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LEAF NISMO RC: Nissan LEAF EV gets a racing makeover

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April 18, 2011

Nissan is looking to bring zero-emission motoring to the racetrack with its LEAF NISMO RC ...

Nissan is looking to bring zero-emission motoring to the racetrack with its LEAF NISMO RC (Racing Competition)

Nissan has called upon its motorsport division NISMO to help give its all-electric LEAF some racing cred. The result is the new LEAF NISMO RC, and despite the fact it's unlikely to be trading paint on the racetrack in the near future, Nissan says it's been designed and constructed as a real racing machine. By cutting the weight and giving it a new aerodynamic body the NISMO RC makes 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.85 seconds on its way to a top speed of 150 km/h (93 mph).

Although it shares moniker and sports the same the same lithium-ion battery powertrain as the LEAF, that's pretty much where the similarities between the two vehicles end, with the NISMO RC doing away with the rear doors, rear seat, trunk, audio system, navigation, carpeting and other creature comforts found in its mass-produced cousin.

The LEAF NISMO RC – the RC stands for Racing Competition – boasts full carbon fiber monocoque three-piece bodywork that includes removable front and rear sections, LED headlights and taillights and driver-adjustable rear wing. Compared to the production LEAF, the NISMO features a 3.9-inch (9.9 cm) shorter wheelbase, is 0.8 inches (2 cm) longer, 6.7 inches (17 cm) wider, and comes in at around 40 percent lighter at 2,068 lb (938 kg). It also sits 13.8 inches (35 cm) lower, which limits ground clearance to 2.4 inches (6 cm) compared to the production LEAF's 6.3 inches (16 cm).

The NISMO RC also sees the battery pack, electric motor and inverter shifted to a mid-ship location, and is rear-wheel drive in contrast to the production LEAF's front-wheel drive. There's a double-wishbone suspension for both the front and rear, along with driver-adjustable brake balance and 18-inch 6-spoke wheels.

The NISMO RC retains the production LEAF's 48 module lithium-ion battery battery and an 80kW AC synchronous motor, which generates 107 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque.

Endurance races probably won't be the NISMO's forté, with Nissan projecting the vehicle will have a running time of around 20 minutes under racing conditions. The battery can be charged to 80 percent of capacity in 30 minutes using the quick charging port located inside the rear cowl.

Nissan says the LEAF NISMO RC is designed to serve as a rolling laboratory to aid in the development of EV and aerodynamic systems. The company also hopes the vehicle will act as a platform for the development of a future green motorsports series to draw attention to the potential of electric vehicles.

Nissan will debut the LEAF NISMO RC at the 2011 New York International Auto Show on April 20.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
10 Comments

That one without the spoilers I would Buy

Facebook User
18th April, 2011 @ 08:01 am PDT

this has to be a windup?Top speed of 93mph and a racing range of 20 minutes ???Rolling laboratory or not, this has fail written all over it. No thanks

robinyatesuk2003
18th April, 2011 @ 08:21 am PDT

0-62 mph in 6.85 sec and a top speed of 93 mph? Wow, that just keeps up with a Aptera!

Jerry Peavy
18th April, 2011 @ 09:31 am PDT

Nissan doesn't need to market a car whose entire production is sold out for more than a year, but I applaud their commitment to innovation. It sounds like the purpose of this car is to build a vehicle light enough that aerodynamics make a real difference possibly with a reasonably replaceable frame so that several models can be tested. That said, if I were putting money into aerodynamics, I would be looking at mass transit and liquid cargo vehicles and containers, where economies of scale could mean much better payoff for buyers even with minor improvements, and where the basic design hasn't changed much in 30 years.

Charles Bosse
18th April, 2011 @ 10:19 am PDT

" comes in at around 40 percent lighter at 2,068 lb (938 kg)"

This is a great accomplishment. Using the same battery pack as the LEAF means that the range should be increased by about 40%. It is just what we need. The spoiler in the back is more for looks than anything else because it will increase the drag and raise the Cd. I think that they have designed a winner. You wouldn't have to twist my arm to drive one. Never mind about the racing. I would want one for everyday driving.

Adrian Akau
18th April, 2011 @ 02:04 pm PDT

Nissan you've come up with a winner. The Nissan Nismo RC looks great. Who cares if the car only does 93 mph. The world wants an electric car that doesn't look like a refrigerator on wheels. The regular Nissan Leaf and the Toyota Pruis are boring. Give me a sports car or a little sports sedan that looks like a race car that get phenominal milage. I'd make the the Nismo a hybrid so I could have unlimited range. Who needs or for that matter wants a 600 hp sportscar that get 10 mpg @ $4.50 per gallon, when you could have a sexy hybrid sports car and enough money left over (saved from fuel cost) to take her out to dinner in Paris. Detroit needs to wake up. We want sexy cars that don't break the bank to own and drive.

Del Baumgartner, CEO

BRAVA MOTORSPORTS

del baumgartner
18th April, 2011 @ 06:35 pm PDT

I'm confused, doesn't the "regular" production version go 99 mph? How can you do all these modifications and LOOSE 6 M.P.H.? I'm pretty sure that wing doesn't suck up that much energy and with everything else it should just simply go faster! Come on this all wrong!

mrhuckfin
19th April, 2011 @ 01:35 pm PDT

I am wondering if the 18" tires are holding it back past 90mph. The normal LEAF tires are lighter.

Adrian Akau
23rd April, 2011 @ 02:37 pm PDT

I'd like see Nissan Build the next electric car for the Z. Like the 380Z (electric).

It would have more torque, horsepower and MPGe.. Build that!

Gargamoth
19th July, 2012 @ 06:11 pm PDT

with all the talk about the torque of electric motors etc.....why is this "sports" version so damn slow?

Poor show Nissan.

If you want to sell electric cars as a solution, you need to make them BETTER than the current product, not worse.

Chris Winter
25th June, 2013 @ 07:33 pm PDT
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