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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.


First Look: Porsche’s Innovative 911 GT3 R Hybrid

Set to debut in Geneva, replaces batteries with flywheel.

by on Feb.11, 2010

Porsche will begin race-testing its 911 GT3 R Hybrid on the Nurburgring, in May.

Picking up on a concept its company founder first conceived of more than a century ago, Porsche will lift the covers on a hybrid race car at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

Dubbed the 911 GT3 R Hybrid, the goal of the project is to not just improve performance, but also the efficiency of modern race cars.

Road ... and Track ... Tested!

The 911 GT3 R skips the conventional hybrid route, which relies on heavy batteries to temporarily store energy normally lost during braking and coasting, then tap that power when the driver needs an extra boost.  Porsche’s approach is to store energy in a high-tech flywheel.