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Nissan unveiling LEAF NISMO RC (Racing Competition) electric demonstrator

Nismo
Nissan LEAF NISMO RC Click to enlarge.

Nissan will unveil the Nissan LEAF NISMO RC (Racing Competition) battery-electric racer at the 2011 New York International Auto Show on 20 April. Nissan says it is looking at the racing world as a way to draw attention to the potential of electric vehicles.

The new electric race vehicle will likely make a series of special demonstration appearances at various motorsports venues in 2011, with the company exploring pioneer zero emission competition spec series in future years.

Combining the talents of NISMO, Nissan’s world renowned motorsports group, and engineers behind some of the company’s Super GT and FIA GT1 race teams, the Nissan LEAF NISMO RC will serve as a rolling laboratory for the accelerated development of EV and aerodynamic systems, as well as a platform for the development of new green motorsports series.

—Carlos Tavares, chairman, Nissan Americas

The Nissan LEAF NISMO RC is designed and constructed as a real racing machine, starting with its full carbon fiber monocoque bodywork. The three-piece bodywork includes removable front and rear sections, fixed windows, LED headlights and taillights and driver-adjustable rear wing. Building on the unique exterior styling of the production Nissan LEAF, the 2-door race version was created by Nissan Global Design Center in Japan. Special 4-coat Pearl White paint with blue NISMO/Zero Emission graphics completes the exterior.

Dimensionally, the race car features a 3.9-inch shorter wheelbase, is 0.8 inches longer and 6.7 inches wider. The most significant difference is height, with the NISMO RC sitting more than a foot (13.8 inches) lower than the production Nissan LEAF. Ground clearance is limited to 2.4 inches, compared to 6.3 inches for the road going car. And, at 2,068 pounds (938 kg), the race car weighs in at about 40% less than the production vehicle.

The layout of the NISMO RC is also markedly different from the production sedan, offering a mid-ship location for the battery pack, electric motor and inverter— with drive to the rear wheels versus the production Nissan LEAF’s front-wheel drive. The NISMO RC also utilizes a double-wishbone suspension design front and rear and driver-adjustable brake balance. It rides on 18-inch 6-spoke wheels and P225/40R18 Bridgestone racing tires.

Like the production Nissan LEAF, the NISMO RC is powered by a lithium-ion battery composed of 48 compact modules and a high-response 80 kW AC synchronous motor that generates 107 hp and 207 lb-ft (281 N·m) of torque. It can be charged up to 80% of its full capacity in 30 minutes using the quick charging port located inside the rear cowl.

In preliminary testing the NISMO RC produces 0 to 62 mph acceleration in 6.85 seconds and a top speed of 93 mph (150 km/h). It is projected to have a running time of around 20 minutes under racing conditions.

Comments

mahonj

So it can go about 30 miles at 93 mph.
Quite a racer.

DaveD

They are clearly trying to use it as a test bed to learn how to improve it for racing. Learning how much regen braking they can use, how it handles the high temperatures and stresses it will put on the battery packs. How well the battery packs do with multiple rapid recharges. All of this will apply to real world ways to improve the EV as well.

There are plenty of sprint series that do 20-25 minute races with ICE cars. I was watching some european and australian series last fall where they would do 3 20 lap sprint matches in a weekend and it was quite entertaining with some good races.

If they were going for a "real racer", they'd double the battery pack and put a bigger motor in. Why criticize them for making the steps it takes to get things underway and start the learning process?

Zhukova

For longer races, the battery pack could be swapped very fast, like changing a tire, if they were designed for it. How often does an ICE racer have to refuel? EVs have great acceleration coming off the line and out of curves. Maybe the greater acceleration would make up for the battery swapping time.

Zhukova

What I meant is that EVs have more torque at all speeds and could have better acceleration. Of course this depends on the weight (range) of the batteries.

Scott

...so it will be a while before we see something like this at Le Mans.

DaveD

Oh yeah.

We're talking about some type of fast swap (which could be done since they spend 30-40 seconds during driver swaps anyway) or they'll have to start using batteries that can take an 80% charge in <1 minute...a long way off indeed.

Roy_H

I am surprised they didn't put a motor in the front as well to get 4 wheel drive and better performance.

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