NISSAN’S revolutionary ZEOD RC electric race car has been unveiled at the headquarters of Nissan’s performance arm, Nismo, in Yokohama.
The Zero Emissions on Demand racer has gone from zero to ZEOD in a mere 33 weeks and will race next year at Le Mans after being invited by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest to occupy the ‘Garage 56’ entry for vehicles showcasing new and innovative technology.
Nissan is using the ZEOD RC as a testbed to develop new electric vehicle technologies for Nissan’s planned future LM P1 programme.
The initial prototype showcar of the revolutionary electric racer was revealed at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, but today’s unveil at the Nismo headquarters showcased the dramatic evolution of the design featuring revamped styling, new cooling inlets and aerodynamic updates.
The car was unveiled today by Nismo President, Shoichi Miyatani; Nissan Global Motorsport Director, Darren Cox; and Nissan Director of Motorsport Innovation, Ben Bowlby.
Shoichi Miyatani said: ‘The ZEOD RC utilises our technology gained through the development of the Nissan LEAF Nismo RC, the first EV racer based on the mass-production zero-emission vehicle.
‘The LEAF RC’s energy management and efficient energy recovery system that is suitable for racing are just examples. We believe these technologies serve as important steps for using EV for motor sports.’
The Nissan ZEOD RC will become the first car to complete an entire race lap of the 8.5-mile Le Mans circuit on nothing but electric power. The car will reach speeds in excess of 185mph and lap the famous French circuit faster than an LM GTE car.
The driver will be able to switch between electric power and a small lightweight turbocharged internal combustion engine. The car – which shares the same battery technology as the Nissan LEAF – will recharge the battery via regenerative braking.
Darren Cox said: ‘This weekend is an important milestone in the journey to Le Mans for the Nissan ZEOD RC.
‘Our goal for the programme is to draw back the curtain for the fans to see the innovative technology that Nissan is developing. We could not think of a better place than the Fuji round of the World Endurance Championship for the actual ZEOD RC to appear in public for the first time.
‘We’re going to let Michael Krumm take a look at the car for the first time and he will join Lucas Ordóñez in a test driver role in helping develop the car. His experience in winning Super GT and FIA GT1 World Championships for Nissan will be a very valuable asset to the programme. Michael is also a Nissan LEAF owner and a passionate believer in the future of electric vehicles for the road.’
Nissan is renowned as a global leader in electric vehicles for the road – selling more than 80,000 Nissan LEAF since the start of sales in late 2010. The Nissan ZEOD RC is the first step on taking the lead in bringing electric vehicles to the racetrack.
Ben Bowlby said: ‘The Nissan ZEOD RC will utilise technology never before seen at Le Mans and will provide a unique experience for the fans.
‘To see the car go down the Mulsanne Straight at 300km/h in virtual silence will be unique. Developing the battery technology to incorporate this into a Le Mans prototype is an enormous challenge, but the lessons learnt will not only be very beneficial for the future LM P1 program, but also we can use this information to assist in the development of future versions of the Nissan LEAF and other electric vehicles for the road.’
Fans at Fuji Speedway this weekend will also see Nissan power in action in the LM P2 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The Nismo-tuned Nissan VK45DE V8 engine has dominated the season so far, taking pole position and victory at every round. With eight Nissan-powered LM P2 cars racing at Fuji the Japanese fans have a good chance of celebrating another win for Nissan