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Pivo 3 points to coming Smart rival

Smart thinking: Nissan is likely to benefit from alliance partner Renault's EV collaboration with Daimler.

Nissan gets serious as squarer Pivo concept edges towards a production EV city car

12 Dec 2011

NISSAN has confirmed that the Pivo 3 concept car shown at the recent Tokyo motor show is a step closer to its planned city car, which is due within the next five years.

Abandoning the unique pivoting body that defined the previous two show cars of the same name, the third iteration again points to zero emissions mobility but within feasible technical, design and packaging boundaries.

The changes include more angular lines that help with practicality as well as public acceptance while still conveying a sense of Japanese design.

It is unknown whether the production version will share any parts with the next-generation Smart ForTwo, which is now under development alongside the Twingo III as part of Daimler’s two-year collaboration with Nissan alliance partner Renault.

However, one senior Nissan official told GoAuto at the Tokyo show earlier this month that it is not unreasonable to expect the Japanese city car will share some mechanical and/or drivetrain components in the interests of cost-cutting and economies of scale.

12 center imageUnlike the Smart and Twingo, the production Pivo is believed to be an electric-only proposition.

It will join 50 other all-new or completely redesigned models Nissan will launch over the next five years.

Part of what makes the show car compelling is a McLaren F1-style 1+2 seat layout (with the driver located in a centralised position), its Toyota iQ-beating sub-three-metre total length and in-wheel electric motors that help liberate interior space and aid agility.

Whether the retention of 90-degree four-wheel steering (for an astonishing four-metre turning circle) is part of the Pivo production plan is unknown, but Nissan suggested that its decades of experience beginning with 4WS models in the 1980s could make such city-friendly features work thanks to advanced electronics.

Other Pivo 3 concept features less likely to see the light of day are its Automated Valet Parking tech (which employs upcoming interconnectivity and infrastructure to park, recharge and return the car its astonished driver), a ‘Robotic Agent interface’ (which acts as a partner or personal assistant by ‘speaking’ relevant data to the driver) and rear-view monitors instead of mirrors.

The original Pivo concept debuted in 2005 as a pure flight of fancy, with its radical ‘sphere on a skateboard’ styling and a cabin that could rotate 180 degrees to assist with parking in tight urban areas.

A thematically similar show car followed in 2007.

While the latest version brings Nissan’s EV concept count to eight, the company says Pivo 3 has been designed to be “a more realistic EV of the near future”.

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