Nissan BladeGlider prototype revealed in Rio -- EV goes one step beyond
Building on the original BladeGlider Concept presented at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, the latest iteration of the Nissan’s radical 3-passenger EV was unveiled this week in Rio de Janeiro to coincide with the opening of the 2016 Summer Olympics. Carlos Ghosn, president and chief executive officer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., was on hand in Brazil to take the wraps off of the fully-functional advanced preproduction iteration, calling the Gen II BladeGlider “the electric vehicle for car lovers." He went on to note, "It epitomizes Nissan's drive to expand its Intelligent Mobility strategy, where driving pleasure combines with environmental responsibility. Nissan believes that enthusiasts should look forward to a zero-emission future and Nissan BladeGlider is a perfect demonstration of that.”
Green gets mean
Nissan claims the BladeGlider prototype represents an integral part of its ongoing commitment to the development of zero-emission vehicles and as well as new automotive technologies, including autonomous drive systems and precedent-setting connectivity. While sharing the same narrow-front/wide-rear track configuration as the BladeGlider Concept -- a design initially embodied in Nissan’s DeltaWing and ZEOD RC hybrid electric Le Mans racers -- the latest iteration remains a composite-intensive exercise but now boasts edgier bodywork contours along with new rear-hinged dihedral doors that allow even easier access to its 1+2 cabin, a realm that also displays a clear competition influence. The centrally positioned driver takes operational control using a flat-bottom multifunction steering wheel and faces a sweeping windscreen that provides a panoramic view of what’s ahead. In place of conventional door mirrors, a pair of auxiliary display screens flank the steering wheel and link to mini cameras located behind each front wheel to show what’s coming up alongside while a third rear-facing camera is fitted to the BladeGlider’s integral roll-hoop structure.
Developed in conjunction with Williams Advanced Engineering, the BladeGlider’s powertrain consists of a pair of rear-mounted motors -- one driving each wheel -- that collectively turn out 268 horsepower and allow for full torque vectoring in three modes: off, agile and drift. Energized by a 5-module 220kW liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery, the motors can propel this 2,866-pound ultra-clean sportster from 0-60 mph in less than five seconds and on to an estimated top speed of 115 mph.
Sadly, Ghosn stopped well short of confirming any plans to actually produce the BladeGlider, even in limited numbers. But given Nissan is on record as wanting to add a sport-spec EV to its lineup -- not to mention the amount of time and money it’s already invested in the BladeGlider’s development program -- there appears to be at least an outside chance we could see a version of the car turn up in showrooms somewhere down the road.
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