Nissan ZEOD RC electric Le Mans racer (2013) first pictures

Published: 21 June 2013

This amazing-looking creation is the Nissan ZEOD RC, and its Nissan's latest, bravest attamept to make the electric car cool. Combining Nissan DeltaWing looks with powertrain know-how from the Nismo Leaf RC electric racer, the ZEOD RC will compete in the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race.

Let me guess: 'ZEOD RC' is an acronym for something techy...

Correct. Strictly, this is the Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car, but we'll called it ZEOD for now. Its electric powertrain is juiced by lithium-ion batteries developed from the Nismo Leaf RC. The car will hit 186mph flat out, but won't compete in anger until next year's event.

Then we have a year to get used to its crazy bodywork...

Looking like a cross between a 1970's land speed record car and Cruella deVille's company car, the ZEOD is ostensibly a 'coupe' version of the open-top DeltaWing racer which competed with conventionally-engined Nissan power at the 2012 24 Heures de Mans. As well as its low-drag canopy, the ZEOD gets a larger rear fin and wider rear wheel fairings: the fronts are still tiny space-saver like items made possible by the car's rear-biased weight distribution.

Why is Nissan bothering to develop an electric Le Mans racing car?

Aside from an opportunity to plug (sorry) the Leaf road car, the ZEOD RC is also a rolling test bed for future Nissan motorsport projects. Andy Palmer, Nissan's Executive Vice President confirmed lessons learned from the fully-electric ZEOD RC will be used in a future hybrid LMP1 class challenger from Nissan, which will fight the hybrid contenders from Audi, Porsche and Toyota.

>> Can an electric racing car ever live up to the spectacle of a petrol-fuelled racer? Click 'Add your comment' to get involved.