News that the legendary Nissan GT-R will return as a fully blown electric car is raising eyebrows in motoring circles. The company that launched the world’s first mass produced electric vehicle—the Leaf—back in 2011, has a point to prove. Expected to rival the likes of the Porsche Taycan, Audi e-tron GT, or even the 1000-hp plus Tesla Model S Plaid and Lucid Air Dream, the all-new GT-R EV is rumored to employ a 1,000-kW battery pack that translates into 1,340-hp. And according to a report in Japan, development of the battery electric supercar is being led by Nissan North America.
The GT-R (R-35) was a game-changer when it surfaced in 2007. It was quicker than the Porsche 911 Turbo around Germany’s famed Nurburgring race track, and had a launch control that allowed anyone to jump from zero to 60mph in under 3 seconds. Top Gear’s James May once said of the GT-R, “It’s literally the most amazing car in the world.”
Over the last 15 years, the GT-R has gone through many revisions, with its most significant upgrades being a totally new front end, a boost in power from 480-hp to 565-hp and a price hike from the original’s $69,850 to $113,540 for a 2021 year model. Sales of the current model are expected to end in the fall of 2022.
But, to be honest, the GT-R is getting old in the tooth. There’s not much more that Nissan can do to improve the car, make it more desirable or keep it relevant. Plus, it goes without saying that the GT-R’s V6 twin-turbo gasoline engine will soon not meet many of the stringent emissions regulations being introduced globally. There were rumors of a hybrid version, but according to Japan’s biggest-selling car magazine Best Car, the only real answer was electric. Full electric.
According to reports, Nissan R&D has bought a few Porsche Taycan Turbo S models and have taken them apart with a fine tooth comb as they endeavor to create a supercar to rival the German thoroughbred.
The Taycan employs a 93.4-kWh Korean-made LG branded lithium-ion battery pack that develops 625-hp and 761-hp on overboost. It sprints from zero to 60-mph in 2.8 seconds, boasts a real world range of around 300-miles and has a top speed of 155-mph. The 1,006-hp Model S Plaid however boasts the world’s quickest 0-60mph sprint time of 2.3 seconds, with a 2.01 second result on a sticky drag strip.
But to reach that claimed power figure of 1,340-hp, today’s lithium-ion batteries won’t cut it. A new higher output all solid-state battery will have to be developed and employed to generate power rivaling the Tesla Model S Plaid.
Nissan showed its resolve in April this year when the firm announced its acquisition of the Le Mans-based e.dams race team with the Japanese carmaker taking full ownership of the all-electric e.dams Formula E team. Nissan entered Formula E back in 2018 in partnership with e.dams, capturing the first three Team’s titles and helping Sebastien Buemi win the 2015/16 drivers’ championship.
Nissan wants to utilize its racing program to feedback its racing electric motor and battery technology to the new GT-R. Incorporating part of that Formula E team and knowhow in the next-gen GTR’s R&D schedule is a must as is picking apart the Taycan. According to the Best Car report, Nissan engineers are impressed with the Taycan’s extremely low center of gravity, as well as its active suspension, dynamic chassis control, rear-wheel steering and two-speed transmission.
One source says that if Nissan builds a new electric GT-R then it will want to set records for acceleration and Nurburgring lap times, like it did with the original GT-R since 2007. So it will aim to beat the Taycan’s lap time of 7 minutes 42c seconds and the Model 3 Plaid’s electric car record time of 7 minutes 30 seconds. However, it still has a long way to go to outdo the current fastest lap of 6 minutes 38 seconds set by the Porsche 911 GT2 RS. According to the Best Car report, making that record possible for a heavy electric car will be lightweight, next generation all solid-state battery technology that promises to approach the 911’s time.
As far as the GT-R’s design goes, one source tells us that while the car will inherit some design hints from the Nissan 2020 Vision Gran Turismo concept you see here, it will most likely appear in four-door form.
But we will not see the next GT-R or a new lap record anytime soon as Nissan doesn’t plan to launch the new electric version until 2028 when it expects the new solid state batteries to come on line.