For those who feel the all-electric Nissan Leaf is a car they wouldn’t be caught dead in because it looks too geeky, the automaker seems to have heard you in some round about fashion. Its answer to this was unveiled ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show in the form of the eye bulging BladeGlider concept.
Described by Nissan as both the future direction of its electric vehicles and an exploratory prototype of its ZEOD RC, the BladeGlider sports a “a deltoid-shape vehicle with a narrow front track that challenges the orthodoxy that has dominated the roads since the earliest days of the internal combustion engine.” It has
conceptual roots in the soaring, silent, panoramic freedom of a glider and the triangular shape of a high performance “swept wing” aircraft, looking to achieve low drag while generating road-hugging downforce.
The 1.0-meter lightweight front track, in conjunction with the wider, stable rear track, helps to reduce drag and enhance “maneuverability for high G cornering power, assisted by a 30/70 front/rear weight distribution ratio.” Also, aerodynamic downforce, said those behind it, “is created by the highly rigid yet lightweight carbon-fiber underbody, hence the lack of drag-inducing wings.”
With these ideas in mind, it is given the vehicle should be lightweight but strong. To that end its body “comprises a tough and structurally-optimized chassis wrapped in ultra-lightweight, yet strong and stiff, carbon fiber reinforced plastic.” Inside its canopy, meanwhile, “the cockpit seats three in a triangular configuration with the driver center-forward. Seating appointments feature special light and comfortable coverings with yellow fluorescent lines.”
While it is not entirely clear that what the BladeGlider is shaped as now will actually enter production, the way Nissan is talking you can expect something akin to it on “the roads of the not-so-distant future.” When whatever comes out of it does actually see mass build-out, it could be the automaker’s first use of in-wheel motors. These motors provide rear-wheel propulsion with independent motor management, and would be powered by lithium-ion battery technology that’s appeared previously in the Leaf.