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Can a Nissan Leaf beat a Tesla Roadster Sport? At the inaugural running of the Oresund Rally, which features nothing but electric cars that took place in Denmark and Sweden from September 10 to 11, it can.

At the starting line was the Leaf, the Roadster, four Citroen C-Zeros, two Peugeot iOns and a couple of converted electric rides. When the dust settled, it was the Nissan Leaf that captured the Oresund Rally title.

If you just went to go look up the top speeds of the participating vehicles and were wondering how this could happen, there's one importatnt point to make: the Oresund Rally is not an ultimate speed type of event. Rather, it's a regularity rally, meaning that the overall objective is to arrive at each destination on time. There are checkpoints along the rally's route and even a tenth of a second too slow or fast results in a penalty. The team with the least penalty points wins the event.

The Leaf, with 182 penalty points, trounced the competition with the next closest competitor scoring 451 points. Meanwhile, the Tesla Roadster Sport was penalized to the tune of 6,100 points. And in last place, a converted Fiat 500 racked up 8,000 points. These types of timed events are a consistent driver's dream and a lead-footer's nightmare. It's all the more difficult to hold back from gunning a Roadster whenever you have the chance, so we can understand if the driver racked up 6,000 points in exchange for some pleasure.
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Nissan LEAF wins EV rally in Denmark

This weekend Nissan Nordic entered a Danish Nissan LEAF team into the Oresund Rally- an EV rally- and soundly beat all competitors, including two Citroën C-Zeros, a Tesla Roadster and several Peugeot iOns.

The inaugural Oresund Electric Car Rally took place in Denmark and Sweden from September 10th to 11th, featuring some of the best regularity rally drivers in the region. Besides Nissan, other established electric car brands such as Citroën, Peugeot, and Tesla competed to win this prestigious title; but it was the best car in Europe and the World that secured the title after the two-day event. The Nissan LEAF can now add yet another first prize to its resume - as the Oresund Electric Car Rally 2011 Champion.

The Oresund Electric Car Rally is not a TSD (Time Speed Distance) rally such as those you can see on Eurosport- with dirt flying and cars jumping- but a regularity rally which means that the objective is to be on time. There are check points along the predefined route and even a tenth of a second too slow or too fast will result in a penalty. Therefore, in regularity rallies the co-driver is even more important than the driver than in a 'normal' rally, because it is the co-driver who ensures that the speed is just right to be on time - every time. Additionally, the rally is conducted on public roads, in order to mimic a normal driving experience and make it extra-challenging for the drivers to comply with the predefined time check points.

Nissan faced a tough competition with electric cars coming from some of the world's biggest car manufacturers. That did not hold Nissan back however, and already on the first race day, it became clear that the Nissan team were in it to win. By the end of Saturday the Nissan LEAF team was leading the race, and when early Sunday arrived, it became clear to many that the Nissan team would triumph; beating Citroën's two C-Zero's, and Peugeot and Tesla respectively in the process.

According to Nissan Nordic Europe's Communications Director, Taina Erkkilä, the EV rally win in Denmark summed up Nissan LEAF's position in the EV market quite perfectly: "Winning is always nice but winning against all the other EV manufacturers is great - and it showcased the Nissan LEAF strongpoint very well, a reliable and exciting car that will get you where you want on time. I want to thank Peter Hal and the whole Nissan Denmark organization for bringing together the winning rally team and their huge effort to make this win happen."

The team behind the success:

