Nissan Adds Next Generation Range Extender To ZEOD RC

JAN 27 2014 BY JAY COLE 8

Nissan ZEOD RC Gets A Serious Range Extender - 88lbs, 400 hp

Nissan ZEOD RC Gets A Serious Range Extender – 88lbs, 400 hp

Later this year in June, Nissan plans to take its ZEOD RC to Le Mans.  And as part of that, race the company says it will be “the first entry at Le Mans to complete a lap of the Circuit de la Sarthe under nothing but electric power.”

400 hp of Suitcase-Sized Power

400 hp of Suitcase-Sized Power

But what happens after that is fairly impressive too, as Nissan’s new DIG-T R 1.5 litre three-cylinder turbo engine picks up the extended range duties.  (You can find some nifty 360 degree imaging of the engine here)

What makes this engine special?  Two numbers jump out at us:

  • 400 hp
  • weighs 40 kg (88lbs)

“The incredibly small engine weighs only 40 kilograms (88 pounds) but produces an astonishing 400hp. The base engine is only 500mm tall x 400mm long x 200mm wide (19.68″ x 15.74″ x 7.78″). While the engine is technically too heavy to take as carry-on luggage on a plane – it would easily fit inside the luggage guides seen at major airports around the world.”

Nissan also says that the engine puts out  380Nm of torque, meaning that per kg their engine has a “better power-to-weight ratio than the new engines to be used in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship this year.”

“Our engine team has done a truly remarkable job with the internal combustion engine,” said Darren Cox, Nissan’s Global Motorsport Director.  “We knew the electric component of the Nissan ZEOD RC was certainly going to turn heads at Le Mans but our combined zero emission on-demand electric/petrol power plant is quite a stunning piece of engineering.”

Nissan adds that the ZEOD RC will undergo an extensive test program over the next four months ahead of its race debut at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours on June 14-15.

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8 Comments on "Nissan Adds Next Generation Range Extender To ZEOD RC"

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This range extender seems like a great seed to plant in
engineer’s minds as a target to replace current range extenders.

This news opens up many more questions as to how much
it would cost to replicate a similar genset at consumer- affordable
prices…say no titanium or smaller turbo – and not balanced
and blueprinted.

What percent of the race will this range extender run? It seems
most of the race thus the whole zero emissions PR seems
moot.

The seed has already been planted. The original Volt concept had a turbo 3 as the Range Extender. Now GM has a new line of engines called SGE (small gas engine). This turbo 3 of GM’s is all aluminum, has an integrated exhaust header and a low inertia turbo charger…..very advanced. It will most likely be in the Gen 2 Volt offering an almost 100 pound decrease in weight, smaller size (fits in a suitcase ) and 20% better fuel consumption.

A real test will be to see if this racecar can survive the length of
the race, or any race.

To me, the big inherent flaw of this car is that other drivers will
always boot it off the track due to it’s shape. The car in it’s
ICE form has shown that other drivers accustomed to
conventionally-shaped opponents cut the ZEOD off in corners
and passing. Look at the headlights, how is an opponent
supposed to know where the nose of the ZEOD is?

This is why I believe the ZEOD will fail until/unless it races
in it’s own series where all drivers are on the same page as
to dynamics of car placement in close-quarters competition.

Sad, because the development of these types of drivetrains
A is so important.

My prediction is this car will not finish the race – not due to
mechanicals but to collision from another car.

It’s a shame, too, because the car is so cool. The low drag
and high tech involved in enabling this shape is awe-inspiring.

Racing gods, are you listening? Give this car type it’s own racing
series.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

A Miller-cycle version of that with an electric turbocharger (that can turn excess exhaust pressure into electricity, and can spool up electrically for zero lag) could get what kind of efficiencies? If it could get 16kWh out of a gallon of gas at 100kW that would be a helluva range extender.

At 400 hp it is adapted to this race car, but it is way out of target for a Nissan Leaf range extender option application. On the technical side, one could at first say that it is great to have engineers at last working seriously on range extenders, but at second the result is not even close to expectation. We are still in the old fashion crank and shaft world instead of the Direct Free Piston Generator world. That is to bad because the DFPG has as much a leap on crank and shaft generators as transistor electronics had on lamp based radios. There is just no comparison in terms of performance, yield and flexibility. The DFPG can generate electricity directly from the piston movement. There are no losses to the friction of the crank and shaft on the air and oil. The DFPG is also able to run, with adequate control, on detonation cycles instead of combustion. Last but not least, if a vapor cycle is added to a DFPG it can cool the engine from the Inside, thereby bringing its temperature down enough to even allow the complete removal of the cooling circuit. That also increase the yield… Read more »

A Free PIston Direct Generator would be much more advanced that an old fashion crank and shaft based generator, but at least they are working on what could lead to a range extender option for the Nissan Leaf when one need to go further then 100 miles.

Here are some info on a DFPG:

http://www.pempek.com.au/SpecialProjects.aspx
http://www.dlr.de/dlr/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-10081/151_read-6318/year-all/151_page-2/#gallery/8873

I doubt that engine will last long without a rebuild. It’s rebuilt after every race right?