The BladeGlider concept aims to offer a driving experience more comparable to solo flying.
At the 2013 Tokyo Auto Show, Nissan will be offering a look at their take on the sports car of the future. The BladeGlider Concept is an all electric, three-seat vehicle unlike anything on the road today. In fact, the design team took inspiration from outside the automotive world to inform the aesthetic design direction and driving experience. As the name suggests, glider airplanes were an influence, as well as high performance swept wing aircraft. Why look to airplanes? One look at the BladeGliders’ shape and you’ll see more resemblance to a plane than a car.
The triangular narrow front, wide rear shape might look familiar to some if you’ve seen the Nissan DeltaWing race car. The BladeGlider uses the same foundation but Nissan have tweaked the car to now hold three passengers. Being an electric vehicle, aerodynamics play an important role in the design to boost operating efficiency as much as possible and in turn increase performance and range. Where the DeltaWing race car was mostly all function, the BladeGlider offers more sculpted surfaces and flowing lines, taking on more aircraft inspired style. The graphic break up of the exterior with the white top and black lower body paint treatment also helps give the BladeGlider the appearance of floating.
Accommodating three people in the BladeGliders’ triangular shape cockpit offered another opportunity for the designers to replicate an aircraft style experience for the driver and passengers. The driver sits center-forward in the vehicle and has a nearly clear 360-degree view of the surroundings, offering what Nissan call a “Free Soaring” driving experience. The narrow canopy with wrap around glass and small instrument panel were designed to closely mimic the pilot environment inside a glider. Both Passenger in the back get an open view ahead, without the usual visual obstruction of a seatback typical in cars today.
While Nissan hasn’t officially said the BladeGlider will see production, there are hints that they are serious about exploring manufacturing potential. Since they were the first to offer a mainstream plug-in electric car, the Leaf, Nissan are likely keen to build on their reputation of developing innovative electric vehicles consumers can actually buy. The BladeGlider could offer the next step being the first vehicle to market with in-wheel electric motors. Nissan says they intend the BladeGlider to be powered by separate in-wheel motors with independent motor management which would essentially free the chassis of any propulsion mechanics.