2011 nissan leaf
2011 Nissan Leaf – Click above for high-res image gallery

How's this for a ranking? In Fast Company's 2011 Most Innovative Companies list, Nissan came in fourth, right after (in order) Apple, Twitter and Facebook. The Japanese automaker beat out Groupon and Google and 44 others for excellent work done in the recent past. Regular readers can probably already guess the reason, but Fast Company specifically gave Nissan the nod for "creating the Leaf, the first mass-market, all-electric car." Who knew the gasless wonder is a more innovative idea than internet coupons?

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn spoke with Fast Company and he said a few interesting things. For example, he said Nissan's target market for the Leaf is "women and young people." He also took a swipe at Tesla (why?):
The first electric cars were awful. They were selling for $100,000. Who's going to buy that? Then you have the Volt, which is, what, $40,000? This is $25,000 [after government incentives], but even that I consider expensive. I don't want to make a niche product.
The auto industry may love the Chevy Volt, but no automaker aside from Nissan made Fast Company's 2011 list. The only other automotive-related company on the list is Enerkem, which can turn trash into ethanol.

[Source: Fast Company]