Ward’s Adds Nissan Leaf’s Powertrain To 2011 ’10 Best Engines’ List

Chalk up another unique first for the all-electric Nissan Leaf: Its innovative powertrain just became the first propulsion system without an engine to be named one of Ward’s 10 Best Engines of the year.

It was no easy task, either. The experts at Ward’s, which has been releasing its prestigious engine honors for 17 years now, evaluated 38 competitors for this year’s honors. Reflecting the changing face of the industry, not only was this the biggest group of contenders ever, but it also included a very wide range of powertrains, including both naturally aspirated and forced-induction engines, diesel powerplants and hybrid electric systems in addition to the Leaf’s all-electric propulsion setup. The contenders were analyzed based on key characteristics like horsepower and torque; noise, vibration and harshness; their technical attributes; and market relevance.

The Pohanka Nissan Of Salisbury Service said the ground-breaking powertrain in the Leaf scored well thanks to its combination of a high-response 80 kW synchronous motor and a 24 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, together producing 107 hp and an instantaneously available 207 lb.-ft. of torque. Leveraging this unit, the Leaf can deliver up to 100 miles of electric-only driving range at speeds of up to 90 mph, all while achieving EPA ratings of 106 mpg city/92 mpg highway/99 mpg combined.

“We engineered the Nissan Leaf to have drive characteristics that would impress drivers, whether you’re comparing it with other electric vehicles or those powered by internal combustion engines,” said Carlos Tavares, chairman, Nissan Americas. “The inclusion of Nissan Leaf in Ward’s 10 Best Engines demonstrates that the Nissan Leaf can compete with all top vehicles, no matter the propulsion system.”