Last June, renderings of the Nissan JUKE Rally Tribute Concept were unveiled to celebrate Nissan's 50th anniversary in the Safari Rally. Today, this model has taken shape.
Nissan JUKE Hybrid Rally Tribute Tribute
The JUKE Hybrid Rally Tribute has gone from drawing board to roadworthy vehicle. The unique replica was created in response to the overwhelmingly positive feedback that the original concept sketches generated. The presentation of the car follows the European premiere of the Nissan JUKE Hybrid, which is scheduled for this summer. Under the hood of the prototype was a hybrid power unit from the production version.
The decision to build the JUKE Hybrid Rally Tribute is explained by Corali Musi, AMIEO VP Brand & Customer Experience:
“The JUKE Hybrid Rally Tribute represents our optimism and out-of-the-box thinking. We are currently gearing up for an exciting new chapter in the history of the JUKE because we are launching a new hybrid variant this summer. Not only will the model deliver improved performance and efficiency, it will also provide customers with the excitement and agility they expect from our iconic crossover. The JUKE Hybrid Rally Tribute shows just how much fun hybrid driving can be.”
Advanced hybrid powertrain
The use of the new Nissan JUKE Hybrid powertrain in the prototype highlights both the increased performance of the production version, as well as its improved energy efficiency and lower emissions.
The powertrain uses Nissan's next-generation advanced internal combustion engine, designed specifically for hybrid operation. It develops 69 kW (94 hp) and delivers 148 Nm of torque.
The main electric motor is responsible for the electric drive with a power of 36 kW (49 hp) and a torque of 205 Nm. A high-voltage generator-starter with a capacity of 15 kilowatts is also used, and a liquid-cooled battery with a capacity of 1.2 kWh serves as an energy source. The team develops 25 % more power than the model's current gasoline engine and boasts lower fuel consumption of up to about 40 % in the city cycle and up to 20 % in the combined cycle (data pending approval).
Intelligent automatic transmission
An advanced friction-reduced multi-mode transmission is also an important part of the production Nissan JUKE Hybrid driving experience. It allows you to optimally use the power of an electric motor, an internal combustion engine, or both.
To reduce friction in the motorsports-inspired gearbox, clutches were used instead of conventional synchromesh to shift between four combustion-driven gears and two electrically-driven gears. Eliminating the traditional clutch serves the same purpose. The car always starts in electric mode. Two electric motors synchronize gear shifting and provide smooth, stable and fast acceleration.
The transmission is controlled by an extensive algorithm that manages gear shifting, battery charging and an advanced series-parallel system. The powertrain can seamlessly switch between the different operating modes of the hybrid system (series, parallel, or series-parallel) depending on acceleration and power requirements without driver input.
Modifications inspired by rally car solutions
As with the Gripz concept car unveiled at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, before the introduction of the second generation of JUKE, this time also uses stylistic motifs inspired by the iconic Datsun 240Z that raced in the desert rally half a century ago.
The most noticeable modification was the enlarged wheel arches, under which special off-road tires were to fit. Additional lights on the hood and roof are reminiscent of similar elements from 50 years ago.
The black hood and wheels in the same color are visually reminiscent of the 1971 Safari Rally model. Period sponsor logos and the number 11 also refer to the rally 240Z, as do additional covers under the front and rear bumpers to protect the car's undercarriage. The heavy-duty long-travel suspension not only gives the Juke Hybrid Rally Tribute exceptional stability, but also helps it maneuver through the rough terrain it was designed for. Tires in size 265/70 R16 provide phenomenal grip even in the toughest conditions.
The cabin has a roll cage that strengthens the structure and provides protection in the event of an accident when driving at high speed on desert terrain. The rear seats are replaced by additional spare wheels, and four-point seat belts effectively keep the driver and pilot in their places.
Other interior modifications include a fire extinguisher required in a rally car, an intercom with headphones to facilitate communication between driver and pilot, an Alcantara-covered steering wheel and a long and comfortable hydraulic handbrake lever.
“As part of the electrification offering, Nissan will introduce an exceptionally large number of new electrified powertrains and models this year. In addition to the new JUKE Hybrid, it will also feature Nissan Qashqai's innovative e-POWER transmission. We are already accepting orders for the new Ariya flagship electric crossover. A little later, but also this year, sales of the Nissan Townstar electric delivery van will begin. We will also introduce a completely new generation X-Trail crossover in the second half of the year,” said Coralie Musi.
As part of the Juke Hybrid Rally Tribute project, the car's powertrain uses e-liquids and biofuels provided by partner Nissan at the Safari Rally in 1971, in keeping with the concept of bringing enjoyment to the sport with an environmentally friendly approach.
Nissan in rally safari
In 1971, Edgar Herrmann, piloted by Hans Schüller, drove the legendary Datsun 240Z which won the extremely demanding Safari Rally. The rally was Nissan's undisputed success, with the 240Z finishing second and seventh respectively. Moreover, it was the brand's second consecutive victory in this rally.
The rear-wheel drive, low-bed 240Z was powered by a 210-hp 2.4-liter inline-six engine. The winning car was restored in 2013. It is now part of the Nissan Automotive Heritage Collection, located in Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, near the brand's headquarters.