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Nissan Reveals Radical BladeGlider Concept

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On: Sat, Nov 16, 2013 at 9:38AM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Reveals Radical BladeGlider Concept

Next week, both the Tokyo and LA Auto Shows kick off. As such, we may as well just call this week "New Car/Concept Preview Week." One of the most radical concepts of either show is sure to be the BladeGlider concept from Nissan, a triangular 1 + 2 electric sports car that "shifts the engineering paradigm."

The BladeGlider brings a little fire to the sometimes-dull EV segment. Nissan explains that its unique design was created to give the occupants"sustainable exhilaration, a fresh electric vehicle driving experience based on peerless technology and exotic styling."

That's a bold claim, but Nissan backs it up with a truly distinct build. The automaker explains that it started with a clean slate, designing a car that challenges convention. In fact, it started more from an aircraft point of view than from that of a traditional car, designing theBladeGlider's body into a form inspired by actual aerial gliders and "swept wing" aircraft. It also appears heavily inspired by Nissan's DeltaWing and ZEOD RC race cars.

The triangular shape gives the car a distinctive look and layout and also helps in optimizing its aerodynamic performance. Up front, the narrow 1-m track slashesdrag and increases maneuverability for high G cornering power, in partnership with the 30/70-front/rear-weight distribution. That narrow front-end leaves room for only a driver inside, but the wider rear track opens up enough room for two rear passengers.Underneath the pearlescent white-painted CFRP body, a carbon fiber underbody creates downforce, eliminating the need for wings.

"BladeGlider was conceived around delivering a glider-like exhilaration that echoes its lightweight, downsized hyper-efficient aerodynamic form," saysShiro Nakamura, Nissan's senior vice president and chief creative officer. "This design is more than revolutionary; it's transformational, applying our most advanced electric drive-train technology and racetrack-inspired styling in the service of a new dimension of shared driving pleasure."

Nissan describes the character of that driving pleasure as falling somewhere between the weightless feeling of gliding and the track-carving zip of a full-blown racecar.

When looking at that pointed nose, it's natural to wonder where the power for that glide racing comes from. The two-row cabin doesn't seem to leave much room out back for a motor and battery pack, either. Instead of those traditional placements, Nissan frees up body room by using rear-wheel mounted motors powered by a lithium-ion pack secured to the lower rear.

Nissan itself admits that the BladeGlider looks like a skunk works project, but it promises that the concept "is both a proposal for the future direction of Nissan electric vehicle (EV) development and an exploratory prototype of an upcoming production vehicle from the world's leading EV manufacturer." It even mentions that the concept could be the foundation of its first production in-wheel electric motor system.

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