By on October 18, 2013
Sorry, couldn't resist

Sorry, couldn’t resist


After months of teasing, Nissan officially pulled the wraps of the ZEOD RC. The Zero Emissions On Demand Race Car will occupy Garage 56 at the 24 Hours of LeMans in June of next year. This weekend it is expected to hit the track at round 6 of the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship, October 18-20 at Japan’s Fuji International Speedway.

Nissan ZEOD RC

Owing some obvious DNA to the breakthrough Deltawing;  the advanced prototype will again take the Garage 56 slot, a category the Deltawing defined last year. 2012 LeMans effort veteran and recently crowned Director of Motorsport Innovation; Ben Bowlby; claims the ZEOD will be able to run an entire lap on pure electric power while maintaining 185 MPH. It will use energy recovery systems similar to the Leaf EV to recharge when it is being propelled by its gas engine.

Also like the Deltawing; the ZEOD RC will also have a 1.6 liter four that should put out 300 horses.  The opening strategy will be running the car on one electric-only lap between stops and ideally extending the time the car is on the track and not in the pits.

Nissan Academy graduate Lucas Ordóñez has been named as one of the test drivers along with long-time Nissan pilot Michael Krumm.

In 2012, Nissan surprised a lot of naysayers despite the prototype’s tragic ending. Given the team and talent surrounding the ZEOD RC, it’s reasonable to expect another impressive effort. At a minimum, we can expect to hear the sound of change, like a distant rolling train.

But it won’t be distant long.

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16 Comments on “Nissan Unveils the ZEOD RC...”

  • avatar

    I am unclear on how this is different from the Audi or Toyota hybrid cars. Is this just the Deltawing with a hybrid system added?

    • 0 avatar

      Me too.

      Also, there is no such thing as “zero emissions” propulsion

      • 0 avatar

        “Zero emission on demand” must mean that it can run on battery power alone, seemingly for about one 8.5 mile lap of the Le Mans circuit.

      • 0 avatar

        There are races where colleges build solar cars (or at least there used to be). Unfortunately, a quick calculation shows that solar can’t power a golf cart in Arizona (even with plenty of charging while making your shot).

        I’d also hope that our Brazilian correspondent will chime in. I think that sugar cane produced ethanol is about as close to “zero emmisions” as you can get in this world (corn-based ethanol doesn’t cut it).

    • 0 avatar
      Nicholas Weaver

      This is just SPECULATION mind you:

      With such a large and HIGH CURRENT, if it can do a lap at race pace battery pack, it might be set up as a series hybrid rather than a parallel hybrid: the gas motor is running a generator full bore, all the time…

      Thus even when braking, its could be not just recapturing the energy from regenerative braking (like the KERS system on F1) but still running the gas motor full bore, storing even more ready energy to blast it out of the corner.

      Given how radical the rest of the delta wing is already, doing a series hybrid racecar would be just the kind of thing I could see Nissan going for.

    • 0 avatar

      It is worth pointing out that the Deltawing design is probably one of the most impressive racing innovations in the last 20 years.

      It can keep up with traditional cars with around half the power. If the horsepower were evenly matched, it would absolutely destroy every Le Mans car since the unlimited era of the 70’s.

      It really is on par with the mid-engine F1 car, or the introduction of ground effects. The main difference is that the Deltawing is being prevented from competing on an equal horsepower footing with the traditional cars.

      So it makes sense to turn it into an electric racer. It is a much more efficient design. I am glad that it is getting utilized.

      • 0 avatar

        Virtually all the limitations on the standard cars are rule based (engine size, minimum weight, fuel type and load, height/width/length, tire size, etc.). The Deltawing wins because it is able to “break the rules”. It is a fun engineering exercise, but as many who follow sports car endurance racing have commented, it is an answer to a question no one was asking. (And remember, it started life as a prototype open-wheeled race car for Indycar, not a sports car.)

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    A minor nit: a ‘tragic ending’ normally includes death. In this case, only the car was damaged. ‘Heartbreaking ending’ is more like it.

  • avatar
    Pagani Baguette

    Just couple of notes from reading the article and some of the replies:

    – The car is NOT going to use the same 1.6 4 cyl engine like the DeltaWing. It is going to be a very different engine.

    – It is “Zero Emissions” because the batteries are charged exclusively from regenerative braking, not from an outside source and not from the engine itself. Yes, it will be technically possible to “brake” while using the ICE, therefore generate some charge, but that would be very counter productive and I doubt they would ever do that in a race mode.

    • 0 avatar

      Zero Emissions sounds great but a more accurate term would be Minimal Extra Emissions. First you need to gain speed for regenerative braking to work. In a race you are already doing this regardless of propulsion type. The Minimal Extra Emissions would be from whatever incremental work is required to accelerate the extra weight of the electrical regen/drive system.

      • 0 avatar
        Pagani Baguette

        You are absolutely correct! “Zero” is never really technically possible if we start accounting for everything…..

        It would be safer to say that the ZEOD is “closer” to ZERO than say plug in hybrid. But yes, neither is an actual “ZERO”.

        Besides, the real denomination should not be “on demand”, but perhaps “when possible”, because it is not really available all the time you want it :)

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