• Jul 20, 2010
Nissan is reportedly considering building a sports car based on the electric drive hardware from its new Leaf EV. From a business perspective, it would likely make sense for Nissan to follow the same path set forth by Toyota/Lexus with premium hybrid models, and indeed, the Leaf is already pegged to get a pricier sibling at Infiniti. A premium battery electric vehicle could be sold a significantly higher price point, helping to subsidize the cost of more mainstream models like the Leaf.

The big question is what platform to use. Mercedes-Benz and Audi are both developing electric versions of their respective supercars. Nissan could do a battery powered version of the 370Z, which has both its positives and negatives. The Z is relatively lightweight for a modern car, although its small size could make packaging the battery problematic. A more likely scenario might be a version of the 2009 Infiniti Essence concept which was originally shown as a hybrid. The larger car would allow for more battery and range.

A third possibility that might actually be the best option is a new car based on the Leaf platform but with the motor moved to the rear axle. The compact size of the electric motor could make packaging easier than with an internal combustion vehicle, and much of the rest of the hardware could stay the same.

[Source: Inside Line]


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  • 18 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      A recent interview with Mark Perry form Nissan. PLease show me a more reliable and better stated figure from a NIssan exec or a printed Nissan spec.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nissan, I love you and your attempt to make great sporty cars is admirable. But seriously, you need to start making money. EV commercial Vans, Sedan, and what not should be your priority. Making a Sporty EV car? No, do it later or incorporate it to the GTR. Not cost effective unless you can make other stuff on the same sport platform.

      And make the god damn sport concept already with RWD. Heck, FWD if you wanna do it that way, it'll still be a good looking car.

      That, I seriously want my Nissan stock to go up already haha.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why not just chop off 2 doors and make an all electric CRZ fighter?
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Leaf's batteries will be insufficient.

      What do people like to do with their sports cars, be it a Corvette or a Porsche? Go to track days!!! I used to go to track days, where I got around 7 MPG, verses 24 MPG on normal highway driving. It's not enough that a car get 100 miles range of regular driving, it needs to get 100 miles range of very aggressive driving.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sheez!.. the vast majority of sport cars NEVER get near a track.

        It would be cool if Nissan took the LEAF platform and made a sports car.. perhaps a 2-seater that looked somewhat like a retro 240Z.. they dont need to change much, perhaps just go to a bigger motor.. dont try to achieve Tesla like performance, 0-60 of about 8 seconds is plenty fast... a 50-50 weight distribution combined with a very low CG will be delightful... 100 mile range with the standard battery is fine also.

        I really dont think the LEAF will be heavy compared to a conventional car.. after all its dumping the 400lb gasoline engine and associated subsystems.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ugh don't retro it. I don't get why people like to retro everything. Evolve and move on. Staying in the past and you'll just get stuck in the past.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The 370Z is not a good candidate as it is not a light weight car to use as a platform. Second the Leaf is one heavy pig with a mid-power EV drive, that's why it only does 0-60 in about 12 slow seconds per Nissan! The leaf needs to go on a diet itself and Nissan needs a much lower weight platform and higher powered drive to build anything worth calling a sports car. The Leaf drive also looks quite bulky and heavy compared to the very low weight and high output ACP drive. Does any one wonder why performance EVs use low weight chassis? If you want any reasonable performance it's going to cost quite a bit for the low weight materials. I think many will be surprised when they lean the weight of the Leaf drive components VS the ACP system and the power differences.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Nissan Leaf 0-60 time is around 11.5 seconds:
        'Top speed - 90mph - is some way behind petrol class rivals, although 0-60mph in 11.5 seconds is similar to a mainstream petrol Focus.'

        http://www.carmagazine.co.uk/Drives/Search-Results/First-drives/Nissan-Leaf-2010-CAR-review/?content-block=0
        • 4 Years Ago
        Where does this disinformation come from?

        The LEAF is much quicker than what you list.
        • 4 Years Ago
        mark: If you can't provide a link to some kind of source, then there's not much point in just repeating the same number over and over.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Officially Nissan has not released an official 0-60 time yet. But nothing I have read talks about a time anywhere near the 12 seconds you state.

