By on November 20, 2013


The radical, DeltaWing based Nissan BladeGlider electric car concept revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show will go into production within three years, according to Nissan’s engineering chief Andy Palmer. Nissan executives also confirmed that a test mule of the RWD electrically powered three seater is already functional and that Ben Bowlby, who originated the DeltaWing concept, is involved in the BladeGlider project.

Nissan sees the BladeGlider as an affordable sports car for young people. “When I was growing up the principle was that young people wanted a sports car and their parents hated the idea of them – the problem with all of today’s sports cars is that they are actually owned by parents,” said Palmer. “We are exploring ways of getting back to a sports car that is affordable, challenging and appealing for young people.”

The production version will be toned down considerably, with Nissan styling head Shiro Nakamura calling the BladeGlider “an extreme interpretation” of the concept. The delta shaped open roadster’s body is made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic and it has a centrally located driver’s seat, flanked by two passenger seats behind. The narrow front end is good for aero while the underbody creates downforce. Electric in-wheel motors, a first for a production EV if it does make it to mass assembly, are powered by lithium ion batteries positioned low and rearward. The BladeGlider has a 30:70 front:rear weight distribution.

“I’ve driven the prototype, and it is unlike anything I have sampled before,” said Palmer. “This is the car that takes advantage of all the packaging benefits of an electric powertrain. All that weight and the set-up of the front racks means that the car is incredibly pointy, but the rear track and downforce mean that you can catch the oversteer with amazing ease.”

Palmer confirmed the car will make production, slotting in below the 370Z in Nissan’s lineup and in price.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!


40 Comments on “Tokyo Motor Show 2013: Nissan BladeGlider To Go Into Production...”

  • avatar

    I’ll take a ‘new’ 1975-85 FWD Subaru, Datsun, or Toyota, rated over 30MPG city instead, thank you.

  • avatar

    Cue theme music, “It’s Ace and Gary the Ambiguously Gay Duo.”

    (I watched too much SNL back in those years.)

  • avatar

    My dyslexia just kicked in. My warped and aging mind read: “Tokyo Motor Show 2013: Nissan ‘Gall Bladder’ To Go Into Production”.

    Still looks like a very interesting vehicle just the same. Hey, it’s Wednesday, that’s all I got!

  • avatar

    Well it’s not a car, it’s a motorcycle. No cover, no place to store a tarp? It’s not, in a meaningful fashion, useful as a car, commuting, shopping, you know, all the useful things a car can do. And if you drive it somewhere, and it starts raining, you are screwed, so why not just buy a motorcycle? You can at least add saddle bags and a trunk to a motorcycle.

    • 0 avatar
      Shane Rimmer

      In no way does it make it more practical with regards to the things you mentioned, but, with this vehicle, you do not have to wear helmets nor do you need special licensing.

      • 0 avatar

        Unless the front tire is 3 feet wide, there are 2 front wheels for a total of 4. You won’t need a helmet because it’s a car. An incredibly impractical car.

        • 0 avatar
          Shane Rimmer

          That’s what I was saying. This has the advantage of being classified as a car, so it doesn’t require a helmet or motorcycle endorsement, so it might appeal to some people. I guess, as a car, it’d also have seat belts and air bags.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t have to wear a helmet anyway, and I have had a motorcycle license for 40 years. Imagine how little I care. (If you want a motorcycle license, you can take the MSF beginner motorcycling course, and upon satisfactory completion Texas issues you a license.)

  • avatar

    I still think that the 1+2 seating arrangement will doom this thing to novelty status and sales numbers, much like the Prowler and SSR. At least on a motorcycle the driver and passenger are connected. With this design the driver/passenger disconnect will be a deal breaker.

  • avatar

    However, consider that if the passengers and driver don’t really like each other, this may be the perfect car! Driver doesn’t even have to look at the passengers, much less listen to them complain about how they drive.
    For a single parent with two kids that fight all the time, it could be just right. If either kid starts in, just issue an atomic elbow.
    Of course, the loading order of driver/passengers would be a bit strange to get used to. Can the driver get out without stomping on the passenger’s feet?

  • avatar

    The low price RWD Nissan is going to look like a dong and have tandem seating? That sucks. Nissan better not take the horrible sales as evidence that the market does not want a cheap RWD Nissan.

    At least the BRZ shooting brake and Honda S1000 are good news this morning.

  • avatar

    “The production version will be toned down considerably”

    In other words it won’t drive, look, or be anything like the concept version! It’ll also have random bits from the Nissan parts pile chucked into it.

  • avatar

    Ah, the perfect companion vehicle for your early model Tribeca. Is there an optional long wheelbase version?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    It’s a Plymouth Prowler EV, with inboard tires.

    • 0 avatar

      Good call, very limited success, very niche product. However it could be fun and funky ride.

      Like racer-esq. said above: between the BRZ shooting brake and Honda S1000 we got some pretty interesting sporty cars coming up.

