Nissan has taken its electric car development to the next level with the unveiling of its revolutionary Nissan ZEOD RC electric racer: the car shares the same battery technology as the standard Nissan Leaf.
The Zero Emissions on Demand racer — fitted with specially-designed and constructed Michelin tyres — will become the first electric car to contest the Le Mans 24-Hours race next June.
The car, developed in just 33 weeks, will race next year at Le Mans after being invited by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest to occupy the “Garage 56” entry for vehicles showcasing new and innovative technology.
Nissan is using the ZEOD RC as a test bed to develop new electric vehicle technologies for Nissan’s planned future LM P1 program.
The car was unveiled by Nismo president, Shoichi Miyatani; Nissan global motorsport director, Darren Cox; and Nissan director of motorsport innovation, Ben Bowlby
“The ZEOD RC utilises our technology gained through the development of the Nissan Leaf Nismo RC, the first EV racer based on the mass production zero emission vehicle,” Miyatani said.
“The Leaf RC’s energy management and efficient energy recovery system that is suitable for racing are just examples. We believe these technologies serve as important steps for using EV for motor sports.”
The Nissan ZEOD RC will become the first car to complete an entire race lap of the 8.5-mile Le Mans circuit on nothing but electric power.
The car will reach speeds in excess of 300km/h (185mph) and lap the famous French circuit faster than an LM GTE car.
The driver will be able to switch between electric power and a small lightweight turbocharged internal combustion engine. The car — which shares the same battery technology as the Nissan Leaf — will recharge the battery via regenerative braking.
“This weekend is an important milestone in the journey to Le Mans for the Nissan ZEOD RC,” Cox said.
“Our goal for the program is to draw back the curtain for the fans to see the innovative technology that Nissan is developing.
“We’re going to let Michael Krumm take a look at the car for the first time and he will join Lucas Ordóñez in a test driver role in helping develop the car. His experience in winning Super GT and FIA GT1 World Championships for Nissan will be a very valuable asset to the program.
“Michael is also a Nissan Leaf owner and a passionate believer in the future of electric vehicles for the road.”
Nissan is renowned as a global leader in electric vehicles for the road – selling more than 80,000 Nissan Leaf since the start of sales in late 2010. The Nissan ZEOD RC is the first step on taking the lead in bringing electric vehicles to the racetrack.
“The Nissan ZEOD RC will utilise technology never before seen at Le Mans and will provide a unique experience for the fans,” Bowlby said.
“To see the car go down the Mulsanne Straight at 300km/h in virtual silence will be unique. Developing the battery technology to incorporate this into a Le Mans prototype is an enormous challenge, but the lessons learnt will not only be very beneficial for the future LM P1 program, but also we can use this information to assist in the development of future versions of the Nissan Leaf and other electric vehicles for the road.”
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