The world’s first mass-market electric vehicle has secured its place among some of the world’s greatest transport innovations according to a survey conducted by Nissan to mark its 90th birthday this week.

Since the company was founded, on 26th December 1933, Nissan has established a storied history of pioneering electric vehicles, legendary performance cars and revolutionary crossovers that demonstrate its own daring spirit of innovation over the last nine decades.

From the 1947 Tama electric vehicle, via the LEAF – the world’s first mass-market EV in 2010 – to recently revealed future EV concepts like the Hyper Punk and Hyper Urban, the company strives to enrich people’s lives with thrilling journeys and pioneering technology that help to create a cleaner, safer and more inclusive world.

To mark its 90 years of automotive success, Nissan commissioned a OnePoll survey of 2,000 UK adults to find out people’s opinions on a list of other significant transport innovations of the last 90 years – with the opening of the Channel Tunnel, Concorde’s first flight and the invention of satnav coming out on top. The electrification of the London Underground, the first modern hovercraft and the first zebra crossing also ranked in the top 30.

Looking to the future, the study showed that 69 per cent think that new technologies will play a big part in reducing the environmental impact of transportation in this country. 

The survey also revealed that 27 per cent are in favour of introducing artificial intelligence into the car industry, while 29 per cent hold the same views for public transport. 

With artificial intelligence (AI) becoming increasingly commonplace in day-to-day life, Nissan has utilised the technology to bring its 90-year heritage to life by imagining transport scenes that compare the Tama, its first ever electric car in 1947, to the modern-day Ariya EV.
Andrew Humberstone, managing director of Nissan GB, said: “Over the last 90 years, we’ve always dared to do things differently at Nissan and have delivered some truly ground-breaking innovations along the way.

“We’re so proud of this pioneering spirit and the people who make up our incredible global team at Nissan - I look forward to sharing more automotive design, technology and driving excitement with our customers in the future.”

The Nissan LEAF featured at number 19 on the list, while EVs specifically were voted as the innovation that holds the most promise for the future of UK sustainability. A third of those polled also believe the motor industry has undergone the most exciting changes over the past nine decades - compared to aviation, rail, and cycling. 

More sustainable road travel (38 per cent), scientific advancement (16 per cent), and employment opportunities (11 per cent) were also seen as the biggest opportunities within the EV industry. 

Seventy percent of those surveyed believe transport innovations have had a positive impact on their own lives, and 54 per cent claim it has made travelling easier for them. 

Almost three quarters (71 per cent) agree it has improved their ability to travel and commute up and down the country, and staying connected with family and friends has become easier for 30 per cent.  

What’s more, 41 per cent of those polled have been able to save time on their journeys, and 43 per cent are able to travel to longer distance locations thanks to the various innovations. 


1. 1976 - Concorde makes first passenger-carrying supersonic flight
2. 1957 - First flight of a commercial jet airliner
3. 1994 - The opening of the channel tunnel
4. 1958 - First commercial jet airliner
5. 1981 - Maiden flight of the space shuttle
6. 1960 - Launch of the first Sat Nav 
7. 1951 - Creation of power steering
8. 1988 - First airbag 
9. 1934 - Introduction of the Driving Test
10. 1955 - Creation of the Hovercraft 
11. 1959 - The first three-point seat belt 
12. 2022 - First zero-emissions electric flight takes place
13. 1939 - First practical helicopter built 
14. 1949 - First zebra crossing 
15. 1971 - The Lunar Roving vehicle is used on the moon
16. 1964 - Launch of the Bullet Train
17. 1939 - Creation of automatic transmission
18. 1967 - Automatic Train Operation: London Underground
19. 2010 - Launch of the world’s first mass-produced electric car 
20. 1984 - Driverless Cars
21. 1953 - First air conditioning in a car
22. 2022 - First railway line run by hydrogen-powered trains
23. 1971 - ABS technology first used on a car
24. 1940 - First electric bus delivered
25. 2003 - First automatic parking 
26. 2016 - First hydrogen-powered flight 
27. 1984 - First car with a CD player
28. 2001 - First hands-free Bluetooth kit 
29. 2018 - First driverless trams tested
30. 1958 - Creation of cruise control