The Nissan ZEOD RC is the car manufacturer’s new hybrid electric race car, which has just recorded a new speed record at Le Mans. This incredible feat of engineering was driven by Satoshi Motoyama who managed to get the car up to 186 mph on the Mulsanne straight during qualifying for the 24 hour endurance race, using only the electric motor from the hybrid technology.
With the idea to design and produce a prototype race car with incredible technology behind it, this vehicle is powered by an 110kW electric motor and 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbo engine to produce a staggering 400 brake horse power. The way that the ZEOD (Zero Emissions on Demand) has been designed also enables the driver to switch easily between the two power sources provided.
Motoyama was able to achieve this speed on his first run in the car and was admittedly surprised with the electric power he felt from behind the wheel. This has given the world famous motoring brand even more confidence to achieve their next goal, which is to complete an entire lap of Le Mans under proper race conditions, again using nothing but electric power from the dual electric motors.
Not only was the ZEOD the first fully electric vehicle to set a new speed record, it was also the first vehicle to complete a full lap of Le Mans without any wing mirrors. As an alternative, use rear facing cameras were used to project what they are seeing onto an on board screen. This clever technology gives the driver a clear view of approaching cars and also communicates how fast they are going using arrows that change colour, size and shape in certain situations.
This is a huge achievement for Nissan as a company, and a huge step forward for both electrically powered vehicles and the hybrid race car industry as a whole. Being able to reach speeds of up to 186 mph with an electric motor alone is astonishing! We can’t wait to see if this level of performance and design will transfer into the production electric vehicles, such as the LEAF, we all see on the roads now!