Nissan Leaf Britishbuilt zero emissions electric car wins top …

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Zero emissions electric Nissan wins European Car of the Year award — and it is built in Britain

UPDATED: 08:28 GMT, 30 November 2010



The British-built Nissan Leaf which offers 2.5p a mile motoring has become the first all-electric vehicle to be crowned European ‘Car of the Year’ for 2011.

Judges said the pollution free ‘green’ car, which can be charged from the domestic household mains, was the first electric vehicle to match conventional petrol cars and didn’t drive like a milk-float.

The ground-breaking Leaf goes on sale in Britain and Europe from the beginning of next year and is scheduled to be built in Britain at Nissan’s Sunderland plant, which employs 4,900, from 2013. It is already being built in Japan.

The Nissan Leaf is powered from the mains for 2.5p a mile motoring and can accelerate from rest to 60mph in 11.8 seconds

Billed as the world’s first mass-marketed, affordable, zero-emission vehicle for the global market, the Leaf beat 40 contenders to win motoring’s most important accolade.

Deliveries in Japan and the United States begin this December. The first UK customers will get their Leafs in March, priced at priced at £23,990 — which includes a £5,000 ‘green’ Government discount, funded by the taxpayer to help kick-start the market in electric vehicles.

This is the first time in the 47-year history of the annual competition that the award has gone to an electric vehicle.

Powered from the domestic mains for 2.5p a mile motoring, the Leaf is the ultimate pollution-free ‘plug and play’ car. And it has none of the carbon dioxide — blamed for global warming — or oxides of nitrogen and sooty particulates you get from diesels.

The Nissan Leaf is powered by a compact electric motor in the front of the car, which drives the front wheels.

With charge stored in a bank of 48 Nissan-developed laminated lithium-ion batteries, the electric motor develops 109 horse-power, enough for a maximum speed of 90mph. Acceleration from rest to 60mph takes 11.8 seconds.

It has a range of more than 100 miles between charges, which the company says makes it a practical proposition for many urban drivers.

Fuel cost per mile is about 2.5p compared to 7.4p for an already frugal Seat Leon 1.6 Diesel according to the green website run by Dr Ben Lane.

The vehicle produces none of the carbon dioxide — blamed for global warming — or oxides of nitrogen and sooty particulates produced by diesels

Covering the average annual mileage of around 12,000 miles would cost £120 to £170 compared to £1,550 for a small petrol car averaging 40mpg. The £1,400 saving could fund a half-decent holiday.

There’s no London Congestion Charge to pay because, as a zero emissions car, it’s exempt.

And maintenance costs are up to 15 per cent less than a conventional car.

The vehicle is fully equipped with features such as air conditioning, satellite navigation, parking camera and advanced on-board IT and telematics systems.

The owner can even monitor the car’s state of charge and the remaining battery capacity, as well as arrange to heat or cool the interior of the car remotely via mobile phone or computer.

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A fast charger unit, as some councils, supermarkets and electricity generation companies are preparing to install — achieves an 80 per cent recharge in half an hour.

The Car of the Year jury is made up of 58 senior motoring journalists from 23 countries charged with choosing the most outstanding new car to go on sale in the past 12 months.

Because it is a zero emissions car, the Nissan Leaf is exempt from the London Congestion Charge

Håkan Matson, president of the Car of the Year jury said:’The Nissan Leaf is a breakthrough for electric cars.

It is the first electric vehicle that can match conventional cars in many respects.’

Steve Cropley, editor-in-chief of the world’s oldest motoring magazine Autocar is one of the six British voters and said he placed the Leaf at the top of his list:’

‘The Nissan Leaf was my own winner this year. So I’m delighted to see it win. It does more than any rival to “normalise” electric cars.’

Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.’s President and CEO Carlos Ghosn said: “This award recognises the pioneering zero-emission Nissan Leaf as competitive to conventional cars in terms of safety, performance, spaciousness and handling.

‘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.

Nissan has three more electric vehicles in the pipeline, and its French partner Renault has four.

The Japanese hatchback scored a total 257 points, despite splitting opinion to the point where several jurors placed it in last place.

Its total was nine points clear of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta (248 points) and 13 clear of the third-placed Vauxhall/Opel Meriva (244). The remaining finalists were the Ford C-Max/Grand C-Max (224 points), the Citroën C3/DS3 (175), the Volvo S60 and V60 (145) and the Dacia Duster (132).

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