By on April 21, 2011

After Nissan’s Leaf drove away with the European Car Of  The Year title and the Volt snagged the American Car Of  The Year title, what else was there to win? The WCOTY, of course. The champion of champions, the World Car Of The Year. And the winner is …

It’s the all electric, battery-powered Nissan Leaf. It edged out the BMW 5-Series and the Audi A8. The range extended Volt wasn’t even in the running. The World Car of the Year competition was launched in 2004, with winners chosen by a panel of automotive journalists from Asia, Europe and North America.

That the American Volt didn’t stand a chance with a United Nations of a jury is understandable. But a battery-powered Leaf winning against such heavyweights like the BMW 5-series and Audi A8, that’s remarkable.



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15 Comments on “One Of These Is The World Champion Of Cars...”

  • avatar

    Don’t really see what’s so special about the 5 and A8.

  • avatar
    John Fritz

    A golf cart wins WCOTY. Wonderful.

    • 0 avatar

      Ooooh, careful.  When I called it a golf cart at the Toronto Auto Show, the hip long-haired 20-something display attendent got *really* pissed…..

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Come on, that’s half the fun.  You should have seen the face of the attendant of the late 1990s Escort GT when I refered to the purple color of the car as – puse. 

    • 0 avatar

      Golf Cart… Really? Fritz it’s time to wake up and smell the price if $5 gas. Maybe you can afford to pay 50 cents a mile to drive your 85 % inefficient gas fueled air and heat pump. However, many of us welcome the chance to Not hand over their dollars to OPEC and many who want us dead. I can drive my electric can 20 miles on the amount of electricity it takes just to refine ONE gallon of gas for your ICE car. That does even include the cost to pull it out of the ground and transport it.

      • 0 avatar
        John Fritz

        I just put almost seventy bucks worth of gas in my Crown Vic this afternoon.That hurts. Well, it hurts me. But I still can’t get my head around owning an electric car, regardless of the potential savings. It would never work for the travel I do and I don’t see the technology being advanced enough at this point for widespread use .
        I will tell you this; I would love to drive an electric car for a week and see how that experience would change my opinion of them.

      • 0 avatar

        I see Fritz’s point. The golf cart sobriquet is a bit harsh, but the Leaf is probably considered a viable vehicle in Japan, where (I’m guessing) distances commuted and overall travel by car is less than what we do in North America. IMO in the US, the Leaf is really an alternative to a second or third car in a person’s or family’s fleet. In North America, we demand that a vehicle gets somewhere around 300 miles out of a tank of fuel, or a charge, as it were. We also demand that this same vehicle be re-fueled or re-charged in a very short amount of time. As it stands today, there is no infrastructure to rapidly re-charge or swap out batteries for an electric vehicle in the US. Cars like the Leaf only work for a very narrow slice of the population here. A conventional hybrid or EREV like the Volt are much better suited to North American demands.
        I, too would like to try one to see if I could live with one. But I still think I’d go crawling back to my ICE powered car when the experiement was over. At least for now.

    • 0 avatar

      I wonder what the criteria for “WCOTY” are?

      I don’t really see how a glorified golf cart running on laptop batteries is more of an achievement than the Volt – the jury must really have a strong anti American bias.  The LEAF is not practical as an only car, while the range extended Volt can be “zero emissions” (i.e., coal or nuclear power) on the daily commute and still be used for the occasional long trip.  Regardless of what you might think about GM, US foreign policy, or the wisdom of the electrification of cars, the Volt is a significant engineering achievement.

      I really don’t see what’s special about the A8 or 5 Series – they are nice enough cars, but thoroughly conventional in every regard.  In some ways, these both represent a bit of a step back from where these models were 10 years ago – compare the clean, timeless look of the D3 / E39 with the garish overstyled monstrosities shown above…

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Given the source of most electricity generated around the world (burning of coal), I would say the choice of the Leaf is laughable, without regard to the competition.

    • 0 avatar

      Could coal plants generate energy more efficiently and more cleanly than lots of little internal combustion engines? Would the Leaf be laughable?

    • 0 avatar

      DC Bruce, I’m not really sure you have thought that through completely.  Yes, coal sucks at least as it is currently utilized, but generating electricity with coal and transmitting it to an electric car still reduces GHGs substantially compared to burning gas in an ICE at 20% conversion efficiency. 

  • avatar

    “That the American Volt didn’t stand a chance with a United Nations of a jury is understandable”
    Hi Bertel, according to the Volt is the winner in the “Green Car” category.

  • avatar

    Why do you keep calling Volt “range extended” if its simply yet another hybrid ? Plugin hybrid, yes, but hybrid nonetheless.

  • avatar

    It runs quite a bit further in pure EV mode before kicking into hybrid mode – hence range extended EV. Many users could do their daily commute in EV mode before kicking in the ICE.

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