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Nissan Leaf Wins European Car of the Year

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On: Wed, Dec 1, 2010 at 5:35PM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Leaf Wins European Car of the Year

The Nissan Leaf may have lost to its #1 rival (Chevy Volt, for those that haven't been watching) in Car of the Year awards from Motor Trend and the Green Car Journal, but across the Atlantic, Nissan is officially king. The Leaf took home "European Car of the Year," an award decided upon by a who's who of Europe's automotive journalists, 58 journalists from 23 countries, if you want to get technical. The Leaf has finally one-upped the Volt, but unfortunately, it's in a market far from any of the planned launch markets in the U.S. And since the Volt isn't scheduled for European launch (not as the "Volt" anyway), and wasn't in the running in the competition, it wasn't quite a head-to-head victory.

Nissan/Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn said of the award: ""This award recognizes the pioneering zero-emission Nissan LEAF as competitive to conventional cars in terms of safety, performance, spaciousness and handling...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 Leaf beat out a field of seven competitors that included the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and the Opel/Vauxhall Meriva. It was picked for a combination of its quietness, space and similarities to conventional, gas-powered cars.

The award's jury explained: "In spite of the lack of a large recharging network and the limited range, the Leaf represents a technical and commercial bet that might otherwise satisfy many potential consumers, especially where public incentives will come to reduce the paying price."

Jury President Hakan Matson added: "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.

The Nissan Leaf, which hits the American market in select cities this month and Europe next month, is set to be the first mass-produced electric vehicle. It derives forward motion from an 80 kW front-mounted engine and a lithium-ion battery.

Last week, the EPA came out with official ratings for the car, giving it a 99 mpg-e rating and a 73-mile range. Those numbers are far short of the 367 mpg and 100-mile range that Nissan advertised in the past, and give consumers a more accurate picture of the car's capabilities.

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RoadKill | 6:07PM (Wed, Dec 1, 2010)

Just another useless award for another car that probably does not deserve one...remember the 1983 Motor Trend Car of the Year award was the Renault Alliance

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