Nissan LEAF Nismo RC brings EV tech to world of motorsport

Posted on February 11, 2013 by in Latest News, News

WHAT happens when you bring together the accessible performance philosophy of Nismo with the world’s first affordable mass market electric vehicle?

The answer is the Nissan LEAF Nismo RC, a bespoke track-ready carbon fibre prototype with a 100 per cent zero-emission lithium-ion powertrain.

Stripped of its rear doors, back seat, boot, audio system, sat-nav, carpets and other comfort and convenience features, there is an obvious family resemblance to the LEAF production car. RC stands for Racing Competition and this special LEAF has been created as a showcase for the potential of environmentally aware vehicles in series motorsport.

The car made its world debut at the 2011 New York Motor Show. Carlos Tavares, Chairman of Nissan Americas, told media and VIP guests: “Combining the talents of Nismo… 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.”

The Nissan LEAF Nismo RC has been designed and constructed as a real racing machine, starting with its full carbon fibre monocoque bodywork. The three-piece shell includes removable front and rear sections, fixed windows, LED headlights and rear lights and a driver-adjustable rear wing.

It’s 20mm longer than a standard LEAF and 1,700mm wider. The overall height is 350mm lower, and ground clearance is restricted to just 60mm. At 938kg it weighs in at approximately 40 per cent less than the production vehicle.

The layout of the Nismo RC is also markedly different, with a mid-mounted location for the battery pack, electric motor and inverter. Drive goes to the rear wheels rather than the front.

No exhaust pipe

The Nismo RC also features 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 tyres.

Like the production Nissan LEAF, the Nismo RC is powered by a lithium-ion battery composed of 48 compact modules and a high-response 80kW AC synchronous motor that generates 107 horsepower and 280Nm of torque. It can be charged up to 80 per cent of its full capacity in 30 minutes using the CHAdeMO quick charging port located inside the rear cowl. Unlike other competition vehicles, the Nismo RC has no exhaust pipe, no exhaust note and no exhaust emissions.

The car can hit 62mph in 6.8 seconds and has a top speed of 93mph. It has a running time of around 20 minutes under racing conditions.

Ever since its premiere the car has been drawing crowds with special demonstration appearances at various motorsports venues around the globe. They include at the Le Mans 24-Hour Race, France, and the UK’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it was the first electric racing car to ever complete a timed run up the iconic event’s famous Hill Climb.

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