After watching its top battery car competitor, the Chevrolet Volt, snag several key endorsements, the 2011 Nissan Leaf has landed a big one of its own. The compact battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, has been named European Car of the Year, overcoming tough competition from an assortment of conventional and “green” products.
Leaf’s victory not only marks the first time a battery car has won the influential award but the first time an electric vehicle has simply made it into the final round, where Nissan’s entry was pitted against the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Opel Meriva, Citroen C3/DS3, Dacia Duster, Ford C-Max and Volvo S60.
“This award recognizes the pioneering zero-emission Nissan Leaf as competitive to conventional cars in terms of safety, performance, spaciousness and handling,” said Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn as he accepted the annual award. “It also reflects Nissan’s standing as an innovative and exciting brand with a clear vision of the future of transportation, which we call sustainable mobility.”