Nissan Leaf Attempts Speed Record…Backward!

It could end up being about the most ambitious reverse park you’ve ever seen.

A driver of a Nissan Leaf is going to attempt to set a new world speed record, but in reverse. The all-electric car will travel backward up a 1.16-mile hill climb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the U.K.


image via Nissan

According to Nissan, the car’s direct drive from the electric motor to its wheels should mean that the Leaf can go just as fast backward as traveling forward.

The carmaker says the Leaf is kept very stable at speed because the location of its batteries under the floor of the vehicle gives it low center of gravity, reducing the risk of roll under cornering.

Professional stunt driver Terry Grant will be at the helm for the attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest time over a distance of one mile in reverse. Last year Grant appeared at the Festival of Speed in a Nissan Juke, riding the car up the hill climb on two wheels.

“The Leaf Reverse Record isn’t going to be easy and will be very challenging,” Terry said in a statement. “I’d prefer to do it on a nice straight and level strip of tarmac rather than on Lord March’s drive. The hill not only climbs, but is also full of twists, turns and obstacles.

“It’s a hugely technical test of speed and concentration. Whatever happens, I know I’m going to finish the weekend with a serious crick in my neck!”

The record attempt is part of  a social media-driven campaign by the Japanese car maker called The Big Turn On, which is spreading the EV message across Europe by highlighting the fact that electric vehicles can be fun to drive as well as environmentally friendly.

Paul Willis has been journalist for a decade. Starting out in Northern England, from where he hails, he worked as a reporter on regional papers before graduating to the cut-throat world of London print media. On the way he spent a year as a correspondent in East Africa, writing about election fraud, drought and an Ethiopian version of American Idol. Since moving to America three years ago he has worked as a freelancer, working for and major newspapers in Britain, Australia and North America. He writes on subjects as diverse as travel, media ethics and human evolution. He lives in New York where, in spite of the car fumes and the sometimes eccentric driving habits of the yellow cabs, he rides his bike everywhere.

1 Comment

  • Reply July 4, 2012


    The YTD sales figure for the Leaf is incorrect.  The number given is actually the 2011 sales figure.  Nissan has sold 3,148 Leafs so far in 2012.  GM on the other hand has sold 8,817 Volts, more than twice as many as the Leaf.

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