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Nissan Reveals Pair of Electric Concepts at Tokyo Motor Show

Nissan has just revealed a pair of cool new concepts at the Tokyo Motor Show that add some more electrification to the company's lineup with some sweet concept car styling. The IMk is a design for a new EV city car and the Ariya Concept is a vision for a premium crossover.

The IMk concept, Nissan says, is designed to add some chic style to the city car segment, and stand out by giving drivers a nimble drive as well as a more relaxing experience behind the wheel. It's a tiny car, nearly 400 mm shorter than a Micra at 3,434 mm long, but that's the size of car you need when you live in a crowded city like Tokyo.

It's styled as a preview of what future city cars could look like, and the tall flanks and massive, upright grille that are part of the design Nissan calls "Timeless Japanese Futurism" do a fine job of making it look larger than the diminutive footprint suggests. There's a glass roof to allow more light and an airier feel inside the IMk, which also gets exterior mirrors replaced with cameras mounted in the door. Those thin lines in the roof and wheels Nissan says borrow from "the flowing patterns of mizuhiki", which is a thin twine made from rice paper.

Inside, the IMk uses a bench seat which Nissan says "gives the impression of sitting on a floating cloud." It's trimmed with wood slats that are a nod to a Japanese wood-joining technique and which are accented with hidden lighting to make sure you see the craftsmanship. Surprisingly, it's not designed to be roomier than a conventional city car. "We could have kept all the surfaces inside the IMk’s cabin flat, which would have equated to more physical space,” said Nissan Design Director Satoru Tai in a press release. “But if we did that, we would have lost some of its beauty, and we didn’t want to go that route. The IMk was never about being roomier than a traditional small car. It was about being an upscale, stylish partner that gives occupants a chic, elegant space to enjoy.”

Nissan hasn't said what the driveline would be, other than it would be electric, but did say the car would be loaded with Nissan's ProPilot driver assistance features including smartphone-enabled remote parking that can search for a space for you after you've gotten out. It can also see around corners using vehicle to vehicle and infrastructure communication.

The Ariya Concept is a look at what Nissan's upcoming electric crossovers could look like, and it moves forward on the styling of the IMx concept from 2017. Sleek yet angular, Nissan says that this one too is part of timeless Japanese futurism. that includes the ultra-thin LED headlights and the front grille that's not a grille anymore.

"We replaced the conventional grille with what we call a ‘shield' – an expressive piece with innovative 3D texture within that goes beyond cosmetics, but also as a way to highlight the technology lurking within the vehicle," said global design VP Alfonso Albaisa. "In this case, it's a radar sensor and other technologies that help the Ariya Concept read the road and visualize things the driver can't see."

The blue paint is designed to look matte from a distance but glass flakes give an appearance from up close Nissan says is like a comet crossing the night sky. The wheels and roof are accented in copper, which Nissan says will be a signature of its future EVs and is is the colour of a sunrise, meant to represent the dawn of a new era for the automobile.

Inside, it has a flat floor thanks to the low-slung battery pack, and a minimalist dashboard with haptic touch controls instead of buttons and knobs. They disappear when the car's not in use, and the only physical buttons are the start button and a knob for the infotainment screen.

This one too has Nissan's ProPilot 2.0, giving hands-off driving while cruising in a single lane. It can handle passing and road diversions as but requires driver confirmation before it acts on those. The twin-motor AWD system uses Nissan's experience with the GT-R and the 4x4 system from the rugged Patrol to manage power delivery.

High-tech features include remote parking, integrated video chat, and over the air software and firmware upgrades, plus the ability to connect with smart energy grids to balance charging with demand and even sell power back to the grid.

Nissan says that while this one is a concept, "the crossover EV's bold styling and unconventional interior and exterior elements could make it into production in the near future."