Great race circuits aren’t just for entertainment, but are also another way for automakers to develop new technologies. Racing is very hard on a vehicle, and if there is one way to test a vehicle to its limits, it is racing. Unlike diagrams and lab reports, racing puts vehicle technologies to their limits. The perfected technologies, like anti-lock braking or electronic torque vectoring, could find their way into a new vehicle that you can purchase tomorrow.
Here’s one test that we’ve been looking forward to seeing, a race-equipped Nissan Leaf electric vehicle competing in the LeMans 24-hour endurance race. Well, it might not be exactly a Nissan Leaf, but will be based on the same powertrain. Battery and charger technology, though, isn’t really up to race standards, I mean, can you imagine sitting in the pits for an hour waiting for an LIII charger to get your electric racer back on the track?
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said, “We will return to LeMans with a vehicle that will act as a high-speed test bed in the harshest of environments for both our road car and race car electric vehicle technology,” but did not say what particular form that vehicle, or its charging system, might take. Maybe Nissan has something up its sleeve that’ll wow everyone, be it battery technology or recharging technology? Might they even be going to battery swapping? Guess we’ll have to see!