Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Electric Nissan ZEOD RC To Race At Le Mans

Nissan ZEOD RC
by Adam Burpee
Earlier this week, the land speed record for an electric vehicle was broken by the Drayson Racing Technology Lola B12/69, which hit a top speed of 204.2 mph. Recently, Nissan unleashed the ZEOD RC (Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car), which will be the world's fastest EV racer at the Le Mans 24 Hours. It can supposedly race past 185 mph, meaning that if the Lola hadn't broken the land speed record for an electric vehicle, this car would have. The previous record was 175 mph, set in 1974.
The ZEOD RC didn't initially have a spot in the Le Mans 24 Hours race. Nissan received an invitation for the ZEOD RC for the Automobile Club de l'Ouest's "Garage 56" spot, which is an additional spot for cars that display extreme performance and advanced technology.

Because the Nissan ZEOD RC won't be racing until next year's Le Mans 24 Hours race, Nissan has plenty of time to continue working on it. The automaker is planning to continue testing new drive train variants in anticipation of LM P1. Some of the automaker's ideas include a Zero Emission on Demand option, in which the driver can alternate between a solely electric powered motor and a gasoline powered one, an entirely electric option, and some others that haven't been announced yet. The technology to power an electric vehicle for 24 hours straight hasn't been invented yet, which is why Nissan is still looking at engine variants. However, this vehicle is a step in the right direction and can absolutely inspire further technological advancements.
Usually in the car industry, technology trickles down, meaning that the best of the best technology starts in racing cars and eventually makes its way down to everyday cars. With the ZEOD RC, it was quite the opposite. The lithium ion battery technology used in the Nissan LEAF will be utilized in the ZEOD RC as well. There is no doubt that other technology used in the ZEOD RC could make its way down to everyday cars, but it's still impressive that the technology used in the LEAF can hold its own in a racing car.
Extensive testing of the ZEOD RC will take place over the course of the next 12 months. We'll see in a year how the ZEOD RC holds up in the Le Mans 24 Hours.