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Nissan unveils all-electric IMk kei car concept

Futuristic Nissan IMk EV city car concept draws on Japanese design, new technology

1 Oct 2019

NISSAN has revealed its latest all-electric concept, the Japan-inspired IMk tallboy hatch, which the brand is hailing as the ultimate urban runabout.


The Japanese car-maker has looked to its home country for inspiration for the IMk, with the exterior design going for a minimalist look to reflect the simplistic nature of Japanese design.


Its aesthetic reflects Nissan’s new design philosophy called Timeless Japanese Futurism, with the bumper, wheels, tyres, windows, tail-lights, roof and high-mount spoiler all inspired by the patterns of mizuhiki, a thin twine made of Japanese rice paper.


The V-Motion ‘shield’, which replaces the typical internal-combustion grille, is designed to give a trellised, woodwork-like impression, while the reddish-copper Akagane paint colour is chosen to pay homage to Japanese artisans who used the metal to create functional works of art.


Measuring 3434mm long, 1512mm wide (excluding the side mirrors) and 1644mm long, the IMk’s diminutive stature places it firmly in the category of the kei car, a particularly popular segment in Japan.


Inside, the IMk continues the minimalist theme with a simple dashboard and bench-style seat upholstered with light tonal materials accented by Akagane-coloured trims elements.


Aside from the start button and shifter, the IMk’s dashboard does without physical controls, while cabin controls are projected through glowing icons embedded into the Akagane trim.


An instrument cluster is embedded into a small, bezel-less display that displays vehicle speed and navigation data, while customised information is communicated via holographic displays.


Wood slats interlocking with the lower door section are a nod to the wood joinery technique of kigumi, while coffee-coloured floor carpeting contrasts with the lighter upper materials to create a cosy, relaxed setting.


No details have been shared on the IMk’s powertrain, other than it is an all-electric unit that draws on Nissan’s expertise in the area, but it will provide the zero-emissions kei car with “powerful EV acceleration”.


Nissan says the IMk will feature new autonomous technologies appropriate for a range of driving situations, ranging from freeways to city streets and parking lots, built off an advanced version of Nissan’s ProPilot 2.0 autonomous technology suite.


One new feature is the ProPilot Remote Park system with valet parking, which allows users to step out of the car in a parking lot while the vehicle looks for a space itself.


Once the user is ready to hit the road again, a tap of a button on a smartphone brings the car back.


Connected features are also included in the IMk, such as linking with a smartphone to authenticate identit, and apply personal settings such as seat position, interior lighting and climate controls.


Nissan executive design director Satoru Tai said the IMk would appeal to a broad range of customers.


“As a small EV for a new era, the Nissan IMk is designed to be at home in sophisticated cityscapes as much as in traditional Japanese towns,” he said.


“The IMk fuses a modern, clean look, driven by its Japanese heritage, with cutting-edge EV technology.


“Unconstrained by conventional concepts of the kei car segment, its design is interwoven with Japanese culture. It’s a luxury small EV that I hope a lot of customers are going to drive.”

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