Nissan Sending Quirky Cars to Tokyo

Nissan Land Glider Concept, front

Never one to avoid hyperbole, our own tgriffith pulled out all the stops in writing up the Nissan Leaf in August. “Nissan is brilliant,” he said, and “I’m sensing a home run here.” As a born skeptic, I chuckled over these remarks, but the guru may have been right. Perhaps, I thought, it’s time to turn over a new leaf.

Nissan Land Glider, interiorIf you saw the freaky EV concept cars Renault-Nissan was showing at Frankfurt (go here and click on “Slide Show” at right), you will understand the direction the company is moving. It wants to show its dominance in electric tech with small futuristic cars that excite people.

The Land Glider, coming to the Tokyo Motor Show, is one of these, and it seems (like other recent offerings) to combine car and motorcycle design in a two-seat tandem layout. According to Motor Trend, vehicle and driver lean up to 17 degrees into turns; there are sensors and small motors on each wheel to set steering angle, yaw rate, and angle of lean. The Land Glider will do 40 mph and take you up to 60 miles on a “wireless” (no plug-in) charge.

Nissan LeafAnd so, on to the Leaf, as Nissan prepares to show it—along with the Land Glider, Qazana and Roox (yes, I was thinking of commenting on those names but won’t)—at Tokyo to highlight its zero-emissions goal. The Leaf isn’t as overtly quirky as the other cars, but its straightforward design hides some interesting features, as we learn from Autoweek:

  • Bumpers and interior trim made from recycled plastic bottles and fabrics
  • Batteries that can be recharged remotely through the driver’s mobile phone
  • Special tires to reduce running noise usually masked by a noisy combustion engine
  • Rear tail fins to improve aerodynamics and deliver a slick 0.28 drag coefficient.

Recharging through a cell phone?? What if a call comes in? What if you lose the phone? Anyhow, Nissan says it expects to presell 20,000 Leafs (Leaves?) in the U.S. alone and will make “around 200,000 a year worldwide by 2012.” That is pretty ambitious, not to say over-the-top, goal-setting. But the car is apparently top-drawer as far as its technology goes. Good luck, Renault-Nissan, and I’ll try to reign in my skepticism.

Nissan is going to market the Leaf through social media such as Facebook and Twitter and of course the blog world. How likely is the car to go viral, do you think?

—jgoods

1 Comment

  1. Fast, light enclosed battery operated tandem commuters may save Americans from the indignity of factory dorms in the near future, along with Survival oriented homes in the ‘burbs, as opposed to McMansions! In order to keep up with the Asian Fact, Americans are about to go through massive paradigm shifts of grand proportions! The face of America will be changed, one way or another! Less and more expensive oil can easily be predicted, along with the falling dollar, harder times for Yankee Doodle will prevail! The bail outs were not free! Funny money never is! Look at Zimbabwe! Gold – at an all time high! Expect this style of car to be in great demand after the next natural, normal, cyclic downturn of the American economy, which hides the greatest depression ever on earth in its troughs! America is in the unique situation where it borrows money to buy foreign oil even to run its massive military! – They burn OPEC oil to bomb Afghanistan! Except the civilian population of the U.S. to suffer oil shortages to fuel the military and conscription to man the military, and a dollar falling like a stone today to continue as long as the oil debt increases! Expect, small light electric tandem super-economical cars for Americans as a last desperate means just to get to the job, before company dorms are established to maintain profitability! I vote “Yes” to Nissan and it’s futuristic notions – they are easily justified from a realistic view of today’s realities!

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