      • 0 avatar

        I am a big fan of the DeltaWing racing efforts. It is an interesting concept. The exact opposite of the reverse-trike layout preferred for performance oriented three wheel vehicles (e.g. Morgan, Campagna T-REX, Polaris Slingshot), but apparently made to work because of a strong rearward weight bias.

        My concern is that if this does not succeed Nissan will see that as evidence that the people just don’t want low cost sports cars. When in fact they may just not want phallic cars with layouts heavily compromised to provide the required rearward weight bias.

    • 0 avatar

      when it finally goes into production, it will look just like a Yugo.

  • avatar

    Do the safety tests in use all make assumptions that are not valid for this configuration? If I needed a personal commuter electric this might be better than a Leaf… after a few years of real world crash results come in.

  • avatar

    This is a very brave step for Nissan. I hope it works out well. As for myself, I’m kinda old school and I want my sport car to be have four corners with a wheel in each one of them.

  • avatar

    I don’t understand why everywhere I see an article about this concept people refer to the front shape as being good for aerodynamics. Surely Nissan isn’t making this claim and is just staying mum while autojournos display their ignorance? I can’t see how this would be remotely aerodynamic as it does nothing to reduce cross-sectional area and ensures that the full rear cross-section will be drag area. There’s no attempt to maintain attached flow to minimize wake area. I’d like to see a published drag coefficient for this, but my rough guess would be ~0.36-0.44

  • avatar

    If they turned this into a single-seat Leaf, would that be a Leaf It Alone?

  • avatar

    I love the DeltaWing concept for racing. But it does not translate. This is awful.

  • avatar

    This looks interesting, but doesn’t DeltaWing require something like 10:90 weight distribution to be useful? This does not look quite equivalent. Hard to tell without seeing the numbers.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Thanks, Dan for refreshing my memory about the hilarious SNL skit.

    In the back of my mind, the styling looked a little phallic in nature, but could not pinpoint where I had seen it earlier.

  • avatar

    The new DoorStop 9000.

  • avatar

    This car stinks. Makes as much sense as the Murano convertible.

  • avatar

    Let’s assume cheap enough for kids. $15k?

    At $15k, I’d buy it. Looks like fun.

    Kids don’t care about the funky seating. To them it’s fun. You can’t get busy in this car, though. But if it were $15k with no gas costs I can’t see why it wouldn’t sell to people who like its novelty.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey, I think that this is one really cool ride. However, it should be crossed with the Mazda Methane Diesel Hybrid and my DEMF. Click on my name to read about the DEMF on my blog.

      By the way bryanska: “You can’t get busy in this car?” Hell, I have “gotten busy” on a Honda bike and this actually has two rear seats. So my comment to you is…You limit yourself!

      My next comment is: I am not sure why it does not lose one seat to make for some necessary storage space. How many cars actually ever have three people in them that you see? 5%? Probably not that high, even on Thanksgiving weekend. So I like the overall concept, but the interior packaging makes no earthly sense to me. Its trying to be two different cars at once and loses its ties to both. Make it a two seat roadster and be done with it… My tennis bag fits anything.

      With the DEMF, this BladeGlider would be a 150 to 300 mpg commuter that would finally win me out over my highly modified black ‘94 Sebring Miata, which is still the coolest ride for the money out there IMHO. It leaves most cars in the dust that cost less than $70k and it beats about everything close to it in its performance level on mileage in that it will show 32mpg on a trip (if some one babied it, but I never do that). As for the DEMF, if it had the system, it would be faster than a Tesla on acceleration because it would have more going for it. It would out corner every car in the world with independent CPU wheel operation.

      Finally, I just have to see how these doors open… How does that work? Suicide doors? They can’t be gull wings… no top and, oh yah, what happens when it rains? Guess this will all come out in the final version. I still believe that EV’s are a temporary niche, but we’ll see.

  • avatar

    Nissan will end up envying the sales volume of the Smart and iQ.

  • avatar

    Give me this with a 1.6/2.0T and 6MT powertrain and I’m going to throw more money than you expect to drive this car. Electric-only or CVT-only and I stop caring because you clearly have as well.

  • avatar

    “Let’s assume cheap enough for kids. $15k?”

    Article says, “slotting in below the 370Z in Nissan’s lineup and in price.”

    So, no.

  • avatar

    I believe Peugeot is making a similar car and calling it the Ménage à trois…

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Jeff S: Yes I see where you are coming from but lets see what Ford does with the Mustang and Bronco brand. Ford is...
  • tomLU86: I think you mean the 2007 Malibu (not the 1997). It was an excellent car, I agree. Better than the CamCords?...
  • Jeff S: Tried to view this truck but the posting has been deleted which most likely means it sold.
  • Jeff S: @Nate–Without rust, low mileage, and good interior you would easily get 5k to 6k where I live and it...
  • Lie2me: ” no one more than 10 miles from a Mazda dealership seems to buy” Lol, you can always tell when...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber