Nissan has unveiled a prototype racer called the ZEOD RC (Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car) that it claims will be able to reach speeds of more than 300 km/h under electric power. The ZEOD RC will begin testing later this summer, and will take part in the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans.
According to Green Car Reports, the ZEOD is expected to race alternately using gas and electric power. It isn’t clear whether it will use a hybrid drivetrain or a range-extended system in which the gas engine is used solely to charge the battery, but the car should be able to travel six laps in a charging mode, followed by one lap on electric power. To run a full 24 hours on battery power alone is not yet feasible, even with fast charging.
“The Nissan ZEOD RC will allow us to further develop [zero emission technology] using the toughest endurance race in the world as a mobile test bed to test the potential of our planned LM P1 power train,” said Nissan VP Andy Palmer. “The ZEOD RC is a natural progression that follows on from the development of the LEAF road car and the LEAF RC race car prototype. The technologies developed through the ZEOD RC program will form part of future innovations for Nissan road cars.”
“The ZEOD RC program 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. There are multiple options we are investigating,” Palmer continued. “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.”
“Developing a car like this provides an incredibly challenging test bed for what could be highly effective options for road cars of the future. Throughout the next twelve months we will be testing multiple drive train options in an extensive test program,” said ZEOD RC designer Ben Bowlby. “The test program is part of a longer term goal of developing a system and a set of rules for this type of technology in partnership with the ACO that would be best suited to competing at the highest level of this sport.”
Sources: Nissan, Green Car Reports