Nissan Leaf sets record for fastest car to cover a mile in reverse

Article by Anita Panait, on July 4, 2012

Nissan’s electric vehicle, Nissan Leaf, set the record as the fastest car over a measured mile (1.6km) in reverse at the Goodwood Festival of Speed during the weekend. Piloted by professional stunt driver Terry Grant, the Nissan Leaf cruised backwards up the famous Goodwood hillclimb course and covered the distance in just 1 minute 37.02 seconds at an average speed of 55 mph.

The Leaf and Grant made the record books by first setting a record on Friday, June 29, 2012, and then subsequently smashing it on Saturday, June 30, 2012, and Sunday, July 1, 2012. Grant, likewise, set a world record at last year’s Festival of Speed by piloting a Nissan Juke up the hill on two wheels.

With regards to his recent feat, Grant said that he was able to set the record as he had a “great car” at his disposal. He said that in theory, the Nissan Leaf could go as fast backwards as it can forwards, thanks to the direct drive from the electric motor to its wheels.

He also attributed the record to Nissan Leaf’s low centre of gravity, as its batteries are an integral part of the car's floor, making the car extremely stable in any direction.

The Leaf Reverse Record was part of Nissan's social media-driven campaign, “The Big Turn On,” which aimed to convince one million consumers to switch onto electric driving in just 100 days, using social media channels to spread the message. The campaign was a big success, as Nissan was able to achieve one million ‘turn ons' on June 21, 2012, which is 15 days ahead of the original target.

The Nissan Leaf Reverse Record was not the only Nissan events at latest edition the annual Festival of Speed. Also featured was an uphill climb by a Nissan Leaf Nismo RC to hit a record for electric vehicles.

This vehicle was driven by current FIA GT1 world champion Michael Krumm, who also piloted his 540hp GT-R GT1 racer up the hill. Other highlights were the GT-R Track Pack participating in the Supercar Run and a Juke-R -- a GT-R in Juke's clothes -- also gaining the attention of the crowds.

For Nissan, the principle behind the LEAF is that even the smallest of details can lead to significant results. Thus, with the LEAF, the brand decided to deploy the use of a hi-tech IT system that is connected to a global center. Because of this, drivers are able to get access to entertainment, information, and more importantly, support, for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

On the dashboard, a monitor has been placed that shows what the remaining power of the LEAF is. It also displays a choice of the nearest charging stations. In terms of design, the interior reveals the use of bright colors for the trim. As such, it gives the cabin a more stylish and altogether pleasing feel. The dashboard highlights and the illumination of the instrument follow a blue earth color theme.

This is the same theme that was used on the exterior of the introductory model of the LEAF. If you recall, it was named Aqua Globe. On the outside, the defining characteristic of the front area is the upright and sharp V-shaped style. It makes use of long headlights that have light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and that were positioned in an upward and rather slanted manner.

The headlights apply a blue internal reflective style as if to tell the world that it is indeed a special model. While the design is indeed remarkable, the headlights also have a special function. They have been designed in way that they not only split the airflow but also channel them away from the door mirrors.

Owing to this, the LEAF experiences less drag and wind noise. In addition, because the headlights use LEDs, it means that when compared to standard lamps, the ones in the LEAF use 10% less electricity. This helps it achieve that top range autonomy.

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