When Nissan announced the Leaf RC we, naturally, were expecting a little radio controlled version of the battery-electric sedan that’s making its way to driveways now — slowly. We certainly didn’t expect a race version of the thing, but that’s what Nissan created, and now here it is at the New York International Auto Show, sitting on a turntable and spinning away. In fact you could envision that spinning stretching it out. It’s rather… longer than the stock Leaf. In fact, it really looks nothing at all like the stock car, but if it did it’d be all the more strange on the track than this long, low, spread-out, carbon fiber wedge. They are at least both pure electrics and both painted blue, though under the cerulean lights here just about everything is looking decidedly cool. Okay, so 107HP, a top speed of 93MPH, and a maximum duration of just 20 minutes on the track will hardly see this winning any WTCC races, but with a weight of just 2,068 pounds (some 700 less than a Tesla Roadster) we’d certainly take one for a spin — even if it were a short one.
Electric vehicles may have that instant torque thing going for them, but they’re still a bit behind when it comes to giving heart palpitations to those diehard petrolheads. Hoping to change that perception, Nissan is setting up to unveil a brand new concept vehicle, dubbed the Leaf Nismo RC (that stands for Racing Competition, not “radio-controlled”), which strips the one-size-fits-all Leaf down to its constituent elements. The drivetrain is still 100 percent electric, however it’s now powering the rear wheels instead of the front, while things like the rear seats, trunk, audio system, carpeting, and navigation have been completely removed. A carbon fiber chassis helps the Nismo RC keep weight down to 2,068 pounds (938kg), equivalent to just 60 percent of the original Leaf’s heft. Yes, the Leaf is now lighter! In performance terms, you’re looking at a car that can hit 62mph within 6.85 seconds, max out the speedometer at 93mph, and last a terrifying 20 minutes under racing conditions. This prototype vehicle will debut at the upcoming New York Auto Show and will thereafter help Nissan research better aerodynamics and, presumably, slightly better energy efficiency.