Well, that's a nice start. Nissan says a test version of its ZEOD RC racecar has completed its first 24 laps at Le Mans in France. And, aside from two "small technical issues," things went swimmingly.

The ZEOD (which stands for "zero emissions on demand") RC pairs a 1.5-liter, three-cylinder engine with a couple of electric motors and includes regenerative braking. The Japanese automaker first started testing the vehicle last fall. The first ZEOD prototype was unveiled at Le Mans last summer.

Driven by Wolfgang Reip and Tommy Erdos, the test-version ZEOD suffered from a broken fuel pump and faulty exhaust, but still completed "large sections" of the circuit on electric power alone, so Nissan is gonna call the test run a success. The goal, of course, is to complete a single, 8.5-mile lap at Le Mans purely on electric power.

Nissan will test the real version of the ZEOD this week in the UK. Satoshi Motoyama and Lucas Ordóñez will drive with Reip at the actual Le Mans race. Check out Nissan's press release below, and take a look (you can cringe a bit if you want) at a really cool crash-test video of the car from last month here.
Show full PR text
Nissan ZEOD RC on track at Le Mans for the first time

SILVERSTONE, UK & LE MANS, FRANCE – The Nissan ZEOD RC completed its first 24 laps of Circuit de la Sarthe with GT Academy winner Wolfgang Reip and two-time Le Mans P2 winner Tommy Erdos at the wheel.

While the car was delayed with two small technical issues – a broken fuel pump issue and a broken exhaust – today's test was an important step in the development of the car that aims to complete an entire lap of Le Mans on pure electric power.

"Today has been a very important step in the development of the car and what we have achieved is actually quite remarkable," said NISMO's Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, Darren Cox. "We knew we were tackling a huge challenge with the goal of building a car that could complete an entire 8.5 mile lap of Le Mans on nothing but electric power. We have certainly discovered why nobody has tackled it previously.

"We completed large sections of the circuit today on EV power and learned a great deal," Cox continued. "Today was about testing the systems and ensuring the transition from electric to internal combustion power was seamless. Testing at other venues is extremely valuable but there is no substitute to running here at Le Mans. We ran with the test car today and we'll continue to test with the actual race car all week back in the UK before heading back for the race.

"I'm very proud of everyone associated with the program because of the amount of work that has gone in. Today was very rewarding. Our guys already feel like they have raced the 24 hours already. They did two all-nighters last week. The level of commitment to showcase what this program is capable of is truly remarkable."

The Nissan ZEOD RC team will continue testing in the UK this week with the actual race car, which will replace the test machine that was used today. Super GT regulars Satoshi Motoyama and Lucas Ordóñez will return from Japan to join Reip at the wheel for the race.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 9 Comments
      Rotation
      • 6 Months Ago
      The goal was to complete the first all-electrc lap of Le Mans at race speed. They apparently redefined the goal after they fell short. It's trivial to do a 8.5 mile lap at road speeds. A LEAF could do it and likely did. Someone probably did it on an electric scooter. Nissan, pony up the lap time.
      porosavuporo
      • 6 Months Ago
      Thats what Formula E crews will learn to appreciate - NO broken fuel pumps or exhaust bits falling off. After all, who does not love the smell of blown FETs in the morning ..
        Rotation
        • 6 Months Ago
        @porosavuporo
        This car isn't all-electric, it's a hybrid. It will experience both broken fuel pumps and blown up batteries. The chips you're talking about are probably not FETs. The drive switching transistors for an EV are IBJTs.
          porosavuporo
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          You dont say ? FYI, nobody is putting discrete IGBT in drive system inverter blocks these days anyway, they are usually monolithic full inverters with integrated protection circuits from Powerex, Fairchild, Infineon, IXYS etc. it was a joke.
          Rotation
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          GoodCheer: Different acronym, same thing. I guess I should update my terminology. BJT is bipolar junction transistor, which is the current-switched type of transistor, unlike the charge-switched FETs.
          futurecars
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          He said Foluma E, which is pureelectric.
          GoodCheer
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          IGBTs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insulated-gate_bipolar_transistor
      Rotation
      • 6 Months Ago
      Yeah, I just confirmed what I heard. Go to this link: http://www.radiolemans.com/ Go to the podcast for the 2nd qualifying session and go to 1h24m00s and listen to the question answered. The ZEOD RC has not gone a whole lap on battery and it is considered unlikely it will do so. It's unclear if it fried its batteries or simply doesn't have enough batterie capacity to make a lap. Either way, batteries are on the way from the US and it's unclear they'll make it or even allow it to succeed if they do.
        futurecars
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        After completing the first all-electric lap of Le Mans, Reip described the experience as a “strange sensation”. “It is a huge thrill for me to become the first ever driver to complete an all-electric lap of Le Mans,” he said, “Especially since this is my debut at the race… I’m really thrilled. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/06/14/le-mans-nissan-zeod-recor_n_5494651.html