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Nissan LEAF is 2011 European Car of the Year

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Nissan LEAF has been named 2011 European Car of the Year, becoming the first electric vehicle in the 47-year history of the annual competition to win the award.

Nissan LEAF's rivals included vehicles from brands such as Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Dacia, Ford, Opel/Vauxhall and Volvo. The jury included 57 leading motoring journalists from 23 European countries.

Nissan LEAF scored 257 points, nine points more than the Alfa Romeo Giulietta (248 points) and 13 clear of the third-placed Opel Meriva (244).

The Ford C-Max/Grand C-Max scored 224 points, the Citroen C3/DS3 -175, the Volvo S60 and V60 - 145 and the Dacia Duster – 132 points.

"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," said Hakan Matson, President of the Jury, Car of the Year.Nissan LEAF is powered by a compact electric motor in the front of the car, which drives the front wheels. The AC motor develops 80 kW of power and 280 Nm of torque, enough for a maximum speed of 145 km/h (90 mph). The electric motor is powered by a Nissan-developed laminated lithium-ion battery with an output of more than 90 kW. The car has a range of 175 km (New European Driving Cycle) between charges making it a practical proposition for many urban drivers.

The vehicle is fully equipped with features such as regenerating braking, air conditioning, satellite navigation, parking camera and advanced on-board IT and telematics systems. Innovative connectivity will allow an owner to set charging functions to monitor the car's current state of charge and the remaining battery capacity, as well as to heat or cool the interior of the car remotely via mobile phone or computer. The Nissan LEAF will be available in five colors in Europe - blue metallic and pearl, white pearl, silver metallic, black solid and red pearl. The single option is a solar panel mounted in the rear spoiler that supports charging of the car's 12V battery used for powering accessories.

Nissan LEAF will be priced at under €30,000 after incentives in most of its European launch markets.

Deliveries in Japan and the United States begin this December. In Europe, deliveries start in early 2011 to Portugal, the Republic of Ireland, the UK and the Netherlands. The zero-emission car is currently being built in Japan, but will also be produced in North America and Europe when new manufacturing facilities open in late 2012 and early 2013.

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