Nissan to bring electric all-wheel drive to Formula E and to the moon
At the end of November, Nissan unveiled a new strategic plan, Ambition 2030, which promises 15 new production electric vehicles and eight hybrid models. But in fact, there will be even more “electric trains", because the Japanese plan to use their e-4orce power plants not only on cars, but also in motorsport and even in space. The test is a new car for the official Formula E team and a lunar rover developed in collaboration with the Japanese Roscosmos JAXA.
The Nissan Ariya Single Seater racing car is still presented as a concept car and nothing specific about its filling is reported, so the relationship with the Ariya electric road crossover comes down to the name and a few design details. However, when you remember that just a few days ago the FIA presented the concept of a new technical regulation for the "electric formula" for the 2023 season, it is clear that the transfer of Nissan technology from cars to racing could be very serious and wider than before.
First of all, the new Formula E will be all-wheel drive. Today’s regulations call for a single engine and rear wheel drive. At the same time, the chassis, battery and tires are the same for all teams, and the motor-generator is its own concept. In the next regulation, the degree of unification will not change much, the French company SRT (Spark Racing Technology) will remain the chassis supplier. The batteries will be supplied by Williams Advanced Engineering instead of McLaren and the battery should now weigh 26% less (284kg maximum) and allow fast charging during the race. But motor-generators will appear on both axles: the front unified (production service station) for 250 kW (340 hp) and the rear own design for 350 kW (476 hp).
Of course, Nissan will be able to apply its electric all-wheel drive know-how to the new car, as was done on the Ariya crossover with the e-4orce system. Recall that the serial Aria has both front-wheel drive (from 218 to 242 hp) and all-wheel drive versions with two electric motors with a total power of 279 to 394 hp.
curiously, all-wheel drive on the new Formula E has led to the abandonment of rear mechanical brakes – according to the 2023 regulation, traditional brakes will remain only the front, and slowing the rear wheels will provide an exclusively regenerative mode of the motor-generator.
The new cars will start coming to teams for testing in the spring, but Formula E will spend the entire racing season in 2022 on old-fashioned cars. The performance of the Nissan e.dams team in the cars of the current configuration can hardly be called successful: in the season that ended this summer, they took 10th place among 12 teams, although previously they were both individual and team runners up. Racing Aria should help rectify the situation.
But Nissan’s lunar rover won’t be on the rails until 2024. He also has four-wheel drive, but not with two, but with four engines: one for each wheel. Such a vehicle could take part in the US-led Artemis lunar project, which JAXA joined at the end of 2019. The first landing was scheduled for 2024, and Japan’s role in this project was to develop a lunar vehicle capable of traveling reliably over difficult terrain.
Interestingly, in 2019, JAXA planned to develop a lunar rover in collaboration with Toyota, which is why a sketch of a six-wheeled manned hydrogen transporter was even released, which, of course, was called the Lunar Cruiser. However, in 2020, Nissan also participated in the development of JAXA, and as a result, the unmanned four-wheeled all-terrain vehicle will wear the Nissan badge and its four-wheel drive will be controlled by an e-4orce system similar to the one used by the Aria.