Nissan electrifies Rio roads with BladeGlider prototype

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The striking open cockpit design with its wedge shape is accented by dihedral (aka “reverse-butterfly”) doors that open back and up(Credit: Nissan)

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Three years after the original concept was shown in Tokyo, Nissan has unveiled a working prototype of its wedge-shaped Bladeglider concept in Brazil. The BladeGlider is an electric-powered three-seater which, though Nissan doesn't admit it, is an almost direct result of the company's collaboration on the DeltaWing race car in 2013. The legal battles that followed the first unveiling of the BladeGlider and the company's plans to produce it appeared to put the idea on hold. Until now.

Looking at the working prototypes on display in Brazil, we can see that the rear haunches have narrowed a bit and the front track seems to have widened somewhat, resulting in a less V-shaped overhead profile, likely resulting in more track stability and better weight balance. Dimensions for the BladeGlider seem to speak to that notion. The overall length of the car is 4,300 mm (169 in) long by 1,850 mm (73 in) wide and 1,300 mm (51 in) high. The wheelbase is 2,800 mm (110 in).

The striking open cockpit design with overall wedge shaping is accented by dihedral (aka "reverse-butterfly") doors that open back and up. A single U-shaped light, following Nissan's "V-motion" design language, adorns the front of the BladeGlider, creating the edges upon which the tips of the front fenders are located.

The entire car is a display of angles and edges that protrude and slice off of and through one another. Like all true concepts, it's an over-the-top look that helps to play up the unique design of the car. A few concessions to Nissan's blue badging for electric vehicles are shown here and there in the Nissan logo and lighting.

With a cockpit featuring a forward driver's seat with two passenger seats behind, this is not a vehicle targeted at families. The steering wheel packs in all of the car's driver information displays with a large central LCD screen flanked by buttons and selectors in an apparent homage to Formula racing. More screens flank the wheel on the dashboard behind, with buttons and switches below.

Powering the car, as promised, is a battery-electric powertrain designed by Williams Advanced Engineering. A total of 200 kW (268 hp) is available thanks to two 130-kW (174-hp) motors and a total torque output of 707 Nm (521 lb-ft) is available from zero RPM, which is a phenomenal amount of torque for a car that weighs only 1,300 kg (2,866 pounds). All of this provides a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) time of under five seconds for the BladeGlider, while top speed is listed at over 190 km/h (118 mph).

Drift fanatics will be happy to know that not only do the BladeGlider's two electric motors power the rear wheels, one motor for each, but that the torque vectoring system also boasts a "drift" mode in addition to "off" and "agile". This system will also automatically send extra torque to the outside wheel when it detects understeer.

A 220-kW lithium-ion battery pack supplies the power for the motors and the batteries and motors are liquid cooled. Nissan did not detail the range expectation for those batteries, but 100+ miles (160+ km) per charge is certainly possible given the size, weight, and battery capacity.

"These prototypes epitomize Nissan's drive to expand its Intelligent Mobility strategy, where driving pleasure combines with environmental responsibility," said Carlos Ghosn, Nissan Motor Co. president and CEO. "Nissan believes that enthusiasts should look forward to a zero emission future and Nissan BladeGlider is a perfect demonstration of that. It's the electric vehicle for car lovers."

Nissan is showing both a stationary concept and a working, driving version of the BladeGlider concept in Brazil. The driving version can be seen in action in the video below.

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