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Tokyo show: Nissan launches BladeGlider

Lightweight BladeGlider performance EV set to star on Nissan’s stand at Tokyo


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11 Nov 2013

NISSAN has shown-off its aviation-inspired, zero-emissions BladeGlider concept ahead of the three-seat roadster’s debut at Tokyo next week.

The Japanese car-maker is calling the unconventional BladeGlider concept an “exploratory prototype” of a possible production vehicle and is using it to highlight the future of its electric vehicle development.

Inspired by the design of Nissan’s DeltaWing and ZEOD RC racers, the BladeGlider features a narrow, metre-wide front track and a low, flat nose that gradually expands beyond the cabin to a much wider rear track hidden under chunky wheel arches.

The narrow front track is said to reduce drag while generating downforce to enhance the maneuverability and road-holding ability of the vehicle.

The electric motors in the rear-wheel drive BladeGlider use the same lithium-ion batteries found in the Leaf EV and the ZEOD RC.

Nissan has placed the battery modules at the rear of the car for enhanced handling and stability.

Nissan said if the BladeGlider developed into a production car, it could be the company’s first use of in-wheel motors to provide the vehicle with rear-wheel propulsion, while allowing for freedom of upper-body design.

The super-lightweight chassis is wrapped in carbon fibre-reinforced plastic and finished in two-tone black and pearlescent white, a colour Nissan says “evokes the pristine freedom of a glider”.

Nissan senior vice-president and chief creative officer Shiro Nakamura emphasised the aeronautical influences of the concept.

“BladeGlider was conceived around delivering a glider-like exhilaration that echoes its lightweight, downsized hyper-efficient aerodynamic form,” he said.

“This design is more than revolutionary it’s transformational, applying our most advanced electric drivetrain technology and racetrack-inspired styling in the service of a new dimension of shared driving pleasure.”

In the Formula One-style cockpit, the triangle configuration places the driver front and centre, while two passengers sit behind. An aircraft-style steering wheel and digital instruments dominate the dash, with mapping and weather conditions displayed to encourage efficient driving.

Nissan says the lightweight concept provided a “gliding” feeling, in part to a near-360 degree view through the curved cabin glass, combined with the thrilling performance of a race car.

Nissan is yet to release performance data for the wild-looking concept.

Also set to star on the Nissan stand this year is the new Dayz Roox, the Japanese-market tall-boy ‘kei’ wagon, the Qashqai compact SUV revealed last week, and the high-performance Nismo GT-R.

Nissan is yet to confirm that a two-door sports coupe concept would surface at Tokyo this year, previewing the next-generation 370Z.

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