The drive towards greater electrification has been the charge -pun intended- of Nissan in the last decade. They already have the best selling battery electric vehicle (BEV) nameplate in the world in the Leaf which has been in its second generation since 2017. There are more electrified vehicles on the way with EV models as well as e-Power vehicles from Nissan.
One thing, however, remains unclear: will we see an electric Nissan GT-R?
Now we can answer it: at least one exists.
According to a source within Nissan, the company already has a GT-R prototype that swapped out its turbocharged V6 in favor of pure electric power. Now while it's no secret that Nissan's drive for electrification is very strong, this is the first kind of affirmative information from a reliable contact that Nissan is not only working on an electric GT-R, but at least one prototype actually exists.
Here's the interesting bit: Nissan's e-GT-R has upwards of 1200 horsepower from its electric motor (or motors) and batteries. We weren't told of the specific torque outputs, but we expect it to be somewhere around that mark (in terms of foot-pounds). And in true electric car form, max torque should (more or less) be fully available at 0 rpm.
We were told that the secret vehicle has been undergoing testing since around 2014, and given that it has been five years, we are not aware of any actual spy shots of the electric GT-R leaking to the public. The reason is that Nissan is being very secretive about it and supposedly only testing it on their private test tracks in Japan; no Nurburgring tests or on other public access race tracks.
Now we wonder: if a prototype or test bed/mule has existed since 2014, why isn't it in production yet?
The answer is also simple: Nissan has shelved the project.
AutoIndustiya.com was given several reasons why: overall weight, range, and outright brutality. Having a 1200 horsepower electric GT-R means that it would require massive batteries to deliver it, and current battery technology will not make for a GT-R of reasonable weight. The current GT-R is already over 1700 kilograms, and having a battery capacity of 100 kilowatts (at the very least) to power it will be extremely heavy. By comparison and depending on variant, the Nissan Leaf has a battery capacity from 40 to 62 kilowatts. We were told that an eGT-R would tip the scales at well over 2000 kilos.
Constrained by weight, the eGT-R will also have a very limited range. No numbers were given, but being that it will be tuned for power rather than range, we don't expect a realistic range beyond 200 kilometers per full charge.
The third and final reason is perhaps the most interesting. The narration to us was that the outright acceleration from the eGT-R was so brutal that the test driver himself commented that Nissan shouldn't sell the vehicle unless it came with a whiplash-preventing HANS device. That's about as frank as a race driver can get.