Crazy Concept: Nissan BladeGlider

By Michael Lockhart

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Crazy Concept: Nissan BladeGlider:

Since the dawn of car shows, North American audiences have been left slack-jawed by the gorgeous (read: Buick Riviera) and the disastrous (read: Toyota Fun Vii) concept vehicles to make their way out of Asia.

This week’s Crazy Concept is the electric (EV) BladeGlider from Nissan, and, not unlike Jean-Claude Van Damme doing the splits between a couple of 18-wheelers, the BladeGlider manages to straddle both ends of the crazy/awesome spectrum. You won’t be able to tear your eyes away from the spectacle of it all.

Unveiled at this week’s Tokyo Motor Show, the BladeGlider is somewhere between Marty McFly’s ride from Back to the Future and a fighter jet—it certainly looks as though it could take to the skies. Nissan have taken their expertise working with sustainable engineering and lithium-ion technology first seen in their top-selling Leaf EV, as well as their upcoming Le Mans debut next year in the form of the ZEOD RC (Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car) and upped the ante.

The BladeGlider’s unique wedge-shaped design is both awesome and slightly repulsive, a catch-22 of exotic sports car styling. It’s not that we hate what’s going on here; it just seems odd for an electric maker to venture into the performance luxury electric market without some care for beauty. Think: the BMW i8, Tesla or even the superpowered LaFerrari.

As Francois Bancon, division GM of Strategy and Product Planning at Nissan, puts it, “The goal was to revolutionize the architecture of the vehicle to provoke new emotions, provide new value and make visible for consumers how zero emissions can help redefine our conception of vehicle basics.“ Redefine they do.

From a technical perspective, Nissan’s glider-inspired vehicle was created to develop the next generation of aerodynamics across their entire lineup. The BladeGlider achieves a lower drag while generating a substantial downforce, allowing the vehicle to hug the road: The narrow front (only one meter wide) helps to balance the vehicle; having the wheels closer together reduces drag and increases maneuverability for top cornering power, with an intense 30-70 front-rear weight distribution ratio. The BladeGlider intensifies its downforce and play in the wind using a heavy-duty carbon-fiber underbody.

Within the cockpit built for one, kind of like an electric Egoista, the jet pilot will be guided to his or her aircraft-style steering wheel by a plethora of yellow fluorescent lighting and will have access to the latest technology, including relief maps and atmospheric conditions.

Considering the company is reportedly unveiling its own version of Google Glass at Tokyo as well, the sky must be the limit for Nissan’s cutting-edge product development. We hope so, anyway. We’re counting on those flying cars.

At this point in development engine and performance specs are not publicly available, but check out Nissan-Global.com for the latest news.


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