Because The Leaf Lives In the Real World And The Leaf Nismo RC Does Not

In 2011, Nissan unveiled what was called the Nissan Leaf Nismo RC - an electric racer made of carbon fiber, with a propulsion system partially borrowed from the production Nissan Leaf and with exterior touches reminiscent of the Nissan electric car. Fast forward to this day, and we’re looking at a new Nissan Leaf Nismo RC. It looks better, it is much quicker, and only eight examples will be produced.

While some of the tech inside is clearly amazing, one has to wonder, why can’t the 2019 Nissan Leaf Look like this Leaf Nismo RC?

2019 Nissan Leaf Nismo RC

Why Can't the 2019 Nissan Leaf Look Like This Leaf Nismo RC? Exterior
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First of all, the Nissan Leaf Nismo RC looks really cool, and while it does have a clear racing pedigree, it actually isn’t made to just race. It’s a marketing ploy designed to ignite car enthusiasts’ thirst for electric racing cars. In return, it will also lead to a small increase in standard Nissan Leaf sales. To make it really cool and plain awesome, Nissan had to basically forget everything about the standard Leaf’s design.

The Leaf Nismo RC thus received a monocoque chassis, all carbon fiber body, and it lost almost 12 inches in height while gaining a bit in the hips and in length.

All in name of sacred aero efficiency and downforce. Obviously, it was translated from a family hatchback into an uncompromising racer. This led to a few important sacrifices along the way.

Why Can't the 2019 Nissan Leaf Look Like This Leaf Nismo RC? Exterior
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It lost all the comfort it is known for in the cabin, the battery, although much the same as in the standard Leaf, has a new position due to driving dynamics requirements and weight distribution. And, most importantly, the number of motors doubled - to two.

Now with 322 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque, the Nissan Leaf Nismo RC can surge to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds.

No Leaf before it could do such a worthy feat. Plus, look at that insane rear wing. It is not there only for play. It actually provides exceptional downforce sticking the Leaf to the ground in corners.

It Would Be Too Expensive For Nissan And For You

Why Can't the 2019 Nissan Leaf Look Like This Leaf Nismo RC? Exterior
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While all of these changes do make for a great and fast racing car, the simple matter of fact is that making the production Leaf look even close to this Leaf Nismo RC is financially and realistically unsound. Nissan would considerably lower the potential market for it, it would be far more expensive to produce (even if it was made out of conventional materials), and it would probably be a sales fail. Just look at the Peugeot RC-Z that is a 308 knock-off. Actually, just look at any three-door coupe hatchback - the Scirocco, or the CR-Z. They’ve all basically failed. I do not see how a much more expensive Nissan Leaf Nismo RC could succeed. No way.

In essence, we will never get a car like this because of a couple of reasons:

  • People with limited finances are, I am sorry to say, dull and they want the most for their money - a two-door machine that looks like a racer and can’t accommodate four or five inside as the Leaf can isn’t “the most for their money.”
  • Producing a car like the Leaf Nismo RC would require a substantial retooling of the Nissan production facility, plus it would require re-engineering on a scale that would probably double the price of the car. Heck, it would be like a developing an all-new car.
Why Can't the 2019 Nissan Leaf Look Like This Leaf Nismo RC? Exterior
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While I am sure this will never actually happen, the only way we could see a more alluring sporty Leaf is if Nissan decides to make a compact hatchback coupe. It could be beautiful, for sure, but it still wouldn’t be as exceptional as the Leaf Nismo RC.

So, you better run to your reality and face the fact that the Leaf probably won’t evolve to the stature of a nice swoopy coupe you’d be eager to show to your female friends.

Further reading

2018 Nissan Leaf High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2018 Nissan Leaf.

2019 Nissan Leaf Nismo Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Nissan Leaf Nismo.

2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept
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Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept.

2011 Nissan LEAF NISMO RC Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2011 Nissan LEAF NISMO RC.

The all-new Nissan LEAF NISMO RC, an electric race car with more than double the maximum power and torque output of its predecessor, was unveiled today in Tokyo. The unveiling took place at Nissan Crossing in the city’s Ginza district. The car, which was developed by Nissan’s racing arm, NISMO, with its race technology know-how, will officially debut on Dec. 2 at the annual NISMO Festival at Fuji International Speedway, appearing alongside Nissan’s new Formula E electric race car. With dual electric motors, all-wheel drive and an aggressive, restyled body shape, the purpose-built car demonstrates how Nissan’s electric vehicle technology can deliver exciting yet quiet, zero-emission power – a key component of the company’s Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision. The model is equipped with advanced battery technology and drivetrain components from the Nissan LEAF, the world’s best-selling electric car. “The all-new LEAF NISMO RC shows how we’re setting our sights even higher when it comes to raw power and performance – making electric vehicles even more exciting for customers,” said Executive Vice President Daniele Schillaci, Nissan’s global head of marketing, sales and electric vehicles. “It’s our most thrilling expression yet of the philosophy of Nissan Intelligent Mobility.” Nissan plans to build six all-new LEAF NISMO RC vehicles to deploy around the world, so that fans can experience the power and excitement firsthand. The pinnacle of electric power, now with all-wheel-drive
Powering the all-new Nissan LEAF NISMO RC are two electric motors at opposite ends of the chassis. The motors produce 240 kilowatts combined (120 kW each) and an astounding 640 Nm of instant torque to the wheels. They more than double the maximum power and the torque output of the previous LEAF NISMO RC, which was introduced in 2011. Drivetrain technology sourced from the new Nissan LEAF include the high-capacity lithium-ion battery and inverters. A new all-wheel-drive system gives the LEAF NISMO RC its outstanding cornering prowess. Power is managed independently to each axle, instantly supplying torque to the tire with the most grip to let the car maneouvre quickly and efficiently around the track. Similar to the previous model, chassis weight balance has been optimized by the midship location of the battery pack, with the electric motors and inverters ideally placed over the front and rear tires. The LEAF NISMO RC features a multitude of lightweight components and a full carbon-fiber racing monocoque structure, allowing it to tip the scales at just 1,220 kilograms. The power-to-weight ratio results in an impressive performance of zero to 100 kph (0-62mph) in just 3.4 seconds – 50% quicker than the previous model. Race-ready styling
While the exterior of the all-new Nissan LEAF NISMO RC is spiritually based on the original LEAF NISMO RC, it sports a more aggressive exterior. A long hood and Nissan’s signature V-motion grille highlight the totally restyled front end. The distinctive silver-and-black paint scheme with NISMO red accents – similar to the Nissan Formula E car – make the LEAF NISMO RC seem like it’s in constant motion, even when sitting still at the starting line. The car’s three-piece bodywork includes removable front and rear sections, fixed windows, LED headlights and tail lights, and an adjustable rear wing for ideal downforce on the tarmac. The model is slightly longer than its predecessor, with an overall length of 4,546 millimetres and a wheelbase that measures 2,750 millimetres. The Nissan LEAF NISMO RC sits wide and low to the ground, with its wind-cutting form measuring only 1,212 millimetres from roof to road – more than 300 millimetres less than the production Nissan LEAF. LEAF NISMO RC displays
The all-new Nissan LEAF NISMO RC will be on display at Formula E races and major shows and events around the world. At the NISMO Festival, fans will be treated to a performance of the all-new LEAF NISMO RC with professional drivers, running at full tilt around the Fuji Speedway circuit.

Press release
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