For the upcoming 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan has decided to hand its environmentally responsible Leaf plug-in electric car over to NISMO, its motorsports and racing division.
The result, which will be revealed in concept form on October 25, boasts a much more aggressive external appearance with a large, stylized front apron and air intakes plus side skirts.
However, the pieces haven’t been applied simply for looks alone. They form part of an enhanced aerodynamics kit that should increase downforce and reduce front axle lift as the car accelerates. Also helping in this regard are bigger, wider wheels at each corner wrapped in racing performance tires rather than the typical reduced rolling resistance tires usually fitted to EVs and plug-in hybrids to optimize energy capture from regenerative braking.
The suspension has also been overhauled to keep the car flat in the corners and stiffer at higher speeds while under the hood, as with the normal Leaf, there is nothing other than a charging plug for the battery pack.
Therefore, NISMO has had to get creative with microprocessors and has reprogramed the car’s on-board computer to put speed and responsiveness ahead of environmental responsibility. Rather than trying to hold on to remaining battery charge, the NISMO Leaf will always deliver instant acceleration.
But best of all, this isn’t simply a show car. Rather, this concept is a full preview of an upcoming production model that Nissan hopes will help broaden the car’s appeal, particularly among younger affluent drivers who could otherwise be put off by the Leaf’s orderly sensible image.
When the original Leaf launched in 2010 it could claim to be the only electric car from a major manufacturer. But seven years and over 250 000 sales later, the market is heating up and as choice starts to increase, car companies, including Nissan are going to have to do more to ensure that their vehicle stands out in terms of looks as well as usable range on a single charge.
So, aligning the Leaf with its flagship GT-R supercar via the NISMO connection could prove a very shrewd move. – AFP Relaxnews