Nissan's new Leaf Nismo RC is a meaner green machine

More power and all-wheel drive kick the Leaf race car up a couple of notches.

Jon Wong Former editor for CNET Cars
Jon Wong was a reviews editor for CNET Cars. He test drove and wrote about new cars and oversaw coverage of automotive accessories and garage gear. In his spare time, he enjoys track days, caring for his fleet of old Japanese cars and searching for the next one to add to his garage.
Jon Wong

Following the debut of a second-generation Leaf road car, Nissan has revealed a new iteration of the race car loosely based on the EV. Built by Nissan's in-house Nismo motorsports division, the 2018 Nissan Leaf Nismo RC is more powerful and features some new tricks to become an even more serious track terror.

2018 Nissan Leaf Nismo RC in one fast electric ride

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The original Leaf Nismo RC that debuted in 2011 with rear-wheel drive and 107 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque coming from its single electric motor. The 2018 car now features a motor on both the front and rear axle for all-wheel drive that combine to punch out roughly 322 horsepower and muscular 472 pound-feet of twist. Proving juice is a high-capacity lithium-ion battery pack mounted in the mid-ship position of the car.

Nissan says the 2,690-pound carbon fiber monocoque racer is capable of hitting 62 mph in just 3.4 seconds to be 50 percent quicker than the previous car.

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An adjustable rear wing enables engineers to tinker with the Leaf Nismo RC's aero.


Dimensionally, the new Leaf Nismo RC is slightly longer than its predecessor remaining instantly recognizable as a Nissan with the company's hallmark V-motion grille up front. Out back, an adjustable rear wing lets engineers tinker with downforce needs depending on track requirements.

Current plans for Nissan to construct six new Leaf Nismo RCs to be shipped out around the world for demonstrations and to likely support its new Formula E efforts.

Watch this: 2018 Nissan Leaf: Return of the affordable EV king