See more photos of the Nissan ZEOD RC at AutoGuide.comShowing undeterred commitment to the future of electric cars, Nissan has revealed a wild new prototype race car that will compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans next year.
On the eve of this year’s iconic endurance race, Nissan aims to spend the next 12 months testing and finalizing plans for its ZEOD RC (Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car), which uses battery technology similar to that in the Nissan Leaf, while capable of hitting speeds in excess of 300 km/h.
The car itself will compete in 2014 under the ACO’s (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) ‘Garage 56′ category, for vehicles using prototype technology. This testing will then be used to evaluate technologies that could be used in a planned return to competition at the LM P1 level, in the hunt for overall victory.
“Nissan has become a global leader in the development of zero emission automotive technology and the Nissan ZEOD RC will allow us to further develop those capabilities 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 Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President of Nissan Motor Company Limited.
Palmer also confirmed the technology tested and developed for the ZEOD RC will make its way into future Nissan road cars. In particular is a, “Zero Emission on Demand option where the driver can switch between electric and petrol-powered drive,” which will be tested in edition to a pure electric drive as well as, “other new technologies that we still have under development.”
Nissan acknowledges that electric technology has not advanced to the point of running a fully electric car in a 24 hour endurance race, though Nissan ZEOD RC designer Ben Bowlby does see this car as an important next step towards the “electrification” of racecars.
“Our design team on the Nissan ZEOD RC program has concentrated heavily on packaging and aerodynamic efficiency that will not only provide extreme performance but high levels of energy efficiency,” said Bowlby, praising the ACO for its cooperation, calling the organization the, “most forward thinking promoter in Motorsport today.”
Nissan will provide updates on its ZEOD RC program throughout the year via its YouTube and NISMO.TV channel.