Nissan Leaf European Car of the Year 2011

Nissan Leaf becomes the first Electric Vehicle to Win the Prestigious Award COTY 2011

Nissan Leaf – battery powered electric car from Nissan – has won the European Car of the Year 2011 award by a distinct margin of 9 points.  This is the first time in the last 47 years of the competition that an electric vehicle received this prestigious award.  So it was indeed a historic moment for Nissan Motors to receive the highest accolade for its 100% electric car – Nissan LEAF.  Nissan had earlier won the European Car of the Year award in 1993 – for its Nissan Micra.

nissan leaf car of the year 2011

The world’s first affordable, mass-marketed, zero-emission car – Nissan Leaf – was selected as the European Car Of The Year 2011 from over 40 contenders,including top European car brands such as Citroen, Opel/Vauxhall, Alfa Romeo, Ford, Volvo and Dacia.  The jury who selected the European COTY 2011 included 57 top automotive industry journalists from over 20 European countries.  Seemingly, the majority of journalists selected the Nissan Leaf for the European Car of the Year 2011.

The jury unanimously agreed that Leaf – Nissan’s Electric car is a breakthrough in electric vehicles, and it is the first Electric Vehicle that can compare with conventional cars in many ways.  The Leaf emerged at the top by winning 257 votes.  With 248 point Giulietta from Alfa Romeo came 2nd, and Meriva from Vauxhall with 244 points came 3rd.  C-Max from Ford received 224 points for the 5th position.

Nissan LEAF is front wheel drive car which is powered by a compact electric motor.  Laminated lithium-ion batteries developed by Nissan power this electric motor, which can produce an output of over 90 kW – sufficient for generating a maximum speed of 90 mph (145 km/hr).  The Leaf can go for 175 km between charges making it a practical solution for city drivers.  Nissan Leaf is loaded with features like air conditioning, parking camera, satellite navigator, and advanced telematics and IT systems.  The car also has innovative use of technology such as controlling the charging, heating or cooling of the car remotely via a computer or mobile phone.

Nissan will start deliveries of Leaf in Japan and the USA from the first week of December.  In Europe, deliveries will commence in March 2011 starting with the UK, Nettherlands, Ireland and Portugal.  The Nissan LEAF will be available in five colors – white pearl, blue metallic and pearl, red pearl, silver metallic and black.  Leaf is currently manufactured in Japan, but Nissan plans to start producing this vehicle in Europe and North America by end of 2012.   The five-door family hatchback will be priced at around £23,990 in Europe.

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Mitsubishi Rolls Out 5,000th i-MiEV

Mitsubishi Motors recently rolled out 5,000th i-MiEV off its assembly line since it started full-fledged mass production of the i-MiEV electric car in June 2009.  This feat by Mitsubishi is a remarkable achievement in electric vehicle industry.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV is the first mass-produced Electric vehicle,and has been trialled and tested worldwide since its debut in July 2009.  By of the end of October 2010, the i-MiEV has sold more than 3,000 units in Japan alone, in a time span of one year and three months.  This is remarkable achievement for the i-MiEV in spite of its high price tag of $4,300 (4,000,000 yen).

mitsubishi i-miev

Buoyed by this success, Mitsubishi Motors has started production of left-hand drive versions of i-MiEV meeting European specs last month for European markets.  This move will surely bring sales much higher.  Mitsubishi plans to expand its production for the US market by the start of 2011 fiscal year.  This is a strategic move by Mitsubishi Motors to introduce i-MiEV in the global markets.

The i-MiEV is assembled at Mitsubishi’s Mizushima plant in Kurashiki, Japan.  Hong Kong Government was the first customer to buy a large batch of i-MiEV cars after carrying out extensive testing that lasted for six months.  Other than Japan, Hong Kong is the first Asian country where i-MiEV electric cars are sold.

In the fiscal year 2011, Mitsubishi plans to move assembly of the i-MiEV from the existing assembly line to the assembly line for mini-cars.  Mitsubishi aims to move the assemble lines with a goal to increase its production capacity for supplying i-MiEV cars to the European and North American markets.

For the success of Electric Vehicles, apart from the car design, infrastructure development plays a major role.  Mitsubishi has been tying up with Japanese government agencies and other industries to work together for the implementation of Electric Vehicles.  Mitsubishi has also been conducting collaborative research with electric power companies for evaluating and analyzing quick-charge compatibility and practical applicability of Electric Vehicles.  This research will help to develop infrastructure  and vehicles for convenient and safe EV use.

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Honda CR-Z Japan Car of the Year

Honda CR-Z Named Japan Car of the Year 2010-11

Honda CR-Z recently won the Car of the Year Japan award for 2010-2011.  Japan’s Grand Award for Good Design was presented to the sporty hybrid Honda CR-Z by the Japanese Prime Minister.  The other news declares that Honda CR-Z is announced as the winner of Japan’s prestigious Car for 2011 award.  Apart from being a big hit in Japan,  Honda‘s CR-Z is also enjoying popularity in other countries.

The hybrid car was announced as the best car of the year by the Executive Committee of sixty Japanese motoring journalists.  The judges appreciated the hybrid tech of Honda CR-Z and also its fun-to-drive nature.  This award proves the public acceptance towards the exceptional environmental performance of fun to drive Honda CR-Z at a reasonable price.

honda crz hybrid

Volkswagen Polo is declared as this year’s Import Car  and the juries appreciated it for its good fuel economy plus high quality exterior and interior.   Peugeot RCZ won a special award for future balance of driving satisfaction and innovative design.  The supermini is honored for having total safety equipment.

The award of Japan Car of the Year by CR-Z – Honda reflects the true value of the joined efforts of Honda business partners and others who have supported the production and development CR-Z.  Honda was awarded in 2007-’08 with the JCOTY prize for its latest generation Fit.

Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TSI came in a close second. As per Autocar, the poll for this year was closely challenged in annual award’s history and Honda’s CR-Z got 406 votes whereas votes for the Polo was 397.  New redesigned Swift by Suzuki was at 3rd position with 228 points and the Peugeot RCZ car was at 4th position with 190 points.  New March compact by Nissan was at 5th place with 67 points.   BMW 5 Series was at 6th position with 62 points.  The Jaguar XJ was at 7th with 54 points and Mazda minivan was at 8th position with 51 points.  Mark X Domestic sedan by Toyota was at 26 points whereas E-Class by Mercedes-Benz was at the end with 19 points.

Japan has two more JCOTYs organized by RJC Group and second one is an online poll where anyone can vote.  The points given for winner car may differ by theses other JCOTYs .  However the next news is, Honda Malaysia has announced that Honda will launch the Insight hybrid next month.