This is the Nissan BladeGlider Concept and despite its futuristic looks, Nissan are determined to bring it, or something very close to it, to our roads – soon.
In their press release, phrases such as “more than a concept” and “upcoming production vehicle” stand out, as does “BladeGlider’s pioneering spirit distinguishes it from anything yet envisioned for EVs and destines [sic] it to rule the roads of the not-so-distant future.”
This is Nissan’s way of setting our tongues wagging as we predict (or try and guess) the price, performance and feel of driving a car with such a narrow 1.0-metre front track along Britain’s crowded roads.
It’s a three-seater, with the driver seated centrally in front of up to two passengers in a V-shaped seating configuration. Entry to the cabin is via a pair of gull-wing doors while the driver’s seat slides laterally, enabling easy access to the rear passenger seats. An aircraft-style canopy seals the cockpit from the outside elements.
The BladeGlider is based on the Nissan ZEOD RC (Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car), which will make its debut at next year’s Le Mans 24 Hour race and mirrors the dynamic layout of Nissan’s race-proven DeltaWing.
Nissan’s Director of Motorsport Innovation, Ben Bowlby, who previously worked on the DeltaWing program is supporting the BladeGlider’s development.
“I think there are elements we can bring from the race track to make these future road cars more exciting, more fulfilling and give greater driving pleasure,” said Bowlby.
The BladeGlider employs the same lithium-ion battery technology proven in the Nissan Leaf, but with in-wheel motors powered the rear. It’s Nissan’s first application of in-wheel propulsion, which allows for more space-efficient packaging, but it might be one innovation too far (at the moment), at least for road use.
It’s unorthodox shape – with a narrow front end and wide rear track – is claimed to reduce drag and enhance “manoeuvrability for high-G cornering power”. An aircraft-type steering wheel and state-of-the-art instrumentation complete the glider-like experience, while its infotainment system can display relief maps and atmospheric conditions.
The BladeGlider makes its debut at this month’s Tokyo Motor Show.. and then we wait. But according to Nissan we won’t have to wait too long.