What looks like a NASA spacecraft, can go 185 mph and has the ability to emit zero carbon-emissions?
Give up? Can’t quite believe it’s true? Well here it is… the Nissan ZEOD RC.
On the outside, it seems like a remarkable machine, meeting somewhere in between the Discovery shuttle, a drag racer and jet-fighter.
Nissan has already built up something of a reputation for electric vehicles, with the LEAF already making an impression on the commercial market. However, the ZEOD RC is a different kind of beast.
Built for performance and expected to push further innovations in the electric motor framework, the experimental vehicle has also been developed to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours event when it gears up next year.
Able to cover the 8.5 mile Le Mans circuit on electric power alone, the vehicle will be helped throughout the race by a small lightweight turbocharged internal combustion engine. In addition to this innovation, it will feature something rather similar to the road ready LEAF models.
Battery technology will see the powersource regenerated via energy used when the car applies the brakes – and it will certainly need to do that.
Drivers will have to handle the arrow-head shaped car, which can deliver speeds of an incredible 185mph. To put this in perspective, the car should be able to complete a Le Mans lap faster than an LM GTE car. Unbelievable.
This type of performance is unprecedented for an electric car, although more research is going into the development of eco-friendly performance and supercars.
The first official reveal of the vehicle will be made at the FIA World Endurance Championship weekend, although it was presented outside of the manufacturers innovative Nismo headquarters in Japan earlier this week.
From a simple idea, the ZEOD RC became a reality in just 33 weeks, further demonstrating Nissan’s passion for top-quality electric vehicle development.
According to Nismo president Shoichi Miyatani, the car highlights just what the technology featured in the average LEAF is capable of.
“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,” he added.
With the public unveiling rapidly approaching, Nissan Global Motorsport director Darren Cox understands the full value of the upcoming weekend and what it means as they aim for Le Mans next year.
“Our goal for the programme is to draw back the curtain for the fans to see the innovative technology that Nissan is developing. We could not think of a better place than the Fuji round of the World Endurance Championship for the actual ZEOD RC to appear in public for the first time. We have interrupted our intense testing in the UK to fly the car to Japan for this display for the Japanese fans,” he said.
Director of Motorsport Innovation for Nissan Ben Bowlby went on to say that the technology in the ZEOD RC will be a first for the Le Mans event.
The vehicle will be welcomed into Garage 56 at the endurance competition, following an official invitation from Automobile Club de l’Ouest. This particular area is reserved for vehicles showcasing innovative technology.
“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,” Mr Bowlby stated.