by an electric motor, that develops 80 kW and 280 Nm of torque. With a top speed of 90 mph (140 km/h), and a range of 100 miles / 160 km, the Nissan Leak is actually quite useful in urban areas. It requires 8 hours to recharge using 220-240V power supply.

Previous winners of the World Car Of The Year award include the Volkswagen Polo in 2010, Volkswagen Golf in 2009, the Mazda2 / Mazda Demio in 2008.

While the Leaf took the overall World Car of the Year title, it lost out on the World Green Car of the year title to the Chevrolet Volt. That’s a change from the North American Car of the Year awards handed out in Detroit in January. Autoblog writes, “Oddly, the Volt was named 2011 North American Car of the Year, while the Leaf was merely a runner-up.”

General Motors Co.’s extended range Chevrolet Volt won World Green Car at the New York International Auto Show today, defeating BMW 320d and the Nissan Leaf. The World Car Design award went to the Aston Martin Rapide, defeating the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and the Ferrari 458 Italia. The Ferrari 458 Italia was named the winner of the World Performance Car category, defeating the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and Porsche 911 Turbo.

The World Car Awards organization is not affiliated with any publication. It uses a set of jurors chosen from amongst automotive journalists.

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