• Jun 8, 2011
Nissan Leaf Nismo RC – Click above to watch videos after the jump

On Thursday, the Nissan Leaf Nismo RC will hit the tarmac during a demonstration event prior to the 79th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which is precisely why the engineers behind Nissan's electric racer have been getting the machine out on the track for some shake-down action.

With its trick carbon fiber bodywork and three-door layout, the Leaf Nismo RC certainly looks sinister, but its stripped-straight-from-the-road-going-Leaf powertrain isn't the type of electric drivetrain needed to rip 'round a track with authority.

Ideally, Nissan says that its Nismo Leaf RC could compete in inter-city events where typical vehicles have always been too loud or in indoor races where a zero-emissions vehicle makes perfect sense.

While patiently waiting for the Nismo Leaf to hit the track at Le Mans, check out Nissan's latest pair of videos after the jump. Hat tip to Dan!

[Source: YouTube]




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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      hmm, the unimpressive performance aside because they use the leaf drivetrain, I wonder what the range is since it's so much lighter now. that's actually an interesting fact they seem to have left out to not draw attention to the fact that the leaf is heavy like oprah's ass : ) the nismo range might actually be dramatically better. near 300km. and because the same pack has that much greater range you can charge 100km proportionally quicker with existing installations. they say 80% in 30 minutes. that's about 12 minutes for 100km. it's quite interesting that they omitted range.. it's further noteworthy that the battery pack makes up about half the weight of the nismo. if you cut the pack in half you would still have the original leaf range because the car is even lighter. maybe 600kg. the performance would also improve. maybe below 5 seconds to 100km/h. and it could be improved a lot more. I wonder if they still have the lead acid starter battery in it
        Chris M
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Performace is improved simply due to reduced weight, though the maximum speed is still limited - of course, on a short oval or twisting track, maximum speed is less significant than handling. "Range" would only be a concern for a longer race, I suspect that EV racing, at least at first, will tend to be well below the maximum range of the cars, unless battery swapping is included. The RC can be much lighter than the Leaf due to use of expensive carbon fiber and exotic alloys that are too expensive for the Leaf, as well as the fact that they can leave out extra seats and such niceties as floor mats, interior finish (note how spartan it is), air conditioning and heating. They are also not worried about long tern durability, race cars are usually retired after a few years and replaced with something newer. Cutting the pack size in half not only halves the range, it also halves the power available. A version with a half size pack would not perform as well as a full size version, in spite of the weight reduction - power is cut by half, but weight is only cut by a quarter, the result is much less acceleration, not "slightly more"!
          Timo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Chris M
          "Cutting the pack size in half not only halves the range, it also halves the power available" That might be true in case of Leaf battery, but it doesn't need to be the case. There are batteries with huge power densities, which if used here would give way more output than Leaf engine could handle even if they were half the size (kWh) of the Leaf battery. Altairnano or A123 batteries which are used in electric dragsters are not big, yet they give several hundred HP output. Also arrangement of the batteries affect this. Series vs parallel, how many volts are being used and how much amps can batteries give with which arrangement. Obviously Leaf battery is bad for racing, this whole car is a joke. They could make it a good racing car, but that would require leaving Leaf background out and build and design a completely new drivetrain for this car.
      Ernie Dunbar
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Ideally, Nissan says that its Nismo Leaf RC could compete in inter-city events where typical vehicles have always been too loud or in indoor races where a zero-emissions vehicle makes perfect sense." Or, they could actually make an electric race car, instead of making an electric car *look* like a race car. Then they would be taken more seriously. Especially if said car were stomping gas-powered cars at the track, like this guy did: http://proev.com/RRptPgs/R070004h.htm
      Ladson
      • 3 Years Ago
      The driver is having to drive the car using momentum instead of the usual hard on the brakes, in slow, out fast technique of a car with more power. Watch his entries and the slower early accelerations out of the slower corners. I'll bet this will be a demon with about 400 ft/lbs of motor.
        Timo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ladson
        It would be with decent engine and better battery, but it doesn't have those. That's the ridiculous part of the car. It looks like a racing car, but it has an engine power comparable to Nissan Micra. I bet that if you put Nissan Micra engine in that frame you have faster car than that Nismo RC. OTOH if you do that (either one of those) then it wouldn't be Nissan Leaf-derived car anymore. Then the entire package would have changed to something else.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Is sound like a jet fighter.
      Timo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Oddly bad handling. Those curves didn't look like fast ones, yet car either oversteered or understeered in every one of them. Like if they had used a really really hard tires. Acceleration sucks (as expected), and top speed was poor. It just looks good. That is a sheep in wolfs clothes.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yeah, of course Nissan could make an EV supercar for the track. So what? The self-imposed restrictions make it interesting and more challenging. "Hey, the LEAF can power a race car!" = PR win.
        Timo
        • 3 Years Ago
        I'm not at all sure they could. Making electric racing car is something Nissan haven't done yet (this joke for a race car doesn't count). Some others have done electric short race race cars that rival or even surpass their ICE counterparts, but car for Le Mans race (or similar long race) would be completely different task to do. I'm not at all sure that that is even possible with current battery techs, not to mention fast enough safe charging for pitstops so that car doesn't lose too much to diesel Prototype -class Le Mans racers. With battery swap perhaps. Or with that new liquid batteries recent Autobloggreen article mentioned (but that's future tech). Making electric race car for short races is possible and has been already done, but again not by Nissan. They apparently lack the expertise to do such a car. This Nismo is just for pure PR, probably good PR as long as you keep the performance figures out of the PR and don't let people know how awfully slow it is. If you release the fact that this is about half as fast as mass-produced street legal Tesla Roadster in track this car becomes a joke, and bad PR. Roadster isn't even fastest street legal EV:s around, there is Nemesis Electric which is way faster than Roadster. Nemesis Electric video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfP1P-ohN-w
      Michael Walsh
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Down into second, clip the apex...." Oh, wait.....no snappy gearchanges. LOL!