Developed by Nissan’s racing arm, with its race technology know-how, the racing Leaf NISMO RC is being launched officially at the annual NISMO Festival at Fuji International Speedway, where it will appear alongside Nissan’s new Formula E electric race car. As a perfect ‘promotional’ vehicle, it will accompany the Nissan team on the electric racing series throughout 2019, performing demo-runs for attending fans.
With dual electric motors, all-wheel-drive and an aggressive body shape, the purpose-built car demonstrates how Nissan’s electric vehicle technology can deliver exciting, yet quiet, zero-emission power, which is a key component of the company’s Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision. The RC is equipped with advanced battery technology and drivetrain components from the Nissan LEAF, currently (if you can pardon the pun) the world’s best-selling electric car.
Daniele Schillaci, Nissan's global head of marketing, sales and electric vehicles, said: “The all-new LEAF NISMO RC shows how we’re setting our sights ever higher, when it comes to raw power and performance, to make electric vehicles even more exciting for customers. It’s our most thrilling expression yet, of the philosophy of Nissan Intelligent Mobility.”
Nissan is building six separate Leaf RCs to deploy around the world, so that fans can experience the power and excitement first-hand. Powering them are two electric motors at opposite ends of the chassis. The motors produce 240kW combined, with an astounding 472lbs ft of instant torque to the wheels, which is more than double the power and the torque of the previous Leaf NISMO, which was introduced in 2011. Drivetrain technology includes the latest high-capacity lithium-ion battery and inverters used by the road version.
A new all-wheel-drive system gifts the Leaf RC outstanding cornering prowess. Power is managed independently to each axle, supplying torque instantly to the tyre with the most grip to let the car manoeuvre quickly and efficiently around the track. Weight balance has been optimised by the midship location of the battery pack, with the electric motors and inverters placed ideally over the front and rear axles. The car also features a multitude of lightweight components and a full carbon-fibre racing monocoque structure, allowing it to tip the scales at just 1,220kg. The power-to-weight results in an impressive performance of 0-60mph in just 3.1 seconds.
Its styling features a long bonnet and Nissan’s signature Vee-shaped grille. The distinctive silver-and-black paint scheme, with NISMO red accents, make the Leaf RC appear as if it is in constant motion, even when parked at the start line. Just like many racing cars, the three-piece bodywork features removable front and rear sections, fixed windows, LED headlights and tail lights, and an adjustable rear wing for maximum downforce. Its overall length is 4.546m, on a wheelbase measuring 2.750m. Wide and hunkered to the ground, with its wind-cutting form measuring only 1.212m from rooftop to road, it cuts a dash in a way that most EVs cannot.