Electric cars may not be all that fast going forward but one green energy car has managed to become the fastest car going backwards.
The Nissan Leaf raced backwards up the Goodwood hillclimb course at the weekend’s Festival of Speed. It was driven by professional stunt driver Terry Grant. The car covered a distance of 1m 37.02s at an average speed of 55 mph.
Having set the record on Friday, Grant went racing again on Saturday and Sunday, shaving another 26 seconds off his previous time.
“I had a great car at my disposal,” said Grant, “with direct drive from the electric motor to its wheels, the Nissan LEAF can, in theory, go as fast backwards as it can forwards. There were times I wasn’t sure I was coming or going. However, thanks to the LEAF’s low centre of gravity, the car is extremely stable, no matter which direction it’s travelling.”
“The only complaint I have is slight neck ache from constantly looking over my shoulder!”
Whereas normal cars have many gears, the Nissan Leaf has only a single-speed reduction gear. There is no need to shift and there is no reverse gear. The electric motor merely reverses direction. This means that car can go as fast backwards as it does forwards. The car also had its rev limiter removed.
The record attempt was part of Nissan’s wider social media-driven campaign called The Big Turn On, which aims to raise awareness and interest in electric cars.
As well as the reverse record in the road-going LEAF, Nissan also set a hill record for an electric vehicle (forwards), with FIA GT1 world champion Michael Krumm setting a time of 60.18sec in the race-prepared Nissan LEAF NISMO RC.