Nissan Debuts Racecar Version of Nissan LEAF

By · April 17, 2011

Nissan LEAF NISMO Racecar

Nissan will unveil a racing version of its all-electric Nissan LEAF at the 2011 New York Auto Show on April 20.

In preliminary testing the LEAF NISMO RC produces 0 to 62 mph acceleration in 6.85 seconds and a top speed of 93 miles per hour. It is projected to have a running time of around 20 minutes under racing conditions.

Nissan is looking at the racing world as a way to draw attention to its electric vehicles.

“Combining the talents of NISMO, Nissan’s world renowned motorsports group, and engineers behind some of the company’s Super GT and FIA GT1 race teams, the Nissan LEAF NISMO RC will serve as a rolling laboratory for the accelerated development of EV and aerodynamic systems, as well as a platform for the development of new green motorsports series,” said Carlos Tavares, chairman, Nissan Americas, speaking at the New York International Auto Show.

Like the production Nissan LEAF, the NISMO RC is powered by a lithium-ion battery composed of 48 compact modules and a 80kW AC synchronous motor that generates 107 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. It can be charged up to 80 percent of its full capacity in 30 minutes using the quick charging port located inside the rear cowl.

The Nissan LEAF NISMO RC is constructed with full carbon fiber monocoque bodywork. The three-piece bodywork includes removable front and rear sections, fixed windows, LED headlights and taillights and driver-adjustable rear wing.

The racer version of the LEAF has a 3.9-inch shorter wheelbase, is 0.8 inches longer and 6.7 inches wider. The most dramatic difference is height, with the NISMO RC sitting more than a foot lower than the production Nissan LEAF. Ground clearance is 2.4 inches, compared to 6.3 inches for the road going car. And, at 2,068 pounds, the racecar weighs in at about 40 percent less than the production vehicle.

The NISMO RC’s drivetrain powers its rear wheels versus the production Nissan LEAF’s front-wheel drive. The NISMO RC also utilizes a double-wishbone suspension design front and rear and driver-adjustable brake balance. It rides on 18-inch 6-spoke wheels and P225/40R18 Bridgestone racing tires.

The new electric race vehicle is scheduled to make a series of special demonstration appearances at various motorsports venues in 2011.


· · 7 years ago

The goofy headlights look pretty slick on this platform!

· · 7 years ago

I'll make sure I get some pictures of this on Wednesday & Thursday. I'll try to take pictures of all the EV's there. If anyone want's specific pictures, just let me know and I'll try to get them for you.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 7 years ago

A top speed of 93 mph? I think my Prius has a higher top speed. And I hope the driver is wearing a g-suit and that there are roll bars in that car. lol!

I guess it all has to start somewhere.

· Peder Norby (not verified) · 7 years ago

Does Nascar or LeMans run with the same motor transmission of standard cars? No.
The Nissan looks great but "whimp wimpy" on the performance. Stick a 300hp motor in there with more batts and make it a race car Nissan!

This good looking but slow car won't spark any interest in electric car racing. Not when stock Tesla's and Mini-Es can already out run it in street attire.


· JJ - from Canada (not verified) · 7 years ago

Tom I'd like some of the Toyota RAV4 EV, and also of some others EV's too.

Have fun at the car show!

· JJ - from Canada (not verified) · 7 years ago

@ Peder... it's still a good Chick Magnet for driving in town. :-)

· Pawan (not verified) · 7 years ago

Cool, Just paint it black and stick a batman symbol at the grill and i want one...:)

· · 7 years ago

I suspect the stock gear reduction final drive ratio of 8:1 has been tweaked to perhaps 10:1 or 11:1 as well. With the reduced weight, aerodynamics, race suspension, and likely much lower final gear, this will be a formidable race car even with a stock motor. It would be well suited for tracks like Infineon.

· · 7 years ago

I'm not a big race car fan, but this is certainly intriguing. I emailed the article link across the hallway to my 15 year old son last night and he was impressed. Just the other day, he declared - for the first time - that his dream muscle car be electric powered.

So, with a 20 minute full-on throttle capacity, would that define the time limit of a typical electric car race? One imagines Shai Agassi style pit stops, where a crew frantically swaps the LiFePO4 cells with wild abandon . . . or (yawn) half hour pit stops, with chargers hooked up and everyone looking for something to do. Anyone know how they're going to work around the limited range and conduct a circle track event that would typically occupy several non-stop hours when gas powered?

· · 7 years ago

I sure don't see why battery swaps wouldn't be practical for this situation. If they're OK with wild abandon when dealing in liquid fuel (agggh!) then I see far less danger with the battery pack swaps. In fact this is one of the few places where battery swapping makes perfect sense! Each team will have PV cells on their trailers, and the packs will sit there charging while the one in the car is being consumed. I can't wait for the day!

· · 7 years ago

JJ: Yes the RAV4 was definitely on my hit list.

As for the race LEAF: pretty cool, but I kinda like this race EV:

But hey, ya'll know I'm partial :)

· · 7 years ago

Is this eligible for the $7500 tax credit? :-)

· JJ - from Canada (not verified) · 7 years ago

Maybe the race track in a futuristic way could build in some wire grid in the asphalt or cement track that can be electrified and the racing EV's could pick up the electricity by induction to charge the batteries.

On the chick magnet pick up theme... if the battery lasts only 20 minutes, this EV will stop in the middle of no where and we can do some serious necking while waiting for the tow truck. Yehhh !

· · 7 years ago

@ JJ -

That was my 4th grade thesis! I figured by the year 2000 that all cars would be "slot cars." We'd be driving along the freeway on little tracks picking up our power. PERFECT way to make race tracks! No more fuels stops. Great idea!

· JJ - from Canada (not verified) · 7 years ago

We had a lot more imagination and creativity when we were kids.

I had alot of fun with my 2 hand me down slot racing car track sets.
The cars would go flying off the track turns and I'd be fixing those little cars.

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.