The team named it after the '80s sci-fi movie Cocoon.
A group of Nissan engineers volunteered for six months to double a standard Leaf’s battery capacity to 48 kilowatt hours, and they’ve already been successful in competing with it. Nissan is certainly no stranger to motorsports, but the Spanish ECOseries prioritizes efficiency rather than speed.
The team ripped out the rear seats, which gave them room to mount a second battery. The members dubbed the creation Cocoon after the energy-filled rounded rocks in the 1985 sci-fi movie. The crew is tight-lipped about the vehicle’s specs, but the extra 24 kWh capacity over a base Leaf increases driving range by 75 percent. The crew now should be able to cover 217 miles (349 kilometres) on a charge, versus 124 miles (200 km) in stock form in the NEDC test.
Engineers at the Nissan Technical Centre in Barcelona, Spain, came up with the project. They formed a group called the Nissan Innovation Team and started spending nights and weekends on the undertaking. Check out the video above to see the higher-capacity Leaf on the track.
The team’s work echoes Nissan’s own endeavor to build a greener Leaf. The next-gen model reportedly uses a 60 kWh battery pack and a range of at least 214 miles (344 km). Expect the new one have a futuristic look like the IDS concept rather than the current model’s rounded design.