If you're a loyal follower of the Nissan brand you’ll no doubt be au fait with its performance tuning arm, Nismo. Locally, Nismo kits are available to those who require even more drama with the GT-R driving experience so the last thing one would expect from Nismo is a racing version of the Nissan Leaf batteryc car - yet that's exactly what auto fans can expect at the 2011 New York auto show that will open on April 22. The Nismo RC takes the environmentally minded Leaf’s lithium-ion battery technology to a level of performance that should satisfy fans of fast Nissans - by employing classic Lotus design principles...PERFORMANCE BY LIGHTNESSA thorough redesign sees the carpeting, the sophisticated infotainment system and even the doors sacrificed for performance gains through weight reduction. The production Leaf’s lithium-ion battery pack is bunched to the centre of the RC to optimise weight distribution – of which there is not much as the RC is a (very) substantial 583kg lighter than its production sister. Nismo has crafted a custom composite monocoque for the RC - saving the greatest proportion of the weight. This has allowed it to assemble a competition car that has a 300mm lower roof, is 170mm wider and runs a scant 60mm of ground clearance. It is, essentially, unrecognizable as a Leaf. It has 18-inch alloys (shod with 225/40 Bridgestones of the high grip, not low-rolling, resistance variety) and, fundamentally, has only its Nissan badge in common with the production car. All things considered, the Nismo RC is a very handsome electric-drive competition car. SEVEN-SECONDS TO 100Mechanically, sorry - meant electrically - the Nismo RC runs the same 80kW/280Nm electric motor as the production Leaf. The only significant change is that its inverter has being reconfigured to provide the rear wheels with drive instead of the front axle - as is the case with the Leaf.No significant work was done on the electric motor or battery pack to boost output but performance is keen - 0-100km/h in seven seconds. Don’t expect to see it silently taking the chequered flag though...Nissan commissioned Nismo to build the RC exclusively for demonstration purposes.Racing would drain the battery pack in about 20 minutes.