• Apr 17th 2011 at 10:00AM
  • 30
Nissan Leaf NISMO RC – Click above to enlarge

will unveil a racing variant of the Leaf electric car at the New York Auto Show, but the Nissan Leaf NISMO RC has little in common with its more pedestrian "sibling." NISMO started with a lithium ion battery pack and badging from a stock Leaf, then built a completely new vehicle around it.

There are no rear doors; the carpeting, navigation and stereo system are gone; and the battery pack has been relocated to the middle of the vehicle for better weight distribution. Speaking of weight, the NISMO RC is about 40 percent lighter than the production Leaf, as a carbon fiber monocoque platform and more compact dimensions cut total weight to just 2,068 pounds. The race-ready Leaf is also a foot shorter and 6.7 inches wider, and with a scant 2.4 inches of ground clearance.

While the Nissan Leaf NISMO Nismo RC is a different animal than its production namesake, it still carries a familial resemblance, at least up front. Nissan employed LED lighting all around, a driver-adjustable rear wing and plenty of NISMO/Zero Emission graphics to ensure that onlookers know this is no fossil-fuel burner.

Nissan says the NISMO RC will be used for demonstration purposes, so don't expect this Leaf to compete any time soon. The automaker does say, however, that it's considering a zero-emission spec series for the future. With an estimated run time of 20 minutes under racing conditions, the 30 minute quick-charge time (to achieve 80 percent capacity) would make for some leisurely pit stops. When the Leaf NISMO RC is in motion, its 80kW AC motor generates 107 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque; good enough for a 0-60 time of 6.85 seconds and a 93-mph top speed. No land-speed records there, folks, but we're betting this particular Leaf would be a blast to drive anyway. Hit the jump to read over Nissan's press release.

Nissan Leaf Nismo RC
  • Nissan Leaf Nismo RC

[Source: Nissan]
Show full PR text
Nissan LEAF™ NISMO RC (Racing Competition) Takes Zero Emission Strategy to a New Dimension – the Race Track

– Purpose-Built Prototype Wraps Production Nissan LEAF Components and Technology
in a Dramatic Ready-To-Go-Racing Carbon Fiber Body –

The name on the back panel, just under the massive adjustable rear wing, says Nissan LEAF™. The powertrain is an 100% zero emission advanced Lithium-ion battery design, just like that found on the world's first affordable mass market electric vehicle. And despite its lack of rear doors, rear seat, trunk, audio system, navigation, carpeting and other amenities, there is a discernable family resemblance. But that is where the similarities between the production Nissan LEAF and the Nissan LEAF NISMO RC end. As indicted by the "RC" – for Racing Competition – this new electric vehicle, which makes its world debut at the 2011 New York International Auto Show, is purpose-built to bring new meaning to the term "Racing Green."

Already a world leader in zero emission production vehicles with the late 2010 launch of the Nissan LEAF passenger vehicle in the United States, Europe and Japan, Nissan is now looking the racing world as a way to draw attention to the seemingly untapped potential of electric vehicles.

"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," said Carlos Tavares, chairman, Nissan Americas, speaking at the New York International Auto Show.

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.

A Serious Racing Machine
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 dramatic 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, the race car weighs in at about 40 percent 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 80kW AC synchronous motor that generates 107 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. It can be charged up to 80 percent of its full capacity in 30 minutes using the quick charging port located inside the rear cowl. And unlike other competition vehicles, the NISMO RC has no tailpipe, no emission of CO2 or other greenhouse gases while being driven, and no exhaust sound.

In preliminary testing the NISMO RC produces 0 to 62 mph acceleration in 6.85 seconds and a top speed of 93 miles per hour. It is projected to have a running time of around 20 minutes under racing conditions.

"There's a perception among some people that electric vehicles fall on the dull side of the automotive enthusiasm scale – which is certainly not the case with either the production Nissan LEAF or this electrifying Nissan LEAF NISMO RC," added Tavares. "Nissan LEAF owners are fully embracing this new world of zero emission technology. We believe the same potential exists in the motorsports world as well, with Nissan proud to be first on the starting grid."

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      David Hussey
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nissan Leaf is one of the best Hybrid car in automotive industry. Nissan is topmost brand of automotive industry. The Nissan Leaf Hybrid car will definitely rock the world automotive market. http://www.limousinestrader.com
      • 4 Years Ago
      Please tell me I wasn't the only one who thought this was a toy car at first because of the picture and RC in the headline.
      • 4 Years Ago
      2068 lbs with 107 hp. I'm sure those would have been kick ass performance numbers in the 1930s. When will these idiots ever piece together that no battery powered car will ever be fast. Do a google search on the specific energy of gasoline vs. the most advanced battery.
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      So, would this be front-drive or rear-drive?
        • 4 Years Ago
        FWD. It's clearly based upon the same platform as the Orlando (heck, it is an Orlando!), Cruze and Volt. Those are all FWD.
      • 4 Years Ago
      1) "The battery pack has been relocated to the middle of the vehicle "
      Why not use Swap-able technology?

      Better Place finishes successful Tokyo taxi battery swap trials, Israel and Denmark are next

      2) "The 30 minute quick-charge time (to achieve 80 percent capacity)"

      See: Arctic Whisper hybrid bus debuts in Sweden; uses Opbrid's Busbaar overhead charger
      ....rapid-charging station, the Arctic Whisper will be able stop for five to six minutes to juice up.

      • 4 Years Ago
      haha 30 minute charges to get to 80%? it would be pretty funny watching the pit crew work hard to achieve a "fast" pit stop of 28 minutes.
        • 4 Years Ago
        battery swap
          • 4 Years Ago
          Oh jeeze I wonder why they didn't think of that! I mean sure you've gotta worry about how to slide the battery into and out of the car effectively while still being able to maintain thermal management while making sure the new battery is safely secured while keeping the battery really low and centrally located so the car's moment of rotational inertia doesn't go to crap, and if this is ultimately to be used for any racing application to make sure that the pit crew and driver can do so safely... Easy!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good thing they didn't release this at the beginning of the month. Nobody would have believed it.

      I'm still not sure I do.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think it might be even uglier than the Leaf its self.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Make swappable battery packs. If it can last 20 mins under race conditions, with a 30 min charge time, 3 batteries could make for a decent race.

      While I'm not impressed by the leaf, this is kinda cool in it's own way. 107hp isn't impressive, but at that weight, it's good for a low level one make series no?

      How's the noise?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I can't be the only one who misread "NISMO RC" as "NIKKO R/C." Throw a whip antenna on it and sell it for $50. I'd buy one.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You're not the only one. As I was reading the article, I was like "Jeez, this is a huge RC car." Then I realized, it's a real car.
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X