Nissan has unveiled the new electric car that will run as the Garage 56 entry in the Le Mans 24 Hours next season.
The ZEOD RC, designed by DeltaWing creator Ben Bowlby, appears visually similar to the unique car that ran at the Circuit de la Sathe last year in adopting a narrow front axle with the front wheels side-by-side.
Designed as a Coupe, the ZEOD RC – standing for Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car – will make use of the same battery technology found on Nissan's LEAF road car and will be used to test technology that could be used on an LMP1 machine at some point in the future.
Nissan will aim to produce lap times ahead of the GTE field with the car, which will run as a Hybrid machine given that 'current battery technology does not provide the energy storage capacity to race a solely electric Le Mans prototype'.
As such, the Japanese manufacturer will now aim to show how on-demand electric power could be a option for any future LMP1 programme.
“Nissan has become a global leader in the development of zero emission automotive technology and the Nissan ZEOD RC will allow us to further develop those capabilities using the toughest endurance race in the world as a mobile test bed to test the potential of our planned LM P1 power train,” Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President and Executive Committee member at Nissan Motor Company Limited, said.
“Nissan is already a global leader in the sale of all-electric cars and we're eagerly awaiting the opportunity to showcase the lessons learnt with the development of battery technology in the world's oldest, toughest and most high profile endurance race.
“The ZEOD RC program is designed to develop multiple technologies to evaluate how they could be used for a future LM P1 class return of Nissan at the Le Mans 24 Hour. There are multiple options we are investigating. A Zero Emission on Demand option where the driver can switch between electric and petrol-powered drive is a future direction for road cars, so that will be tested in addition to pure electric power and other new technologies that we still have under development.
“As no other manufacturer is using electric battery technology in endurance racing today, Nissan is innovating again and this will provide us with significant amounts of data and information to evaluate potential powertrains for future sportscar programs and allow us to continue as the leader in Zero Emissions technology on the road.”