Sports car manufacturers may not be too concerned about fuel economy or environmental issues, but they do like the torque that comes with electrification, which is why vehicles like the Porsche 918 Spyder, the McLaren F1 and BMW’s i8 have all or partial electrical assist.
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (TYO:7201) has joined the fray, saying future versions of its GT-R sports car will have a hybrid powertrain to boost performance — and, yeah, also offer lower emissions than its current 3.8 liter V8 GT-R that churns out 542 horsepower and meets 60 mph in 2.9 seconds.
Here’s what Andy Palmer told Britain’s Autocar last week:
“There is an inevitability about electrification of all cars in the future, and there is the very real prospect of enhancements coming from this and ending up on a sports car like the Nissan GT-R … The electric systems can fill in the gaps in the torque curve and offer genuine performance gains, as well as lowering emissions. It’s win-win, and I’d expect to see some form of hybridization on the next generation of car.”
The 2014 GT-R gets 16 miles per gallon in the city, so makers of high-performance street racers can only brag about only slightly less dismal fuel economy of this segment. The real reason automakers are putting electric motors into their supercars is because electrically assisted drivetrains have superior power-to-weight ratios that provide superior torque over the total speed range.
Electric motors utilize their full torque from 0 rpms, or revolutions per minutes, unlike gasoline-powered engines that have to “rev” up to a certain rpm and then lose some torque through gear changes – that moment between shifts where the car decelerates doesn’t exist in elective drive trains.
Fans of car that invite aggressive driving are more likely piqued by the performance enhancement of electrical assist than they are about whether they squeeze out some extra miles per gallon. Nissan wants to stay in the game of high-performance, and it looks like electrification is here to stay.
Palmer also said the laptime trials of the 2015 GT-R Nismo will be revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show , which begins Nov. 22.