The growing demand of electric vehicles has prompted auto manufacturers to develop some out of the league products. And who better than Nissan who pioneers the electric vehicle technology (Nissan Leaf is one of the best selling EV in the market today). One such radical product is the BladeGlider electric sports car concept, which has taken the shape of a "fully functional advanced prototype".
The BladeGlider by Nissan first appeared as a concept couple of years ago, but was quickly shunted by then incoming product planning chief Philippe Klein from the priority list. The concept has reemerged as a fully working prototype, co-developed by Williams Advanced Engineering. As mentioned above, the latest product is aimed to maintain the Nissan's reputation as the industry leader in electric propulsion vehicles.
The electric sportscar was well received at the 2013 Tokyo motor show as a concept and the then product head Andy Palmer revealed the production plans by 2017 for $40000 a piece. In 2015 though, Klein declared that the product which was described by Plamer as an “anti-establishment electric sports car”, was “not among the immediate priorities” of the firm.
The interview to the Autocar further quoted, “We have the concept car, and it has the ability to surprise, but it is not big in our plans now. Before we jump in with a production car there is a path to take - and first we must see the opportunity is there.” But in a surprise move, Nissan actually went on to reveal the fully functional prototype of the Bladeglider, showing that the opportunity for such a product do exist.
Infact, Nissan is looking to expand its electric car range by adding a sports car to the portfolio. Although they have said that there are no production plans for the BladeGlider, but given the level of engineering that has gone into the BladeGlider, it can't be ruled out as a possible candidate to join the range in the future.
The Japanese automajor has spent the past two years on the “design, engineering and development” of the BladeGlider, and officially the car is “an exciting, real-life study into the potential of advanced EV performance”. The statement further reads, “BladeGlider epitomises Intelligent Mobility, a philosophy to make Nissan cars more exciting by redefining how they are driven, powered and integrated into society.”
The Bladeglider has three seat arrangement, with a central driver’s seat flanked by one each side and slightly behind. It is propelled by two electric motors in the rear wheels, which are powered by a high-performance 220kW lithium ion battery pack. The combined power output of the electric motors is 268hp. Williams has helped Nissan in developing the electric powertrain of the Bladeglider that can do a top speed in excess of 185 kmph and a 0-100 kmph time of less than five seconds.
Williams was also involved in developing the aerodynamics, along with the chassis and vehicle dynamics, and two prototypes. The prototypes are currently gracing their presence at the 2016 Brazil Olympics in Rio de Janeiro which is Nissan sponsored. One among them is on static display at the Olympics, while the other is demonstrating the car’s capabilities with passenger rides.
Inside the cabin is the high-tech, race car-inspired two screens to display driver information. The controls are housed on the steering wheel, and the occupants gets four-point harness, while the seats are coated in a grippy material to keep occupants secure in the cabin. The conventional exterior mirrors are eliminated to boost the aerodynamics making way way for two screens on the either side of the steering wheel, helped by rear-facing cameras in place of the mirrors.
Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn said the company “believes that enthusiasts should look forward to a zero-emission future, and the BladeGlider is the perfect demonstration of that”. He added: “It’s the electric vehicle for car lovers.”