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Nissan Leaf named 2011 European Car of the Year

Nissan today announced the all-electric Nissan Leaf has been named 2011 European Car of the Year.

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

Well, the Nissan Leaf has done it again. It's garnered another award.

This time, the Leaf has been named 2011 European Car of the Year. The Leaf beat out 40 contenders including Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Dacia, Ford, Opel/Vauxhall, and Volvo.

In the 47-year history of the annual competition, this is the first time the award has gone to an electric vehicle. This comes on the heels of the Leaf being rated at 99 MPGe by the Environmental Protection Agency.

"This award recognizes the pioneering zero-emission Nissan Leaf as competitive to conventional cars in terms of safety, performance, spaciousness, and handling," said Nissan Motor President and CEO Carlos Ghosn. "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. With three other electric vehicles in the pipeline from Nissan--and with the imminent market introduction of four additional electric vehicles from our Alliance partner Renault--Nissan Leaf represents a significant first step toward a zero-emission future."

Deliveries of the Leaf will begin this December in Japan and the United States. But it won't hit Europe (Portugal, the Republic of Ireland, the U.K. and the Netherlands) until early 2011. 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, Nissan said in a statement.