The first-generation Nissan Leaf isn’t known for its exciting driving characteristics, but rather for being a sensible all-electric hatchback with a less-than-stellar driving range.
So what do you do when you get your hands on a used first-gen Leaf that has severe battery degradation, but you’re an engineer by trade and like the occasional track day? Well, the video embedded above, published on the YouTube channel SupefastMatt, offers the answer to that question, with a pretty impressive home-made, Kawasaki-powered, dual-motor hybrid Nissan Leaf.
That’s a mouthful, for sure, but the car itself is very possibly unique and might as well offer a solution for all the internal combustion engine enthusiasts out there that will have to transition to an EV sooner or later.
Parts from several vehicles were used, including the rear subframe from a Lexus IS350, front brake calipers from a Nissan 370Z and rotors from a Ford Mustang, and, of course, the engine out of a Kawasaki ZX10R, which can rev up to 13,000 rpm and custom fitted into the trunk of the Leaf via some custom brackets and modified CV joints.
The result is a car that can go in either full-electric mode or dual-motor mode, with the owner, Derek Young, coming up with a device that can blend the two power sources depending on what he wants at a given moment. So when he needs to go to the shops, the car can drive in EV mode with the Kawasaki engine shut off (and in neutral), and when he wants to feel a rush of adrenaline, he can just bump start the motorcycle engine, just like a Le Mans hybrid prototype racer.
The YouTuber who made this video, SuperfastMatt, goes on to say that Derek’s modified Leaf might just be the future of hot rodding, with early EVs like the first-gen Leaf being cheap and readily available on the used market, as well as small and powerful motorcycle engines.
Go ahead and watch the video embedded at the top of this article and let us know what you think in the comments below.