Nissan ZEOD RC: World's first 300kph electric racing car
Nissan has pulled the covers off the Nisson ZEOD RC, the world's first electric racing car, making its entry into the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2014.
ZEOD stands for zero emission on demand and will be based on the same lithium battery technology found in the company's Leaf production car.
Nissan says that the ZEOD RC will reach speeds in excess of 300kph and that it will be experimenting with variants of electric drive train technologies with an eye on returning to the LM P1 competition.
While the Leaf is designed as a 100 per cent electric vehicle, one of the elements that Nissan will be looking at in the ZEOD is how to combine this technology with other power sources appropriate for endurance racing.
We got the chance to set eyes on the ZEOD prototype this week, before its unveiling at Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, with Nissan telling us that part of the aim of the ZEOD RC car was to break down barriers between fans and racing, marking the development of the car with its YouTube and Nismo.TV channels.
In the flesh the first thing you'll notice about the ZEOD is not that it looks like the Batmobile but that the front wheels are incredibly close together. Our first question, of course, was whether it would go around corners and Nissan assured us that it would.
"The ZEOD RC programme is designed to develop multiple technologies to evaluate how they could be used for a future LM P1 class return of Nissan at the Le Mans 24 Hour," said Andy Palmer, EVP of Nissan.
"There are multiple options we are investigating. A zero emission on demand option where the driver can switch between electric and petrol-powered drive is a future direction for road cars, so that will be tested in addition to pure electric power and other new technologies that we still have under development."
The ZEOD RC project has run as a programme within Nissan and Nismo (the motorsports division of Nissan) with input from Japan, Europe and US areas of the company. The design team is lead by Ben Bowlby, who previously worked on Nissan DeltaWing.
Nissan says testing will begin later in summer 2013.