Nissan ZEOD RC claims 300 km/h electric speed record at Le Mans
By Scott Collie
June 14, 2014
Nissan's ZEOD RC hybrid electric racer has claimed a new record for electric vehicles at Le Mans, hitting 300 km/h (186 mph) down Mulsanne Straight at Circuit de la Sarthe.
With Satoshi Motoyama at the wheel in his first session during race week, the car reached the 300 km/h during qualifying while running on electric power only.
"I drove ZEOD at Le Mans for the first time and instantly we were able to reach our target to run at more than 300km/h with electric power only," said Motoyama. "I was so surprised with the speed and power of electricity and it felt great.
As well as breaking the electric record for top speed, Nissan is aiming to be the first team to complete a full 8.5 mile lap of Circuit de la Sarthe under pure electric power.
ZEOD, which stands for Zero Emissions on Demand, uses two 110 kW electric motors coupled with a 400 hp, 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbocharged engine weighing just 40 kilograms. The driver can swap between the petrol and electric motors from the car's cabin.
Because of its unique design and powertrain, the ZEOD is racing out of Le Mans' famous Garage 56, which is reserved for cars that showcase innovative technology.
The firsts for Nissan are not just limited to performance, however, as the ZEOD is the first car at Le Mans to complete a lap without any mirrors. Instead, the car uses a rear facing camera that projects to a screen in the cockpit. The camera is combined with a radar system which uses arrows that change color and size to show approaching nearby cars, and indicate how fast they are going.
With four different classes of car sharing the same track, being aware of traffic could be the difference between your car seeing out the 24 hours or ending up on a trolley in the garage.
Check out the ZEOD's record breaking run in the video below and stay tuned for more as the battle of the hybrids at Le Mans unfolds.