Nissan says ‘sorry’ with the ESFLOW electric sports car

It may be a concept, but the Nissan ESFLOW electric sports car shows that it’s possible to remain environmentally sympathetic without having to make concessions in style and driving pleasure. But having examined the details in Nissan’s latest press release it leaves one major question unanswered – why does the LEAF look so dull…?

If hybrid and electric powered cars are to succeed then they’ve got to achieve more than just low mpg and emission figures – cars are still the primary means beyond clothing for people to express their sense of style, personality and status and whilst it was a notable achievement to see Nissan’s LEAF win the 2010 Car of the Year accolade, it was also one of the most depressing moments for car enthusiasts in 2010. Was this the future?

So, perhaps Nissan’s ESFLOW is their way of saying sorry…

The Design

Nissan say, “It looks like a sports car, handles like a sports car, and performs like one too. But ESFLOW is different to every other sports car yet built: it’s electric. Using technology pioneered in the award-winning Nissan LEAF, the EV concept shows that driving can still be as much fun tomorrow as it is today.”

ESFLOW has been created from the ground up as a pure electric vehicle, to give an idea how a Zero Emission sports car of the future might look. Living ecologically has often been seen as an act of austerity – to save one’s environmental conscience sacrifices must be made. ESFLOW is here to address that misconception.

The briefest glance at the ESFLOW is enough to tell you what kind of car it is: a long bonnet leading into a steeply raked, wrap around windscreen, the compact cabin placing the occupants bang on the car’s centre of gravity, hunched arches over ultra-low profile tyres wrapped around six spoke wheels. ESFLOW is unmistakably a sports car, and those in the know will recognize its heritage – hints of classic and contemporary (i.e. 370Z) Nissan sports cars abound.

Powerplant

ESFLOW is rear-wheel drive and it runs on two motors. The car’s graceful proportions allow the twin electric motors to be placed above the axis of the rear wheels, in a mid-ship position,. These motors independently control the left and right wheels, and so the torque is optimized to ensure outstanding vehicle stability and control as well as efficient power regeneration. The motors produce enough torque in an instant for it to reach 62 mph in under 5 seconds.

Power for the motors comes from the same laminated lithium-ion battery packs used in the Nissan LEAF, but in ESFLOW the packs are located along the axis of the front and rear wheels. This centralizes the mass of the car, and thus its rotation point, close to the driver’s hips. These cleverly positioned batteries enable the car to travel over 150 miles on a single charge.

The Chassis

An aluminium chassis has been built around the drive train, taking full advantage of the opportunities that Zero Emission electric propulsion provides. Power cells are incorporated in such a way that they benefit ESFLOW’s strength and poise, not detract from them. Indeed, unlike a conventional fuel tank, batteries do not get lighter as they provide energy, so the car’s weight distribution remains constant throughout a drive.

The high waistline afforded by the ESFLOW’s classic sports car proportions allows strong, yet unobtrusive roll bars incorporated in to the structure behind the seats to safely take the entire load of the car in the event of a roll over, negating the need for obtrusive, thick, reinforced A-pillars and the blind spots they inevitably create.

The Nissan ESFLOW will be on show at Geneva next month which Nissan will use to gauge customer feedback. The future of electric cars just became a little brighter.

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