While a number of electric vehicles around the world are being graced with green car honors, the Nissan Leaf just one-upped them all by nabbing one of the world’s most coveted auto prizes — European Car of the Year. This award comes on the heels of the EPA’s official gas mileage estimate for the Nissan Leaf which came in at a whopping 99 miles per gallon. The Leaf is the first battery powered vehicle to win the award (though the Toyota Prius hybrid took the prize in 2005).

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Though the Leaf is the first electric vehicle to be honored — the competition has been around for 47 years — the European Car of the Year award hasn’t shied away from efficient vehicles. Much like Europe as a whole, the panel of judges seems to like their cars small and gas friendly. In addition to the Prius the award has been given to the Ford Focus — which is soon to be electric too — and the Toyota Yaris, two vehicles with non-guzzling engines that are also available in the US.

This award recognizes the pioneering zero-emission Nissan LEAF as competitive to conventional cars in terms of safety, performance, spaciousness and handling,” noted Nissan Motor Company’s President and CEO Carlos Ghosn. The award was decided by a jury of 57 automotive journalists who narrowed the pool of 41 contenders down to seven in the first weeks of November. That pool of seven included the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, the Citroën C3/DS3, the Dacia Duster, the Ford C-Max, the Opel/Vauxhall Meriva and the Volvo S60/V60.

Via Autoblog Green