Nissan Unveils Tech Specs for the ZEOD RC Hybrid Racecar

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Nissan ZEOD RC

Ever since we got our first look at the Nissan ZEOD RC last October, we’ve been eagerly waiting to hear more about the newest entry into the Le Mans ‘Garage 56’ category of vehicles. This week, Nissan finally give us a peek at the technical specs of its futuristic hybrid racer.

For those of you who don’t remember, Nissan originally unveiled the ZEOD RC under the headline that it would be the first car ever to complete a lap around the 24 Hour Le Mans circuit using only electric power. That means the car must be capable of about driving 8.5 miles at racing speeds using all-electric propulsion.

This week, we get to look under the hood of the upcoming ZEOD RC to see the mechanics behind Nissan’s ambitious endeavor. Even if you don’t follow motorsports, Nissan will eventually use lessons learned from the ZEOD RC to produce street cars (such as the BladeGlider Concept), so pay attention to what they’re doing here.

Powertrain Details for the ZEOD RC

What’ll be under the hood when the ZEOD RC takes to the track this June? A brand-new DIG-T R engine.

It’ll be a three-cylinder, turbocharged 1.5L engine with incredible efficiency. The engine itself will only weigh around 90 lbs (40kg), but will output a surprising 280lb-ft and almost exactly 400bhp. As Nissan astutely pointed out, that’s a power-to-weight ratio of 10bhp:1kg. A Nissan spokesperson elaborated, saying, “The new engine actually has a better power-to-weight ratio than the new engines to be used in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship this year.”

On top of its unprecedented efficiency, the engine is also small enough to fit into a carry-on bag – it officially measures in at 500mm x 400mm x 200mm. It’s capable of 7500 RPM, and is managed through a paddle-shift five-speed transmission together with a separate electric motor.

Speaking of its electric motor, the Japanese car maker says that they’ve borrowed heavily from the Nissan Leaf – especially from the EV’s regenerative braking system – to enable the futuristic racecar to make an entire lap on electric power. By driving 11 laps on petrol, the car will store enough energy from regular braking to allow a final 12th lap on electricity alone.

Nissan Confirms ZEOD RC for 2015 LMP1 Entry

In addition to the ZEOD’s powertrain specs, Nissan also unveiled that they plan to use all the information they’re able to gather from the car’s Le Mans 24 Hour debut in June to enter the car into the 2015 LMP1 season.

As we said in the beginning, Nissan has clearly stated that the ZEOD RC will form the foundation for commercially available vehicles. Andy Palmer has already confirmed production of the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show’s BladeGlider Concept (pictured above) for later this year, and who knows what other surprises the progressive Japanese brand has hiding up their sleeve. But, even if we don’t see street-friendly results from the ZEOD RC, the car is still an amazing accomplishment and we can’t wait to see Nissan achieve their goal at the 24 Hour Le Mans this June.

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