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Getting under the skin of the Nissan ZEOD RC electric race car

The above image shows some of the innovation within the ZEOD RC that will make history at the upcoming Le Mans 24 Hours. Let's dissect it.

Computer aided design (CAD), of course, played a huge part in the creation of the Nissan ZEOD RC. The car will make the world's first all-electric lap of the famous 8.5-mile Le Mans 24 Hours as a Garage 56 entry.

The exploded image of the ZEOD shows the components that have gone into the building of this car, which literally has thousands of parts. The body shell itself is made of a specially-designed composite that was engineered to meet FIA requirements for the race (see the crash test here).

"Our philosophy at Nissan is to really let fans get a behind-the-scenes look as to what it takes to develop the unique technology in the Nissan ZEOD RC," said Darren Cox, Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, NISMO.

"Most fans don't get to see what is under the skin of these cars and certainly don't get the opportunity to see what happens at a crash test. We can't have everybody in the garage at the race, but through revealing video and images like this and pushing continual updates via NISMO.TV, the fans will feel closer than ever before.

"What we're trying to achieve is actually quite remarkable. Taking a Le Mans prototype around the full 8.5-mile circuit at Le Mans on nothing but electric power is one thing, but doing it with a top speed of more than 300km/h and completing a lap faster than a GT car is incredible.

"We know it was going to be a very big challenge. We're pushing battery technology to whole new levels. At Nissan we had a lot of data to refer to from our leadership role in electric vehicles for the road, but it has been a very intense development process.

"We've discovered why nobody has attempted this in the past. It has certainly presented plenty of technical challenges but that is why we undertake projects like this. Motorsport compresses the development cycles dramatically; we're learning new things on a daily basis."

Inside the ZEOD RC is a pair of 110kw electric motors that run through the same gearbox the combustion engine in the car uses, but on a clutch that allows either the motors or the engine to be removed from the drive train. This allows the vehicle to run all-electric or all-ICE or use both simultaneously as a hybrid.

The car aims to complete a lap of Le Mans on battery power faster than a GT LM category Le Mans entry. The 400 horsepower, 40 kilogram, 1.5 liter, three-cylinder turbocharged engine will start the race with the electric motors taking over for a final all-electric lap after each fuel stint. The goal is to prove that a car with this design can extend the fuel economy of a Le Mans racer, adding extra laps to a car's run and thus giving an advantage on the field.

On June 1, the ZEOD RC will be piloted around the Circuit de la Sarthe on Le Mans Test Day by GT Academy winner Wolfgang Reip and Tommy Erdos, two-time Le Mans LM P2 winner. Erdos will be doing the testing as the car's official test driver, Lucas Ordonez, is competing in the Super GT in Japan that weekend with fellow NISMO driver Satashi Motoyama.

This is all part of the NISMO #eatsleepRACErepeat campaign.