Electric racing cars: the sound of the 21st century?

If the Tesla Model S, BMW i3 and McLaren P1 aren‘t enough, then maybe the 2014 Le Mans car announced by Nissan will finally make electric cars cool.

The Nismo Nissan Leaf all electric racing concept car at Goodwood 2012.

The Nismo Nissan Leaf all electric racing concept car at Goodwood 2012.

The motor sport community is in thrilled shock at Nissan’s announcement. In fact it was perfectly predictable. We predicted it (sort of…). Both Nissan and its partner Renault have bet the house on electric cars. Nissan demonstrated bold thinking last year with the Le Mans DeltaWing project, and ran a Nismo Leaf electric racer at Goodwood last year.

The Formula E racing car at the launch of the Rome race, coming in 2014.

The Formula E racing car at the launch of the Rome race, coming in 2014.

Meanwhile the wider electric racing car industry has been gaining momentum. Also starting in 2014 will be the Formula E electric racing car series, sanctioned by the FIA, with the power train supplied by McLaren. Ten races in ten cities, including Rome and Rio de Janeiro. Drivers will have two cars each, switching at a pit stop to complete the race distance.

Lord Drayson's B12 has impressed in testing but his team will run single seaters in Formula E in 2014.

Lord Drayson’s B12 has impressed in testing but his team will run single seaters in Formula E in 2014.

If Formula E fudges the range issue, then the lack of an ear-splitting scream from a highly tuned racing engine is said to be less of a disadvantage. Lord Drayson, whose company has been developing an electric sports car of its own, calls them ‘the sound of the 21st century’. See and hear the car in action here. Drayson Racing has also entered a team in Formula E.

Quimera RR's all electric 700bhp racing prototype

Quimera RR’s all electric 700bhp racing prototype AEGT

Most intriguing of all though is Quimera Responsible Racing. The Barcelona based company has several alternative fuel racing cars under development, from pure electric to hydrogen. It was them tweeting (@QuimeraRR) pictures of the DeltaWing last week – with hints about the car’s ‘exciting future’ – which alerted us to the possibility that Nissan could unveil an electric racer.

Even better, Quimera spent this weekend at the McLaren factory. What could that have been about?

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