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Nissan to Tackle Le Mans With Fastest EV Racer

Nissan ZEOD RC image

Ahead of this weekend’s 90th running of the 24-hours of Le Mans, Nissan unveiled an all-new racer that’s slated to compete in the legendary endurance race next year. The racer is all-electric and it’s capable of hitting 185 miles per hour, all while producing zero emissions.

Nissan’s ZEOD RC race car looks akin to last year’s DeltaWing, which suffered a devastating crash in its debut that prevented it from finishing the race. Designed by the same visionary behind the DeltaWing, the ZEOD RC is said to be the world’s fastest electric racing car.

Nissan ZEOD RC image

“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 and Executive Committee member at Nissan.

Over the next 12 months, Nissan will be testing multiple drive train options in an extensive test program that will prepare the vehicle for Le Mans in 2014. The designer of the vehicle, and Nissan’s new Director of Motorsport Innovation, Ben Bowlby, believes that the ZEOD RC will pave the way for the  “electrification” of racecars in the future.

“We have many options to consider and test. 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, said Bowlby. “Nissan is a leader in electric vehicle technology for the road, now we want to take those lessons learnt and utilize that knowledge base in the development of the new race car.”

Nissan ZEOD RC imageThe car will compete under the Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s (ACO) “Garage 56″ entry – an additional spot on the grid for vehicles that showcase new and innovative technology.

Bowlby added, “A large part of our work in the coming months is to discuss with the ACO future opportunities for the electrification of the Le Mans rules in the future and work towards delivering appropriate technology.”

Nissan flaunted the design at Circuit de la Sarthe in France today, but the car won’t begin trials until later this summer. Despite its innovative design and technology, it won’t be competing alone–it will have to take on Toyota’s P001, the current EV lap-speed champ.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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