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Nissan Leaf Nismo RC Racer: Video Update

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The Nissan Leaf Nismo RC race car may have only turned a wheel in anger once outside of demo runs, but that doesn't make it any less exciting.

At a glance, you might think it shares very little with the electric car that shares its name. You may even expect there to be a gasoline engine screaming away beneath its dramatic body.

In reality, it's heavily based on its production namesake, albeit lighter, leaner and meaner.

It's symbolic, too. It shows traditional gearheads that electric cars don't have to be boring or slow, and it shows electric car fans that more exciting vehicles could be on the way--and that carmakers want to build them.

The video above (via Motor Authority) shows the Nismo silently circulating its natural environment, the circuit--though without fellow electric racers to compete with, Nissan's footage does seem a bit hollow.

Perhaps, when the Formula E series arrives, even more companies will get behind electric motorsport, and other series will develop to support it.

Nissan's motorsport director Darren Cox accepts that there's a perception among some people that electric cars are less interesting than their fossil-fueled, noisier counterparts--but he, along with Nissan, believes that there is potential for the eventual acceptance of electric cars in performance circles.

It might be a while before we see an electric NASCAR race, with hundreds of miles to complete, but the Nismo's 20-minute running time under race conditions--from a bank of batteries similar to that in the road car--could be enough for smaller touring car series--even to compete against gasoline vehicles.

A top speed of 93 mph and a 0-60 mph time is a way off the pace of more traditional race cars (not to mention road cars like the Tesla Model S), but it certainly has potential.

What we really want is to see the car truly competing. You may say there are bigger fish to fry than racing electric cars, but if the mantra "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" works for internal combustion vehicles, it could work here too.

Does the Nismo RC have an immediate future? That's uncertain. But a vehicle of its ilk may well do, with the right backing behind it.

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