Automotive

Nissan electrifies Rio roads with BladeGlider prototype

The striking open cockpit design with its wedge shape is accented by dihedral (aka “reverse-butterfly”) doors that open back and up
The striking open cockpit design with its wedge shape is accented by dihedral (aka “reverse-butterfly”) doors that open back and up
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The wedge shaping of the overhead view of the BladeGlider is mirrored in the side view profile
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The wedge shaping of the overhead view of the BladeGlider is mirrored in the side view profile
The semi-open cockpit is as safe as a coupe, Nissan says
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The semi-open cockpit is as safe as a coupe, Nissan says
Wedges and edges are the BladeGlider concept's most striking theme outside of its unique shape
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Wedges and edges are the BladeGlider concept's most striking theme outside of its unique shape
The striking open cockpit design with its wedge shape is accented by dihedral (aka “reverse-butterfly”) doors that open back and up
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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
A single U-shaped light, following Nissan’s “V-motion” design language, adorns the front of the BladeGlider
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A single U-shaped light, following Nissan’s “V-motion” design language, adorns the front of the BladeGlider
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT open the doors at 190 km/h
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Do not, I repeat, DO NOT open the doors at 190 km/h
A motor powers each wheel on the rear axle, proving phenomenal amounts of torque
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A motor powers each wheel on the rear axle, proving phenomenal amounts of torque
Dynamic styling marks the entire BladeGlider conceptual look
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Dynamic styling marks the entire BladeGlider conceptual look
The steering wheel has all of the car’s driver information displays packed into it with a large central LCD screen blanked by buttons and selectors in apparent homage to Formula racing
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The steering wheel has all of the car’s driver information displays packed into it with a large central LCD screen blanked by buttons and selectors in apparent homage to Formula racing
Forward-looking visibility is very good
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Forward-looking visibility is very good
Inside the BladeGlider, a cockpit featuring a forward driver’s seat and two seats behind is futuristic in its layout
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Inside the BladeGlider, a cockpit featuring a forward driver’s seat and two seats behind is futuristic in its layout
Here we see the inverted W shaping for the rear of the cockpit
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Here we see the inverted W shaping for the rear of the cockpit
Wedged wheels continue the wedge theme found throughout the BladeGlider's design
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Wedged wheels continue the wedge theme found throughout the BladeGlider's design
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn poses next to the BladeGlider concept unveiled in Brazil
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Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn poses next to the BladeGlider concept unveiled in Brazil

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.

Source: Nissan
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6 comments
Mel Tisdale
I sincerely hope that the cameras referred to are positioned to enable the width at the rear to be driven safely through narrow gaps in the traffic, though I would think that some form of plastic extrusion on either side would be better. Otherwise the driver is going to be forever switching between the screens and the outside world. This vehicle will be a pig to drive on snow covered roads because of the difference in track width and the extra effort that will be required to plough though the stuff. Driving onto ramps or over maintenance pits will require some care!
paulblez
The article says "A total of 200 kW (268 hp) is available thanks to two 130-kW (174-hp) motors" but simple arithmetic tells me that 130 + 130 = 260kW and 174 + 174 = 348hp, so surely that is the amount of total power that should be available! Or have I missed something?
JasonWillhite
That battery pack size has to be incorrect. A 220 kW battery would enable this thing to go 600-800 miles on a single charge. While that would be awesome, it seems more likely that it'll have a 20-24kW size battery.
BrunoBevilacqua
I se the BladeGlider, I see Rio in the background... I'm just mising the part where the car went on Rio's roads.
Bill Babcock
220 KW for the battery is meaningless--unless you are talking about it's discharge rate which would be very limiting for a pair of 130KW motors. Or perhaps you mean KWH (kilowatt hours) in which case this is the largest battery by a factor of two that anyone has put into an electric vehicle. In any case, it's a pretty strange article. Lots of (erroneous) specifications and performance data, and no video of the thing even moving.
Bill Babcock
Sorry, meant to say "doing anything but driving slowly along a flat road".
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