Nissan ZEOD RC Q&A: Billy Hayes, Nissan Vice President in Charge of Global Sales of the Nissan LEAF

 

Q: Why doesn't Nissan just develop a fully electric racecar like the Nissan LEAF?

A: There is no question of us moving away from pure 100% electric vehicles and that is a direction we have committed very strongly to and will continue to progress with. We are seeing a growing demand for EVs globally and we have now sold more than 65,000 Nissan LEAF since the start of production in late 2010.

The future of mobility will see a range of solutions that will include hybrids, range extenders, fuel cells and battery electric vehicles. We'll be trying many of these technologies during the development of the Nissan ZEOD RC.

We should remember that no single technology has dominated globally since the beginning of the automobile with diesel and petrol vehicles growing or waning in popularity depending on the price of fuel or government policy. Different driving patterns, government policies and customer preferences mean a range of technologies will be necessary and Nissan is in a great position to deliver these technologies.

Q: Does this vehicle use a Nissan LEAF motor or battery?

A: The ZEOD will use technology that has come from the huge research and development efforts that Nissan has dedicated to making our own battery and electric motor. They are not exactly the same units as the road cars because the demands put on the system are nothing like they would be on the street. It does utilise the same core battery technology however. It is the same story as you will see with the engines or transmissions in an LM P1 or LM P2, they utilise the same technology and the lessons learned from road cars, but they are not identical.

Q: Will LEAF get zero emission on demand technology in the future?

A: The Nissan LEAF was always designed to be a 100% electric vehicle and that means we could make the most of the advantages of the electric drivetrain and achieve a fantastic centre of gravity and excellent interior space. The options for the new racecar are very relevant on road cars, but it is not going to be used in the LEAF, which is a dedicated full time EV. We know from studies conducted by ourselves and others that most consumer's daily driving distances are significantly less than the 199km maximum range of the Nissan LEAF.

Q: Will the technologies developed in the Le Mans car be transferred across to the road?

A: We are really excited about the potential for these technologies and we will reveal our plans for the road in due course.

Q: What is Nissan's next EV?

A: We are launching the e-NV200 100% electric van next year and that opens up a whole new zero emissions market. We have had prototype versions of the van running with partners like Coca-Cola and FedEx across the globe to test it in real world conditions and the feedback has been fantastic. We will produce the e-NV200 in Barcelona, Spain with battery packs made at our UK battery plant.

Q: Has EV failed, aren't the sales figures disappointing?

A: The Nissan LEAF is the best selling electric car of all time and our sales across the globe are going up, so no we are really positive about the future. If you compare how many Toyota Prius were sold in the first two years of sales and how many Nissan LEAF have been sold to date then we are 30% ahead of where that vehicle was at the same point. To put that in context, Toyota now makes 1 million hybrid vehicles a year. To get into specifics we have had some excellent months in 2013 for sales in the US and in Norway we were the second best selling car overall in April, beating a host of household name internal combustion-engined cars.

 

 

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Issued by Nissan