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Formula E Lays Out Electric Race Calendar

Eight battery-car races planned from Buenos Aires to Beijing.

by on Mar.08, 2013

Formula E hopes to field 10 teams in 10 races for 2014.

Anyone who thinks battery power means a slow, cramped and boring ride needs to think again. This year’s Geneva Motor Show is loaded with examples showing what electric propulsion can do, from the peppy Audi A3 e-Tron plug-in to the fearsome, all-electric Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive.

And if you’re still not convinced, the Fédération Internationale de l´Automobile, the same sanctioning body that governs Formula One, is weighing in.  It’s set to sanction first eight battery-car races that will be part of the new Formula E series set to debut in 2014.

While the calendar is still preliminary, it calls for races in London, Rome, Los Angeles, Miami, Beijing, Putrajaya, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. The goal is to add two more events for next year.

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“Zero emission world class motor racing is a scintillating concept and I am hugely keen that London be involved in the birth of Formula E,” says Boris Johnson, the battery-electric proponent who also serves as mayor of London. “It has the potential to highlight the impressive strides being made in the manufacture of electric vehicles and hosting a street race could also be of considerable economic benefit to our city.”

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Toyota Among Makers Charging Pike’s Peak Climb with Battery Power

Will battery cars stand up to the challenge?

by on Jun.08, 2012

Japanese champion Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima will be back at Pike's Peak but this time driving this Batmobile-like custom battery car.

It’s one of the world’s most challenging motorsports event, a climb to the 14,000-foot summit of Pike’s Peak.  And this year, a number of automaker’s will make the run in a way reflecting the otherwise pristine environment in the Colorado Rockies.

Toyota will be one of a number of manufacturers taking on the annual Pike’s Peak Hill Climb, on July 8th, using electric propulsion.  Also on tap will be at least two versions of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, one stock and one heavily modified.

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But perhaps one of the most threatening products to challenge the Peak next month will be custom-made electric vehicle under development by Japan’s Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima that looks like it had drifted off the set of the next Batman movie.

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First Look: Nissan Leaf NISMO RC

Nissan ponders the possibilities of battery car racing.

by on Apr.18, 2011

Nissan reveals a race-ready version of its Leaf battery car at the NY Auto Show.

Who says green cars have to be slow and boring?

True, you won’t set any land speed records with the likes of the Nissan Leaf, but the Japanese maker is nonetheless studying the motorsports possibilities of a specially tuned NISMO RC – as in Racing Competition – version of the little battery car.

Set to make its formal debut at this week’s New York Auto Show, the Nissan Leaf NISMO RC bears a clear resemblance to the more conventional battery-electric vehicle that started rolling into U.S. dealer showrooms last December.  But there are also some significant differences, including a carbon fiber monocoque that’s 20% lighter than the stock Leaf’s platform.

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To further curb weight – which comes in at just 2,068 pounds for the Leaf NISMO RC – Nissan engineers have switched to a 2-door design while trimming the car’s wheelbase by 3.9 inches, though it’s 0.8 inches longer overall and 6.7 inches wider.  The most distinct difference is height, the race version lowered nearly 14 inches compared to a standard Nissan Leaf.  Ground clearance has been cut to 2.4 inches from the stock 6.3.

They’ve tossed out such unneeded items as the radio and navigation system, and the side windows don’t roll down.  They’ve also relocated the battery closer to the middle of the Leaf NISMO RC to improve its center of gravity.

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