If the launch of the second-generation Nissan Leaf didn’t convince you that driving a battery-electric vehicle can be fun, the automaker is determined to change your mind with the new IMx concept it unveil today at the biennial Tokyo Motor Show.
The Nissan IMx concept smoothly churns out a hefty 516 pound-feet of torque, about 10% more than the automaker’s gasoline-powered supercar, the GT-R. And it hits maximum torque the moment the motors turn on, something that should translate into a neck-snapping launch. Oh, and if you’re still suffering from range anxiety, the Japanese automaker claims the IMx can deliver 373 miles per charge, or roughly 25% more than a Tesla Model S P100d.
“The IMx zero-emission crossover concept vehicle embodies the future of Nissan Intelligent Mobility,” said Daniele Schillaci, the automaker’s executive vice president for global marketing and sales, zero-emission vehicles and the battery business, as he walked the audience at Tokyo’s Big Sight convention center through the features of the electric rocket.
Nissan was a pioneer in the battery-electric market, the original version of its Leaf model debuting in 2010. But it is facing a wave of competition from manufacturers as diverse as Mercedes-Benz, General Motors and Volkswagen. Even Toyota which was slow to embrace lithium-ion technology, is now planning some big moves.
(Renault-Nissan come even closer as they double down on EVs. For the story, Click Here.)
So, Nissan is getting ready to roll out an assortment of new battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, last month signaling that its next offering will be an electric SUV.
Is there a place for a battery counterpart to the GT-R? For now, the Nissan IMx is being billed as just a concept vehicle, but few would be surprised to see a production performance car in the not-too-distant future. In fact, there have been some hints that one could come for the Infiniti brand.
The luxury marque was once scheduled to get a more lavishly executed version of the Leaf but that project was scuttled, company planners determining high-end buyers were demanding more range and performance, not just nicer leather seats.
In concept form, the IMx is more than just a battery-powered muscle car. The prototype on display in Tokyo also features a variety of other futuristic technologies, such as artificial intelligence driven voice recognition capable of conversing with occupants in relatively natural speech.
(Click Here for TDB’s first drive in the 2018 Nissan Leaf.)
The AI technology also manages the vehicles fully autonomous driving system. And the flexible interior allows the Nissan IMx steering wheel to fold up and out of the way when operating in full hands-free mode creating a more living room-like cabin experience.
“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.”
But all things considered, unless one is stuck in Tokyo – or Los Angeles – traffic it would seem likely a motorist would want to switch to manual mode. The electric drive system in the Nissan IMx not only produces 516 lb-ft of torque but 429 horsepower.
Nissan isn’t revealing the size of the battery pack or the overall weight of the concept vehicle, so there’s no way to tell what 0 to 60 times and top speed are. And it’s also unclear what procedures were used to determine the car’s 373 mile range. It’s likely the Japanese test process, however, which means slightly lower numbers based on the U.S. EPA test cycle.
(To see more about Nissan’s future electrification plans, Click Here.)
Nonetheless, the IMx gives us a hint of what Nissan envisions for its line-up in the coming years as it ramps up its battery-electric line-up. And that means products that deliver much better performance and range than most of the BEVs on the road today.