Building the Nissan ZEOD RC – Chapter 2

Nissan ZEOD-RC Engine via Motor TrendNissan just made waves with their latest announcement about their Zero Emissions On Demand Race Car (ZEOD RC) that will be racing in this year’s 24 hours of Le Mans from the Garage 56 Technical Exhibition spot. When the car was first announced, Nissan wanted to make it a pure electric car and we took a look at the energy storage and recovery technologies that would be necessary to make that a possibility. Later during Chapter 1 of the build, Nissan had made the decision to make the car a hybrid with undisclosed powertrain details. Here is Chapter 2 of the ZEOD RC build that talks about nothing but the engine that will power the car. The new plan is to have the car run 11-12 lap stints around the Circuit de la Sarthe with one of those laps being done on pure electric power.

The rest of the laps will be powered by a 1.5 liter, 3 cylinder engine which cranks out 400 horsepower and 280 foot-pounds of torque despite the short block weighing only 88 pounds. It seems that 2014 will be the year that many automakers and even some motorcycle companies start offering small displacement 3-cylinder engines. The engineers have come up with good solutions to balance the vibration of firing four strokes of combustion on three cylinders. More importantly, turbocharging, variable valve timing and direct injection have finally come far enough to get real world usable power out of these small engines.

Source: Nissan Newsroom on YouTube

Mission Motorcycles Mission RS

Mission RS via Road & TrackThe prototype for the Mission RS first appeared 2 years ago as the Mission Motors Mission R. Since then, the company has changed names and turned the prototype into Mission R naked via RideAparta production bike. I would say that the Mission RS is the two wheel equivalent of the Tesla Model S. What I mean by that is the Mission RS offers equivalent performance of an internal combustion powered sport bike without compromise. The performance is good straight up, not just when compared to other electric powered motorcycles. Mission spec’ed the same Ohlins NX30 fork, Ohlins TTX36 shock, Brembo brakes and Marchesini forged wheels as Mission RS stessed members via RideApartDucati’s 1199 Panigale R. Weight is minimized by having all of the parts of the frame be stressed structural members. Power is provided by a 120 kilowatt 3-phase AC motor which puts down 160 horsepower and and 130 foot-pounds of torque to the rear wheel through a single gear ratio. A modular, passively cooled battery pack lives in the center of the frame and is available up to a 17 kilowatt-hour capacity. To put that into perspective, the Mission RS’s battery capacity is between the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf. The result is a real world range of 140 miles and a top speed of 150 mph (not at the same time). Jay Leno got to take the bike out for some street impressions:

And here’s somebody with more racing chops taking it around the Wilzig Racing Manor:

Mission Motorcycles x Wilzig Racing Manor
from Mission Motorcycles on Vimeo.

Sources: Jay Leno’s Garage on YouTube, Mission Motorcycles and RideApart

Building the Nissan ZEOD RC – Chapter 1

Nissan is documenting the construction of the Zero Emissions On-Demand Race Car (ZEOD RC) that’s scheduled to occupy the Garage 56 Technical Exhibition spot for the 2014 24-Hours of Le Mans. The last time we checked in with this car, Nissan had announced that it was going to be a pure battery electric vehicle and we discussed what it would take to make that happen. It seems that since that article was written, Nissan has come to the same conclusion as almost all of the other automakers trying to produce green supercars: hybrid is the way to go. The cost, weight and range of current battery technology is still not good enough to be the foundation of a performance oriented car. Electric power specs mentioned in the video are prefaced with “when running in pure electric mode” which probably means the ZEOD RC will be a series hybrid. I will update with more information as it becomes available.

In this first chapter of the ZEOD RC build, the Nissan engineers showcase the carbon fiber main tub. They talk about some of its unique features which mainly revolve around driver safety. Nine months is all the time that Nissan will have to complete the construction and testing of the car. Spaniard Lucas Ordóñez, the winner of the first Gran Turismo Academy competition, will be the ZEOD RC’s test driver. The official public debut is scheduled to occur at the World Endurance Championship race at Fuji Speedway with Michael Krumm behind the wheel. Lets hope the Deltawing based ZEOD RC will usher in a new era of green race cars. We will be following these build videos very closely.

Source: Nissan Newsroom on YouTube

AutoCar Tests The Tesla Model S

elon-musk-tesla-s-motor-trend-car-year via Business InsiderTesla made history this past year by becoming the first manufacturer to win several Car of the Year awards with an electric car. The Model S impressed everybody with it’s ability to offer uncompromised performance, practicality and value when compared directly to its combustion powered competitors. Specifications no longer had to be qualified with “which is good for an electric car.” They were just very good. The Model S even superseded the auto industry in several areas thanks to Tesla’s Silicon Valley tech approach to connectivity, touchscreens and operating system configurability and updatability. Now Tesla is poised to begin selling the Model S in Europe. AutoCar UK spent a week with a US spec Model S and they have been equally as impressed with it as the US media. Expect Elon Musk to have some more trophies to hoist in the year to come.

Source: AutoCar on YouTube

The Chip Yates Story

Chip Yates is a bit of a rock star in the world of electric vehicles. He started out as an engineer for McLaren Automotive before becoming a professional motorcycle racer at the World Superbike level at the age of 36. A broken pelvis sustained in a crash brought an end to his racing career and into the field of electric vehicles. Chip gathered some of his friends and spent his savings building a motorcycle for a new electric racing series forming in California. His new bike proved so fast that it was banned from the series before it even started. Undaunted, Yates entered the bike in a race against traditional gas combustion powered motorcycles where he nabbed two podium finishes. Chip continued to push the boundaries of electric motorcycle performance with a land speed record at Bonneville and a record for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Check out this interview that Chip did with Motor Trend where he tells the stories of his start and success in the electric vehicle world. There’s even footage from the electric airplane he built by putting the UQM motor from his electric motorcycle in an old Burt Rutan VariEze home-built kit plane. He burned up his battery pack setting the world speed record for electric airplanes before having to make an emergency landing.

Source: Motor Trend on YouTube