The rumored Leaf-based electric SUV is finally here as Nissan has unveiled the IMx concept today on the dawn of the Tokyo Motor Show. Fan or not of the exterior design, there’s no denying the zero-emissions showcar has a bold appearance with suicide doors and an angular body featuring a fresh take on the corporate V-motion grille.
The floating front and rear fenders lend the concept a rather unique appearance and it also looks quite interesting when viewed from above thanks to a massive panoramic glass roof stretching from the front to back. The concept’s predominantly pearl white body is combined with a vermillion accent color and contrasted by the black pillars and roof.
Inside, it’s typical concept business as the four-seat IMx adopts a minimalist layout without any physical controls. An expansive OLED display serves as the instrument panel and sits above a wood grain-patterned display that extends onto the door panels. Nissan says it has used a 3D printer for the frame of the seats, which boast a laser-etched katanagare diagonal pattern and have a kumiki (Japanese interlocking wood puzzle) motif on the headrests.
As for power, the electric SUV is equipped with two electric motors that generate a combined output of 430 horsepower and a beefy 516 pound-feet (700 Newton-meters) of torque. Riding on Nissan’s latest EV platform, the IMx has a completely flat floor to enable a spacious interior and a low center of gravity that should help out with the handling.
The unspecified high-capacity battery pack has enough juice for a maximum range of more than 373 miles (600 kilometers) between charges, so range anxiety shouldn’t be much of an issue considering an average gasoline-powered vehicle can cover roughly the same distance.
Much like other concept cars, the IMx features a highly advanced autonomous driving system that will handle all the work. When in ProPILOT drive mode, the steering wheel automatically hides inside the dashboard and the seats are all reclined to boost comfort while the SUV drives itself. Switch to manual mode and the steering wheels pops up and the seats revert to their original position.
While the IMx is purely a concept, a Leaf-based electric SUV is expected to arrive before the end of the decade. Needless to say, it won’t look nearly as polarizing as this.
Gallery: 2017 Nissan IMx concept
YOKOHAMA, Japan – The Nissan IMx, an all-electric crossover concept vehicle offering fully autonomous operation and a driving range of more than 600 kilometers, was unveiled today at the Tokyo Motor Show.
The innovative concept vehicle provides a glimpse into the future of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, Nissan's approach to changing how cars are powered, driven and integrated with society. It's designed to strengthen the link between car and driver as a close, reliable partner that delivers a safer, more convenient and more enjoyable drive.
By offering unprecedented enjoyment in motion and the ability to control the vehicle's drive mode, the Nissan IMx aims to transform the everyday life of drivers.
"The IMx zero-emission crossover concept vehicle embodies the future of Nissan Intelligent Mobility," said Daniele Schillaci, executive vice president for global marketing and sales, zero-emission vehicles and the battery business. "Through Nissan Intelligent Mobility, Nissan is committed to changing the way people and cars communicate, as well as how cars interact with society in the near future and beyond."
Making travel more enjoyable: Nissan Intelligent Driving
At the core of the IMx's technological features is a future version of ProPILOT that offers fully autonomous operation. When ProPILOT drive mode is selected, the system stows the steering wheel inside the dashboard and reclines all seats, giving the driver more space and allowing the vehicle's occupants to relax and enjoy their commute. When Manual drive mode is selected, the vehicle returns the steering wheel and seats to their original position, seamlessly transferring control back to the driver.
Promoting the convenience and pleasure of electric driving: Nissan Intelligent Power
The Nissan IMx zero-emission concept vehicle adopts Nissan's new EV platform, designed for maximum efficiency. It allows the floor to be completely flat, resulting in a cavernous cabin and enhanced driving dynamics. With a low center of gravity, the chassis delivers sharp handling that promises to redefine the crossover segment.
The powerful yet quiet powertrain delivers enhanced excitement. The IMx is propelled by a pair of high-output electric motors at the front and rear, giving it all-wheel-drive capability. They combine to produce 320 kW of power and an astounding 700 Nm of torque, sourced from a high-capacity battery which has been redesigned and re-engineered for increased energy density. This new battery supports a driving range of more than 600 kilometers on a single charge, so occupants can enjoy an extended adventure without worrying about recharging.
Becoming part of the social infrastructure: Nissan Intelligent Integration
The Nissan IMx can also contribute to the social infrastructure like no other vehicle before it. For example, after transporting its owner to the airport, the IMx can park itself in a spot where the vehicle can connect to the local power grid and act as a "virtual" power plant by returning electricity to the grid, an extension of its vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-building features. Once the owner returns, the IMx can pick them up at the terminal and drive home. The whole process is carried out efficiently, thanks in part to the increased battery capacity and connected-car technologies, including Seamless Autonomous Mobility.
New EV design philosophies for the autonomous era
Until now, vehicles have been designed with a clear differentiation between exterior and interior. Exterior design provides a sense of security from the outside, while the interior design gives drivers an appropriate environment for concentrating on driving.
This purpose-based differentiation is likely to change with the arrival of fully autonomous vehicles. Nissan's designers sought to redefine the interior space of the IMx to create a sense of openness, while maintaining a feeling of privacy. To achieve this, they endeavored to design a space that links up the inside and outside of the vehicle.
They also wanted to convey the key characteristics of electric vehicles – quiet and smooth with a sense of light, yet powerful and dynamic. They took inspiration from the Japanese concepts of ma, a sense of space and time, and wa (harmony), expressing the coexistence of two seemingly contradictory concepts – "stillness" and "motion."
Exterior design: showcasing the unique characteristics of electric vehicles
The IMx's styling conveys its clean and sporty electric-vehicle attributes by incorporating Nissan's signature design features. From the familiar V-motion grille, the supple character line rises and flows to the hood and rear end. The broad surfaces of the distinctively shaped front fenders start from the grille and expand seamlessly onto the body sides, creating a sense of layers.
The vermillion accent color, contrasting vividly with the pearl white-colored body, is inspired by uramasari, which describes the beauty and extravagance found on the inside of traditional Japanese kimonos.
Interior design: spacious and relaxing, with simplicity
The IMx concept vehicle's interior adheres to the basic concept of space that can be found in a traditional Japanese house, suggesting a sense of openness.
The car's panoramic OLED instrument panel displays a view of the external environment in the background. A separate, wood grain-patterned display, positioned below the instrument panel and wrapping around the interior door trims, gives occupants a subtle sense of the outside, similar to a shoji, a traditional Japanese paper screen.
The katanagare diagonal pattern on the seats has been delicately etched with a laser cutter. The head rest – patterned like kumiki, a Japanese interlocking wood puzzle – is made from silicon-material cushioning and a frame produced by a 3D printer.
Artificial intelligence enables the driver to control the instrument panel with eye movements and hand gestures. This intuitive interface results in fewer physical controls and switches, making the cabin of the IMx simple yet highly efficient and adding to its supreme comfort.