        Nissan predicts a 0-60 mph time of about 9-10 seconds:
        http://www.automobile.com/2011-nissan-leaf-review.html

        The leaf has a faster 0-30 time than any other Nissan production vehicle:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2Qr0uuLB0g

        So off the line acceleration will be very good and top end acceleration will be adequate if not sporty compared to other vehicles in its class(prius 0-60 is 9.8sec, chevy malibu 8.9 sec). The leaf is built to be a commuter car and that is where its electric power will shine.
        • 4 Years Ago
        As per Nissan 0-60 in 11.5 seconds, that is the official Nissan quoted number so expect 12 seconds, if its more than 9 it's pretty lame for an EV with an 80kw motor.
        • 4 Years Ago
        In a recent interview they stated 11.5 seconds. They also continue to state higher and higher weights lately so it seems the weight creep has impacted the 0-60 time. Bottom line is the Leaf is heavy and so it suffers and the motor is designed for torque to move all that weight.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't know who from Nissan you spoke with, but Larry Dominique, Mark Perry and others have consistently said it is less than 10 seconds (typical for cars in that class).

        Remember that that this is the company that said the GTR would be less than 5 seconds- they tend to be pretty conservative about stuff like that.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This could go a couple of ways: either a true sports car like the recent Renault concept that would be made in limited numbers or a sporty car like the Renault Wind that would sell in much larger numbers.

      I could see it working either way. Much of the weight in the LEAF is from overbuilding the car to make it bullet proof and silent- making it stiffer and quieter than an Infinity. The LEAF, despite a small footprint is also a pretty large car inside, so you could reduce the size significantly to make a sportier car. Remove much of that weight and put it in a lighter vehicle, and it could perform very well. Also, if you made it a convertible, like the Wind, you could remove the AC and save on weight and range. With a shorter wheelbase and a very low center of gravity, you could see some amazing handling.

      Long-hood cars like the Z don't make sense for this, because it works counter to the ability to optimize weight distribution. However, it would work well for a hybrid.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "The length of the hood has nothing to do with weight distribution.

        The 370Z has a weight distribution of 54/46 front/rear, which is pretty good."

        If you are thinking only about linear weight distribution measured at the front and rear axles (as typically measured by car magazines), then you have a point. However, weight distribution truly means more than that- referring to where the weight is distributed throughout the car. Ideally, you want the weight of a car to be as low and as centered as possible for optimal handling. Having most of the weight on the ends may get you 50/50 balance on one axis, but it will not handle as well as a car with its weight low and centered.

        And you could easily place the battery under that long hood- there is much more space there than there is between the back seat and trunk in the Fluence. The problem is it doesn't take advantage weight distribution benefits batteries present.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Long-hood cars like the Z don't make sense for this, because it works counter to the ability to optimize weight distribution."

        The length of the hood has nothing to do with weight distribution.

        The 370Z has a weight distribution of 54/46 front/rear, which is pretty good.

        The problem with making the 370Z into a BEV has already been stated: there's not enough space in the present structure for a sufficiently sized battery, which means it wouldn't be cost effective to make a conversion due to the amount of re-engineering that would be required.

        It would be better to build a dedicated BEV sports cars from the ground up than try to use the existing 370Z.

        Besides, there are long hood BEV designs that work well, specifically the Ginetta G50EV:

        http://www.evworld.com/news.cfm?newsid=23444

        • 4 Years Ago
        The only thing that really matters is if the weight is evenly balanced within the wheelbase, inside the axles.

        You're thinking about a rotational center of inertia, and I agree that having the weight in the center is ideal. However, that is not always possible, actually, is almost *never* possible considering the packaging limitations of a motor, a battery pack, cooling systems - not to mention putting the driver somewhere - so the weight must be distrubuted outside of the exact center.

        As long as the weight is in-between the axles, and as long as that weight is evenly distributed, then the car will generally handle very well.

        In the case of the 370Z, there is no central location to place the batts, which is why I said:

        "It would be better to build a dedicated BEV sports cars from the ground up than try to use the existing 370Z."

        I then gave an example of a long-hood design BEV that handles very, very well.
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