The experimental Nissan ZEOD RC has earned itself a place in the history books by completing the first all-electric lap of Le Mans.
During the warm-up period this morning the hybrid ZEOD RC – Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car – set a lap time of 4m22s with Nissan's Wolfgang Reip, GT Academy 2012 winner, at the wheel.
Yes, that means that it lapped over a minute slower around Circuit de la Sarthe than, say, the Toyota TS040 Hybrid. That would, however, be missing the point; the bigger hybrids, including Audi's R18 e-tron quattro, can't run solely on electric power.
Either way, it was undoubtedly an impressive demonstration of what's possible with hybrid technology – even if, unfortunately, the ZEOD retired not long after the start of the race. Any new technology is prone to the odd teething problem, mind, even more so under racing conditions.
Some may question the ongoing hybridisation and electrification of racing cars though, with concerns about the loss of audible drama, visual fireworks and outright theatre that the primarily internal combustion-based rivals revel in.
Is electrification of a motorsport something to fear, though? Based on my personal experience, no. While there is undoubtedly something very different about electric cars, they do have their own unique appeal.