Nissan’s ZEOD RC electrified car will incorporate a special electric motor as well as a unique compact internal combustion engine.
The company stated this internal combustion engine is set to revolutionize standards of performance and efficiency.
Nissan said the ZEOD RC will become the first entry at Le Mans to complete a full lap of the Circuit de la Sarthe under nothing but electric power in June.
During the race, a full lap of each fuel stint (a fuel “stint” lasts approximately one hour) will be electric powered. Then, the new Nissan DIG-T R 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbo engine will take over.
Nissan explained the small engine weighs only 40 kilograms (88 pounds) but produces 400 horsepower. The base engine is only 500 millimeter (mm) tall x 400 mm long x 200 mm wide (19.68″ x 15.74″ x 7.78″). Interesting tidbit Nissan revealed about the engine: it is technically too heavy to take as carry-on luggage on a plane, but would easily fit inside the luggage guides seen at major airports around the world.
Revving to 7,500 rpm, Nissan said at a ratio of 10 horsepower per kilogram, 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.
With the entire concept of the Nissan ZEOD RC focusing heavily on downsizing and efficiency, Nissan added it turned to new lubricants partner Total to help develop the engine. The French lubricants manufacturer has worked closely with Nissan engineers to develop fuel and lubricants to maximize the potential of the engine.
As announced earlier, the Nissan ZEOD RC will occupy the “Garage 56″ spot at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, an additional entry reserved by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest for new and ground breaking technologies never previously seen at the classic French endurance event.
After extensive dyno testing, the Nissan ZEOD RC was sent on the track for the first time last week with both the electric and internal combustion engines in place. Nissan said both the gasoline and electric powerplants run through the same five-speed gearbox that transfers power to the ground via Michelin tires.
The Nissan ZEOD RC will continue to undergo an extensive test program over the next four months prior to it making its race debut at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours held June 14 and 15.