Nissan ZEOD RC Breaks Electric Speed Record at Le Mans
Le Mans has a long history of record making and breaking. Since the 24 hour race first began in 1923, it has been a true mecca of speed and innovation. Now Nissan has attacked this legendary course and set a new Le Mans record speed for electric-powered vehicles by achieving a velocity of 300 kph (186 mph) during qualifying with its ZEOD RC. The record was reached in the first run of the second night’s qualifying by driver Satoshi Motoyama as he blasted down the Mulsanne Straight.
The ZEOD RC uses a unique dual-powertrain configuration with both an electric motor and an internal-combustion engine. Nissan has big plans for this new machine and is looking to break many more records over the course of the weekend’s race.
Nissan wasn’t the only company looking to make waves at Le Mans this year either. Toyota challenged the Audi team that dominated for the last several years, and Porsche has returned to challenge for an overall title as well with F1 ace Mark Webber at the wheel. This year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans was quite an exciting time for motorsports.
Click past the jump to read more about the Nissan ZEOD RC.
Why It Matters
Despite the rise of hybrid and alternative fuels in racing, full-electric powertrains have yet to enter the scene due to many obstacles. Apart from battery weight and longevity, getting an electric motor to operate at such incredible speeds within a car has proved difficult. Having Nissan achieve racing pace on pure electric power is just one more step into creating a viable, electric-powered race car.
Based on the Deltawing racer, the ZEOD RC is Nissan’s newest experimental race car. It features a dual-drivetrain setup that allows it to run by using a traditional internal-combustion engine or on pure-electric power. The car was created to test electrified racing technology on the world stage in some of the most demanding races in the world. Last weekend, Nissan successfully fielded the car in the 24 Hours of Le Mans under the "Garage 56" experimental car class. Sadly, the car was only able to complete 5 laps before retiring.