Nissan unveiling LEAF NISMO RC (Racing Competition) electric demonstrator

Nissan LEAF NISMO RC Click to enlarge.

Nissan will unveil the Nissan LEAF NISMO RC (Racing Competition) battery-electric racer at the 2011 New York International Auto Show on 20 April. Nissan says it is looking at the racing world as a way to draw attention to the potential of electric vehicles.

The new electric race vehicle will likely make a series of special demonstration appearances at various motorsports venues in 2011, with the company exploring pioneer zero emission competition spec series in future years.

Combining the talents of NISMO, Nissan’s world renowned motorsports group, and engineers behind some of the company’s Super GT and FIA GT1 race teams, the Nissan LEAF NISMO RC will serve as a rolling laboratory for the accelerated development of EV and aerodynamic systems, as well as a platform for the development of new green motorsports series.

—Carlos Tavares, chairman, Nissan Americas

The Nissan LEAF NISMO RC is designed and constructed as a real racing machine, starting with its full carbon fiber monocoque bodywork. The three-piece bodywork includes removable front and rear sections, fixed windows, LED headlights and taillights and driver-adjustable rear wing. Building on the unique exterior styling of the production Nissan LEAF, the 2-door race version was created by Nissan Global Design Center in Japan. Special 4-coat Pearl White paint with blue NISMO/Zero Emission graphics completes the exterior.

Dimensionally, the race car features a 3.9-inch shorter wheelbase, is 0.8 inches longer and 6.7 inches wider. The most significant difference is height, with the NISMO RC sitting more than a foot (13.8 inches) lower than the production Nissan LEAF. Ground clearance is limited to 2.4 inches, compared to 6.3 inches for the road going car. And, at 2,068 pounds (938 kg), the race car weighs in at about 40% less than the production vehicle.

The layout of the NISMO RC is also markedly different from the production sedan, offering a mid-ship location for the battery pack, electric motor and inverter— with drive to the rear wheels versus the production Nissan LEAF’s front-wheel drive. The NISMO RC also utilizes a double-wishbone suspension design front and rear and driver-adjustable brake balance. It rides on 18-inch 6-spoke wheels and P225/40R18 Bridgestone racing tires.

Like the production Nissan LEAF, the NISMO RC is powered by a lithium-ion battery composed of 48 compact modules and a high-response 80 kW AC synchronous motor that generates 107 hp and 207 lb-ft (281 N&iddot;m) of torque. It can be charged up to 80% of its full capacity in 30 minutes using the quick charging port located inside the rear cowl.

In preliminary testing the NISMO RC produces 0 to 62 mph acceleration in 6.85 seconds and a top speed of 93 mph (150 km/h). It is projected to have a running time of around 20 minutes under racing conditions.

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