Nissan has been pretty vocal about its forays into the uncharted future of motoring, bundling most of its emerging EV, safety, autonomy, and tech developments under the header of Nissan Intelligent Mobility. To date, bits and pieces of these technologies have found their way into test prototypes and, to a lesser extent, production vehicles. Now, Nissan has pulled the wraps off the IMx concept, an electric vehicle that serves as host for many of these emerging technologies.
Unveiled at the 2017 Tokyo auto show, the IMx is built on the automaker’s new EV platform. The architecture offers a low center of gravity, all-wheel drive, and a low floor, and it’s primed for the implementation of connectivity and autonomous technologies. Nissan claims 70 percent of its EVs will use the new platform by 2022.
Motivation for the IMx is provided by a pair of electric motors, one up front and one at the rear. Together they produce 420 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. Energy storage is handled by a new battery of undisclosed capacity that promises a range of up to 373 miles.
Nissan’s intelligent-mobility philosophy is heavy on the social-interaction aspect for both owner and vehicle. In the case of the IMx, that means a car that can drop its owner at an airport’s departure gate and then park itself, reversing the process when the owner returns. Should the airport’s EV charging interfaces be equipped to do so, the IMx’s battery is designed to return power to the grid under periods of heavy demand.
While certain Nissan design touches are evident, the IMx’s creases are sharper and its nose and tail treatments are far more angular than those of most other current Nissan products. The overall styling ethos takes inspiration from the Japanese concepts of ma (a sense of space and time) and wa (harmony), which Nissan says “expresses the coexistence of two seemingly contradictory elements—stillness and motion.” The IMx’s pearl-white body is offset by vermilion accents, a color said to be inspired by uramasari, which describes the extravagant decoration found on the inner layers of traditional Japanese kimonos.
The references to traditional Japanese culture continue inside. The IMx features a panoramic OLED instrument panel that wraps around the base of the windshield and front door glass; it displays a view of the external environment in the background. A separate, woodgrain-pattern display wraps around the interior and gives a subtle sense of the outside, similar to a shoji, a Japanese paper screen. Likewise, the pattern in the seats employs a laser-etched katanagare diagonal pattern, while the 3D-printed headrests intend to evoke a kumiki, an interlocking wood puzzle. Adding to the minimalist interior vibe is the addition of eye-movement and hand-gesture recognition for controlling the instrument panel, allowing for the elimination of most switchgear.
We’re intrigued by the IMx, but this concept is likely to remain just that—even if some of its technology finds its way into production Nissans.