Nissan ZEOD: all you need to know
Inspired by DeltaWing, powered by battery: take a poke around Nissan's revolutionary Le Mans coupe
Posted: 09 Dec 2013
"It's like nothing I've ever been in," says development driver Michael Krumm. "There are switches in the cockpit that I've never seen in my life, and I've been told to be careful of various things... or I'll get electrocuted."
He and fellow development driver Lucas Ordóñez will also have to get used to running the electric drive through the same conventional five-speed sequential gearbox that the petrol engine uses. That's not normally the case, as electric cars normally run one gear, but, says Bowlby, it allows the electric motors to stay in a very tight rpm band, so they're always running at their most efficient.
"I had a quick go at shifting," Krumm tells us after a demo run at Fuji Speedway. "Having never shifted up in an electric car it's completely different to normal, as the motor doesn't cut mid-shift like an engine. It's quite rough, but I could feel the potential."
But with all this technology and backing, isn't one electric lap for every 11 petrol-powered laps a rather modest aim? Apparently not. "We're using one of the most advanced batteries in the world," Bowlby explains, "and we need all 11 laps (605 braking events) to fully charge it to give us enough energy for just one lap. If we wanted to do two laps, we'd need a battery that was twice as big. Actually more, as the rest of the car would have to get heavier to support the weight, then you'd need more downforce, more tyre and suddenly you'd need a battery that was three times bigger. It's an exponential that runs away from you."