The winning Nissan team consisted of Danish rally combo Tim Svanholt (driver) and Bjarne Kristensen (co-driver and observer). Both of them are talented and recognized rally drivers, who between them have many years of experience. Most recently, Tim Svanholt won the Danish Rally Championship in 2009, and has several times been awarded the title "Rally Driver of the Year". At the Oresund Rally the two drivers really showed their worth and proved once again that they are among the best in their field.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 17 Comments
      Jelly
      • 3 Years Ago
      Being a Larry leadfoot l would probably come last. Just see Murray Walker doing the commentary on this one, the Nissan Leaf has just arrived in the pits for a battery recharge wow it looks like the Nissan team have got it down from 12 hours battery stop to a 11 hour 59 minutes and 58 second pitstop Faaaantaaaaastic!!!!! SSSSSSSsssss Cant wait until VW's awesome Classic shaped Bulli microbus arrives with a 1 hour charge and 183 miles between charges. That the sort of thing that will get folk interested in Electric Cars not very boring bland dull sleep inducing Nissan LeafSSSsssssssss.
      Michael Walsh
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'll take one of each of the cars pictured please. Yes, even though I already have a LEAF, I wouldn't kick a second one to the kerb.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Michael Walsh
        would you be ready to pay for them? because then I'm sure something can be arranged : )
      Timo
      • 3 Years Ago
      So, basically I could win that title with electric motor assisted tandem bicycle? Or is this only for four-wheelers? Golf-cart then.That's not Leaf victory, that's the most punctual pilot & co-pilot co-operation victory. With right drivers any car could win that one, there's no test for endurance, speed, handling or anything relevant to cars in that race. What a stupid race and cheap PR for Leaf.
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Timo
        It's not a race at all, a race implies a necessity of speed. This rally, according to its rules, favored obeying speed limits. Most rallies have different ways to award points, but this one had to be tailored to current EV technology, so it had to be made as boring as possible.
        PR
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Timo
        It's a classic GAS car rally format. Gas powered vehicles have been running rallies like this dating back to the 1950's. It isn't biased towards any particular brand or vehicle. It just happens to be that the driver of the Leaf did a better job than other drivers. It is actually a format where the vehicle itself is zeroed out as a factor, and it become more of a competition between the skills of drivers and navigators. So while the title is that Leaf beats Tesla, the REAL competition was the Leaf driver beat the Tesla driver. I hope that explains why this isn't a "stupid race and cheap PR for Leaf".
          Timo
          • 1 Month Ago
          @PR
          To my point of view it is cheap PR for Leaf, because you could win that race with electric assisted bicycle. It isn't really a race, a punctuality challenge perhaps. Measures who is best at determining speed behind the wheel. That's like calling chess a race. That "race" doesn't have anything to do with the cars, so gloating about it like they do in press release is cheap PR for Leaf. I bet Nissan arranged the car for the best drivers (and probably made sure that no-one else in the "race" has done any good job in this kind of challenges). OTOH you could turn that to cheap PR for Tesla Roadster too "too fun to drive to care about punctuality". Too bad someone else did even worse job than they did for this challenge.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 1 Month Ago
      bit lame to pretend the leaf could beat the roadster but ok : )
        Chris M
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        A rally is a whole different contest, the objective is to complete the course, at street legal speeds, arriving not too late OR too soon. This gives the advantage to good driving and good navigation, not pure speed or acceleration.
          • 1 Month Ago
          @Chris M
          Not all rallies are that way, most don't have a problem with too soon. Iron Butt Rally, for example, has no such thing as too soon. But this rally was designed for hypermillers, instead of skilled drivers.
          Timo
          • 1 Month Ago
          @Chris M
          Good navigation, sure, but I'm not that keen on saying it gives any advantage on good driving. Punctual driving perhaps, but that doesn't indicate good driving.
      sandos
      • 1 Month Ago
      The vanity plate on the tesla means "electric" or electric propulsion. Thought it was a nice touch.
      John R
      • 3 Years Ago
      Maybe it's because I'm not familiar with a regularity rally, but I fail to see the point. What are we testing here - the preciseness of a co-driver's measurements? We're not testing the cars' range or speed, that's for sure. It doesn't look like we're testing the driver's skill in particular, either.
        PR
        • 1 Month Ago
        @John R
        It is a format borrowed from classic gas car rally "races" that pits the skills of driver and co-driver against the skills of other drivers and co-drivers. It is a format used over and over with gas cars to pit drivers of all kinds of classic cars of different horsepower made in different decades in the same event. It very much tests the driver's skill. Maintaining rigorous structured driving and maintaining average speeds is actually very difficult and requires high amounts of discipline and planning. Typically it requires both high speed and low speed sections in a stage, where an average MPH is higher than the slow section, and lower than the fast section.
          PR
          • 1 Month Ago
          @PR
          Keep in mind that typically rallies are done on open roads with traffic. For comparison, try to drive to work every day and arrive at work at EXACTLY the same time (to the second) every day. Keep in mind that rallies usually have both minimum and maximum speeds that drivers cannot go over or under.
        Timo
        • 1 Month Ago
        @John R
        It is a punctuality challenge. Any rustbucket could win that if the driver is skilled with punctuality. Driver driving skills are secondary.
      j
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sounds like a seriously cool way to spend an afternoon for someone who likes EV's. Trying to wrap my brain around how to win this. Do they have navigators on-board tracking time vs speed and position? Do they mark your position at intermediate check points. What is the penalty for roaring (well at least generating a nice turbine like electric whine) at 125 mph and then just waiting for the time to elapse and leisurely crossing the finish line. So many possibilities, interesting, thanks for that!
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