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 |  Apr 21 2011, 8:28 PM

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Unveiled at the New York Auto Show the Nissan Leaf NISMO RC is an electric race car concept based loosely on the world’s first mass-produced EV. Sitting over a foot lower and using a chassis made of carbon fiber, there wouldn’t at first seem to be much similar between the two vehicles – although the headlights and taillights do share some of the same design cues.

Build by Nissan’s NISMO racing division the car does, however, make use of an electric drivetrain similar to the one found in the production Leaf with a 80 kW electric motor that produces 107-hp and 207 lb-ft of torque, enabling a 0-62 mph time of 6.85 seconds due to a curb weight of just over 2,000 lbs. Nissan claims it can be recharged up to 80 percent in just 30 minutes and can run for 20 minutes at a time.

More than just a shiny auto show token, the car looks race ready and Nissan claims it is considering setting up a NISMO RC spec racing series to prove just how serious it is about electric car cars.

 |  Apr 20 2011, 10:41 AM

NISMO Leaf RC 09.JPG

The RC in Nissan Leaf NISMO RC stands for “Race Competition.” It is not a RadioShack product. And the electric Leaf has been fettled by Nissan’s motorsport division NISMO to do battle on the track.

Doing battle against…we don’t know yet. The Leaf RC is an engineer’s lab experiment, a “rolling laboratory” for the mainstream development of electric vehicle technology, and a way to determine whether electric vehicles can splash in the same currents as gasoline vehicles in the world of motorsports. Nissan is examining the idea of a spec race series for the Leaf RC, and will be gauging reactions at motorsports events around the world.

On top of the regular Leaf, the RC gets a carbon-fiber chassis that shaves 40 percent off the stock weight, for a total of 2,068lbs. The dramatic coupe styling gets lengthened by 0.8 inches and widened by 6.7 inches, while being over a foot shorter. The electric motor produces 107 horsepower and an Earth-twisting 207 lb-ft of torque, with 80kw.

The result? A 0-60 time of 6.9 seconds. Nissan claims that the RC can be recharged up to 80% in just 30 minutes, and can run for 20 minutes at a time. It’s not a 30-second NASCAR pitstop, but the RCshows the Leaf’s potential to be more than a quiet commuter pod.

GALLERY: Nissan Leaf NISMO RC

NISMO Leaf RC 14.JPGNISMO Leaf RC 08.JPGNISMO Leaf RC 10.JPGNISMO Leaf RC 02.JPGNISMO Leaf RC 03.JPGNISMO Leaf RC 13.JPG