PONTIAC, MI - Ward's AutoWorld magazine has included the Nissan Leaf's all-electric, zero-emission drive system on the publication's 10 Best Engines list for 2011.

Ward's 10 Best Engines competition is designed to recognize powertrains that set new benchmarks in their respective vehicle segments. Ward's editors spent October and November driving the vehicles in their routine daily commutes around metro Detroit and scored each engine based on power, technology, observed fuel economy and noise, and vibration harshness. There was no instrumented testing.

The awards will be presented at a Jan. 12 ceremony in Detroit during the North American International Auto Show.

"We engineered 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 of Nissan Americas.

The all-new Nissan Leaf features a high-response 80kW AC synchronous motor powered by a 24 kWh lithium-ion battery manufactured at the Automotive Energy Supply Corp. (AESC) operation in Zama, Japan, which is a joint-venture of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and NEC Corp. Both motor and inverter have been developed by Nissan, and the power system generates 107 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. The power is transferred to the wheels through a single-speed reduction gear.

Unlike a conventional internal combustion engine, Nissan said, the Leaf delivers maximum torque from start to provide smooth, consistent acceleration. Performance in the low- to medium-speed range is equivalent to that of a vehicle powered by a V6 gasoline engine.

The 2011 Nissan Leaf goes on sale this month in selected markets in the United States and will be available nationwide in 2012.

To learn more about the Leaf, click here