Nissan Leaf RC proves electric cars can race

Posted by erlan | Posted in news | Posted on 29-04-2011

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Nissan is on a mission to prove that electric cars can tear up a race track. Their weapon of choice: a racing version of the Leaf EV. The Nissan Leaf recently landed on American shores, and while it is been popular with people who are environmentally conscious, have extra money to spend, and have a place they can charge their EV, adoption elsewhere has been a little slower than Nissan would like.

To showcase the Leaf and prove its mettle, the company has built a track-ready version of the car called the Leaf Nismo RC, a vehicle that performs well, but is not going to take the speed prize from a conventional racer in any way. The Leaf Nismo RC can do 0 to 60mph in 6.85 seconds, and can stay out on the track reaching speeds up to  93mph for about 20 minutes before running out of juice. Ouch.

However, the vehicle’s weight has come down, as has its height. The chassis is made of carbon fiber, and the body design has been streamlined for racing, and it has been switched from its conventional front wheel drive to rear wheel drive like any good racer.

Nissan says that part of their goal is to combat the general perspective of electric vehicles as utilitarian and boring. Carlos Tavares, chairman of Nissan Americas, believes there is a perception electric cars are dull. He hopes the Nismo RC proves them wrong, or at least changes their minds.

It’s hard to look at the Leaf Nismo RC and not think about Tesla Motors, who have been making high-performance electric vehicles for years now – vehicles with longer range and higher top speeds than the Lead Nismo RC. Still, Nissan is doing its part to make people remember that EVs can go fast, even if their model isn’t the fastest on the block. The Leaf Nismo RC will be on display at the New York International Auto Show on April 20.

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