This weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours race is already building up quite nicely into a three-way battle between Toyota, Porsche and Audi for top honours. But, at the same time, Nissan is hoping for success with its innovative electric racer.
In fact the ZEOD (zero emissions on demand) RC prototype hit an impressive benchmark in last night’s qualifying session – reaching over 300 km/h (186 mph) purely on electric power alone. Running down the Mulsanne Straight, Japanese driver Satoshi Motoyama reached the impressive figure with the car’s petrol internal combustion engine making no revs at all. Impressive enough for the crazy concept vehicle to qualify 27th overall.
The ZEOD RC’s 1.5 litre three-cylinder 400 hp turbocharged engine and twin 110 kw electric motors aren’t the only technologic development the car is demonstrating at Le Mans. Nissan is also making use of the systems found in its road cars such as the Qashqai, with a development of the Nissan Safety Shield and Nissan Smart Mirror. The result is the first completely mirrorless race car. Instead of normal mirrors, the ZEOD RC uses a rear-facing camera that displays video images to the driver, but also incorporates a radar to warn of fast approaching cars. More impressive is the way the system changes dependent on the closing speed and position of nearby cars, taking some of the stress out of the Le Mans traffic.
Here’s hoping the camera system helps the ZEOD stay out of trouble throughout the race and make it to the finish.