The Nissan Leaf was chosen from an initial entry list of thirty-nine (39) new vehicles from all over the world, then a short list of ten, then three finalists: the Nissan Leaf, the Audi A8 and the BMW 5 Series.
"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.
The World Car Awards jurors observed that, "The Leaf is the gateway to a brave new electric world from Nissan. This 5-seater, 5-door hatchback is the world's first, purpose-built, mass-produced electric car. Dropped onto a unique platform and body, the Leaf's lithium-ion battery modules and electric motor generate 108hp and 206 lb ft of torque, propelling the hatch from zero to 60mph in 11.5 seconds and a top speed of 90mph. It has a range of over 100 miles on a full charge claims Nissan, takes around 8 hours to recharge using 220-240V power supply and produces zero tailpipe emissions. Its low center of gravity produced sharp turn-in with almost no body roll and no understeer. The good news? It feels just like a normal car, only quieter."
Also at the World Car Awards, other notable winners include the Chevrolet Volt (World Green Car), the Ferrari 458 Italia (World Performance Car), and the Aston Martin Rapide (World Car Design of the Year).
To be eligible for the overall World Car award, the candidates must become available for sale on at least two continents during the period beginning January 1, 2010 and ending May 30, 2011.
Vehicles are selected and voted on by an international jury panel comprised of sixty-six (66) top-level automotive journalists from twenty-four (24) countries around the world. Each juror was appointed by the World Car Steering Committee on the basis of his or her expertise, experience, credibility, and influence. Each juror typically drives and evaluates new vehicles on a regular basis as part of their professional work. Through their respective outlets they collectively reach an audience of many millions world-wide.
Previous World Car of the Year winners were the Volkswagen Polo in 2010, Volkswagen Golf in 2009, the Mazda2 / Mazda Demio in 2008, the Lexus LS460 in 2007, the BMW 3-Series in 2006, and the Audi A6 in 2005.