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Nissan Bladeglider EV concept

By raccars Published


Could the Bladeglider EV concept preview a future production model from Nissan?

While some concept cars are created purely as design exercises, some are quite clearly a precursor to future production models. Nissan has been teasing us with a futuristic looking electric sports car concept in various forms for a number of years now, so it seems fairly obvious that it is taking the idea seriously and intends to take it further.

Nissan at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games

This year Nissan is the official car provider for the Olympics Games and among the vehicles seen in Rio have been a couple of new versions of the Bladeglider concept. The original model was introduced in 2013 at the Tokyo Motor Show, notable for its unusual three seater layout. While that is still a part of the updated Bladeglider concept, there are changes to the cabin to make it more user friendly and a new all-electric power train.

Nissan claims that the Bladeglider concept is a realistic example of the direction electric performance cars will be taking in the near future. Oxfordshire firm Williams Advanced Engineering worked with Renault to provide the clean and green energy in the form of a 220kW lithium ion battery powered by a 130kW electric motor on each rear wheel.

The Bladeglider is slightly shorter and wider than a Ford Focus but at the moment far less practical than the family hatchback - it's much lower for one thing. Kerb weight is about 1,300kg so it's not a lightweight machine but then accommodating the equipment for electric vehicles always comes with an attendant weight penalty. Nonetheless the Bladeglider's vital statistics include a top speed of at least 118mph and a sub five second sprint to 62mph.

Updates to the new concept include fabric upholstered seats and a four screen equipped dashboard, one of which is implanted into the steering wheel. Gear selection appears to be via a steering wheel mounted rotary dial, with options including Neutral, Drive, Reverse and a choice of driving modes. The Bladeglider also features a three setting torque vectoring system allowing the driver to choose an entertaining sounding 'drift mode', plus 'agile' and 'off'.

A 'working prototype'

Speculation still surrounds the future of the Bladeglider EV - which Nissan is calling a working prototype rather than a concept car. The company has been cagey about possible production status, instead claiming that the EV is designed to gauge market demand for electric sports cars.

Nissan has, however, admitted that it has advanced from its original idea of a concept in order to test the manufacturing potential of the idea, but confirmed that a production Bladeglider is still a number of years off. While a number of EVs are part of Nissan's current and future corporate strategy, the firm is focusing upon higher volume market segments rather than sports cars. Its Leaf model is the best-selling EV in the world.

Nissan e-Bio Fuel Cell

Meanwhile the Japanese manufacturer has also been developing a new e-Bio Fuel-Cell concept vehicle, the first in the world to run on a solid oxide fuel cell powered by pure bio-ethanol. This is a zero emissions electric energy source which can also use ethanol blended water - safer to handle than the pure stuff and compatible with current combustion filling station infrastructure. Bio-ethanol is said to be a sustainable fuel source, sourced from corn and sugar cane grown mainly in South America and the USA.

A concept has been produced which is derived from the e-NV200 MPV and is apparently capable of a 373 mile range, making it more practical than most existing EVs. Further testing is scheduled to take place in Brazil on public roads.

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