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Dreaming Of A Nissan Leaf With Double The Range? Well...


Nissan Leaf ECOseries prototype

Nissan Leaf ECOseries prototype

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Do you wish your Nissan Leaf electric car had more range? Nissan has a solution, sort of.

The Japanese car maker's Barcelona Technical Centre built a prototype Leaf with a 48-kilowatt-hour battery pack for a new type of motorsport called ECOseries, according to a report on InsideEVs.

Unlike most racing series, the goal of ECOseries is to achieve maximum efficiency and fuel economy--not fast lap times.

The series is open to any type of road-legal vehicle, and features both track and rally events. Each event is split into two disciplines.

Efficiency rewards the fastest car that uses less than a predetermined amount of energy, while regularity rewards drivers who come closest to matching a preset lap or stage time.

The latter discipline is similar to the regularity time-trial rallies that are already a popular form of amateur motorsport in some countries.

Nissan entered three Leafs in the series. The third car had its 24-kWh lithium-ion battery pack doubled in size for one event, to better compete with a Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-Cell, which boasts a 36-kWh pack designed by Tesla Motors.

The Mercedes won that event, and it's unclear what plans--if any--Nissan has for its experimental 48-kWh prototype.

Nissan's interest in electric car racing is hardly in doubt, though.

Nissan will campaign its electric ZEOD race-car prototype at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June 2014. It will be powered by an electric motor and 1.6-liter gasoline engine, and is built with the radical shape of the DeltaWing racer.

The Nissan Leaf Nismo RC has also made the rounds at various auto shows and racetracks.

That car wasn't built to compete in any specific series, but the Nismo RC does bring a bit of the old "Win On Sunday, Sell On Monday" magic to electric cars.

Perhaps the ECOseries Leaf will do the same.

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