Nissan Leaf backs into speed record, Linschoten leads in turn-ons

Nissan Leaf at speed in reverse

Comin’ at ya, Nissan Leaf speeds towards record in reverse

Sammy Hagar famously sang, “I can’t drive 55.” We don’t know how well Terry Grant can sing, but we do know that Grant can indeed drive 55, and not only can he, he did in a Nissan Leaf in reverse.

As we reported recently, professional stunt driver Terry Grant was to attempt to set a new record—we’re not sure what the old one was—for driving backward for a distance of one mile. He succeeded, setting a new high speed record on Friday (June 29) and then breaking it four times, winding up with a time up the famous Goodwood hillclimb course at the weekend’s Festival of Speed in 1 minute and 37.02 seconds for an average speed of 88.5km/h, or 55 mph.

Said Grant in a statement via Nissan, “I had a great car at my disposal – with direct drive from the electric motor to its wheels, the Nissan LEAF can, in theory, go as fast backwards as it can forwards. There were times I wasn’t sure I was coming or going. However, thanks to the LEAF’s low center of gravity – the batteries are an integral part of the car’s floor – the car is extremely stable, no matter which direction it’s traveling. The only complaint I have is slight neck ache from constantly looking over my shoulder!”

The stunt, of course, had more to it than just proving that an electric motor will spin just as fast one way as the other. The “LEAF Reverse Record” is part of a social media-driven campaign by Nissan. Dubbed “The Big Turn On,” the campaign was to “(spread) the EV message across Europe using social media channels and aimed to get one million consumers “switched onto electric driving.”

Being turned on was to have voted for a  particular city to receive on Nissan’s Big Turn On website , Nissan equipping the winning city with rapid charging stations for electric cars. Each click of the Turn On button registers a Turn On. A million clicks goal was achieved on June 21, 15 days ahead of the original target.

The contest is still on, with Linschoten, in the Netherlands, leading with 162,612 turn-ons, more than double second place, Berlin. But as they say in Chicago, “vote early and vote often.” Linschoten needs your help.