Nissan at the Tokyo motor show: Sporty & Electric

The Nissan showcase at this year’s TMS

Have you ever heard the sound of ‘Canto’? According to Nissan’s EVP for Global Marketing & Sales, Daniele Schillaci, “It is the sound of the future”.

He spoke very enthusiastically about it during the Nissan presentation at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show held in Tokyo Big Sky during the last week of October. Beside him were the Nissan Leaf NISMO and IMx Zero Emission Concepts — both vehicles making their World Premiere as Nissan’s bets into the cars of the future.

These were the brand’s 2 most-highlighted vehicles amid its 13-model exhibit at the motor show grounds. And their display booth adapted a creative, spiral design theme which represented their company’s past, present and future commitment to creating exciting products for mobility.

The Leaf is no stranger to the EV market – it has since been the icon of Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility – and following the launch of its latest iteration in Japan just last September, it has so far become a great-selling product, having sold within 1 month alone, over half the number of units sold last year.

It made total sense then, that as one of its forefront concepts, the Yokohama-based firm presented the Leaf NISMO – designed by Nissan Motorsports International Co. – the company’s motorsports and in-house tuning division. This vehicle is a sportier rendition of the Leaf’s production model – with a sport-tuned suspension, high-performance tires, a custom-tuned computer, enhanced aerodynamic performance, and less lift.

It also comes with Nissan’s ProPILOT single-lane autonomous driving technology, and ProPILOT Park – the first Japanese technology to be applied to passenger cars that enable it to park itself, with just a continuous push of a button, and without any hands on the wheel.

Consistent with its proven ability to synergize vehicle performance with electric motor technologies, Nissan has also just announced its desire to dip its feet into ‘electric racing’ — with Schillaci calling this a ‘revolution for motorsports’. “After all,” he pointed out, “We are clean… We are economical!”

“Next year…” he promises, Nissan will join Season 5 of the Formula E Championship!

Moreover, Nissan also formally introduced to the world, its futuristic-looking IMx Zero Emission crossover EV. It is a fully autonomous, all-electric, all-wheel-drive vehicle with a driving range of more than 600km – thanks to its re-engineered battery with increased energy density.

At its core is a future version of Propilot — Nissan’s proprietary autonomous driving technology — giving its riders the option of a fully autonomous experience. When ProPilot comes into play, the vehicle’s steering wheel and pedals are retracted, and the seats automatically recline. The panoramic display above the dashboard and the instrument panel begin to transform into a new-age infotainment system. If the operator desires, the vehicle may drive itself all the way to the set destination, and even park itself upon arrival. Alternatively, if the operator chooses Manual Drive Mode, artificial intelligence enables the user to control the vehicle’s instruments via eye movements and simple hand gestures.

The IMx is powered by a pair of high-output electric motors: 1 at the front and 1 at the rear. Together, they produce 320kW of power and an amazing 700 Nm of torque. The IMx’s new EV platform also provides the benefit of a completely flat floor. Thus, with a low center of gravity, occupants can experience enhanced driving dynamics with this new-age crossover.

Furthermore, the IMx is also equipped with vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-building features — which mean that the vehicle can also act as a virtual power plant, by simply connecting itself to a local power grid. Hence, the vehicle may not only store energy via charging, but it can also return electricity back to the grid – and perhaps, in the future, even use this as a mode of payment for parking (by paying in the currency of electricity).

“Nissan will also be expanding e-power to other markets and models,” said Schillaci as he referred to Nissan’s Serena e-power — another highlighted product making its Japan Premiere at the Nissan booth display. Aside from its spacious, comfortable interior and superior fuel efficiency, the Serena e-power also boasts of impressively quiet vehicle operation, and first-rate aerodynamic performance.

E-power is a technology that possesses the excitement and efficiency of an EV, with the reliability of a fuel-fed car.

The TMS also served as the venue for the Japan Premiere of the Serena NISMO – a minivan with spiced-up looks: adorned with custom aero parts and a sport-tuned suspension system.  It is slated to be available in Japan beginning this November 2017.

Last but not the least, Nissan also showcased its newest Skyline premium sports sedan, with new aluminum wheels and a revamped exterior. It is scheduled to be released in Japan this December 2017.


Contributing Editor