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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Nissan Leaf to Contest 2011 Pikes Peak Hill Climb


On June 26, a 100 percent electric Nissan LEAF will compete in the 89th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with veteran Nissan off-road truck racing champion Chad Hord behind the wheel. The Nissan LEAF will compete in the Production Class for electric vehicles and, other than the removal of some interior parts like seats and carpets to make room for safety equipment, such as a roll cage, racing seats and safety harnesses, the LEAF will be very close to the way it left the factory.

Like every production Nissan LEAF, the Pikes Peak LEAF will be powered by a lithium-ion battery composed of 48 compact modules and a high-response 80kW AC synchronous motor that generates 107 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. However, unlike most of the other vehicles competing at Pikes Peak, the LEAF will have no tailpipe, no emission of greenhouse gases and will make the climb in near silence.

“This is another innovative way to showcase the fun-to-drive nature of the Nissan LEAF and highlight that 100 percent electric vehicles perform very well in demanding situations like the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb,” said Ron Stukenberg, senior manager, Marketing Communications, Motorsports. “The instant torque available from the electric motor makes the LEAF a fun car to drive and the abundance of corners on the hill climb will give Chad a chance to take advantage of that torque.”

The Pikes Peak Hill Climb will be the motorsports competition debut for the Nissan LEAF, but Nissan recently showcased the Nissan LEAF NISMO RC at the New York Auto Show. The Nissan LEAF NISMO RC is designed and constructed as a real racing machine, starting with its full carbon fiber monocoque bodywork. The three-piece bodywork includes removable front and rear sections, fixed windows, LED headlights and taillights and driver-adjustable rear wing. The powertrain is straight from a production LEAF and repackaged to provide a mid-ship placement for the motor, inverter and battery pack as well as rear wheel drive.

The Nissan LEAF NISMO RC will likely make a series demonstration runs later this summer at various motorsports venues around the world.

“Nissan is committed to taking an innovative approach to showcasing the Nissan LEAF and Pikes Peak is an excellent venue to do just that,” added Stukenberg. “Nissan LEAF owners are fully embracing this new world of zero-emission technology. We believe the same potential exists in the motorsports world, and we’re proud to be one of the first on the grid.”

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