If it looks like a DeltaWing and smells like a DeltaWing then you’d expect it to be a.. DeltaWing, but according to Nissan it’s not – it is in fact the all-new Nissan ZEOD RC (Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car) which will make its race debut at next year’s Le Mans 24 Hours.
The ‘DeltaWing’ name is mentioned just twice in Nissan’s 1100-word press release, first when introducing Nissan’s Director of Motorsport Innovation, Ben Bowlby, who previously worked on the DeltaWing program in 2012 and secondly when introducing its partnership with French tyre manufacturer Michelin – who also worked on the DeltaWing program.
Otherwise, what looks like a closed-roof DeltaWing powered by electric technology is nothing of the sort – it’s a ‘groundbreaking’ new concept that will be proven to be ‘the world’s fastest electric racing car’.
Suspend your disbelief for a moment and watch to the video (above).
In it you’ll hear from Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President for Nissan, saying “This is not a science experiment, it’s reality,” and then adding “We need to challenge the gap between perception and reality, there’s no better way of doing that than going racing.”
“We’ve invested over US$5 billion in battery technology..” said Paul Willcox, sales and marketing head for Nissan in Europe, adding “Nissan has become a global leader in the development of zero emission automotive technology and the technologies developed through the ZEOD RC program will form part of future innovations for Nissan road cars.”
While Ben Bowlby adds “The perception of electric technology will be changed by what we achieve.”
Nissan will trial variants of new electric drive train technologies as part of its intended future return to LM P1 competition and challenge for overall victory at Le Mans. While current battery technology does not provide the energy storage capacity to race a solely electric Le Mans prototype Bowlby believes the ZEOD RC will be an important step in the “electrification” of the racecars of the future..
Palmer adds, “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. 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.”
The world’s fastest electric racing car..?
Nissan claim the ZEOD RC will be able to reach speeds of more than 300km/h (186mph) making it the world’s fastest electric racing car, but in just four days time (June 25), former UK science minister Lord Drayson will drive a low-drag version of the Drayson B12 69/EV electric Le-Mans Prototype flat-out along Elvington’s 1.86-mile runway – his aim to better the current record of 175mph set by Battery Box General Electric in the United States, which has stood since 1974.
Drayson is one of the leading names behind the new FIA Formula E championship, an all-electric racing series for 2014 that features 10 teams and 20 drivers who’ll compete around the streets of the world’s leading cities.