Nissan has unveiled the prototype for its ZEOD RC electric racing car, which is the working-stage variety of the finished product that will be raced in the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hour. The project is being led by Ben Bowlby, Nissan's Director of Motorsports, and is being directed with input by engineers located in the US, Europe, and Japan.
ZEOD RC stands for Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car, and will be competing in the race under the Automobile Club de l'Ouest's (ACO's) Garage 56, something for which it received an invitation back in February of this year. As the prototype is refined, enthusiasts will have access to data as it is posted via Youtube and Nismo.tv.
Nissan says that this is the first use of electric battery tech in endurance racing cars, and as such will provide important information for the future development of next-generation sports cars, as well as improvements to zero-emissions technology in general. This follows a couple years after the launch of the Nissan Leaf RC.
Nissan's Executive VP and Executive Committee member Andy Palmer said: "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 it stands right now, however, battery technology is not advanced enough to allow for a purely electric Le Mans 24 Hour offering. The testing processes will be carried out over the next 12 months, during which the prototype will be paired with various drive trains. Ultimately, the auto maker seeks to develop both rules and a system for competition, something being done in conjunction with the ACO.