Nissan Leaf EV NISMO RC – Prototype Drive

So Nissan has built an electric car that ordinary people can afford, and that car is being sold to the public. Exciting stuff, right? Well, in a way, but the $36,050 (before any tax credits and incentives) Nissan Leaf is full of compromises. It’s sprightly but not fast, comfy but not spacious, gas-free but still range-hampered. It’s also kind of nerdy.

Here, then, is some form of antidote.

Imagine that you have a kindly old aunt—let’s call her Edna—who has never felt at home in her body. Now imagine that, one day, she undergoes a sex-change operation: Goodbye, Aunt Edna. Hello, Uncle Ed. She/he looks and sounds different, but she/he still loves you, still makes that weird cream-cheese-broccoli casserole that made you vurp last Fourth of July. Same person, different wrapper.

At the risk of taking an odd metaphor too far, consider this the same thing. The Leaf NISMO RC marries a Leaf’s lithium-ion battery pack and 80-kW, 107-hp AC synchronous motor to a unique chassis that features body panels and a monocoque rendered in carbon fiber. The wheelbase is shorter by 3.9 inches; the ground clearance is 2.4 inches versus a street Leaf’s 6.3. The curb weight is a claimed 2068 pounds, some 40 percent lighter than a standard Leaf. Bride Racing seats, a pair of safety harnesses, a giant wing, and 18-inch aluminum wheels complete the illusion. The end result hits 62 mph in a claimed 6.9 seconds, has a top speed of 93 mph, and makes the ordinary Leaf look as sexy as a moldy Big Mac.

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