By on September 9, 2019

nissan imx concept

Despite bringing the electric Leaf to market while the rest of the industry was still scratching its head over how to handle EVs, Nissan has since lost its lead. Eager to get back into the race, the automaker is putting together what it hopes will be a market-friendly model utilizing battery power. It previewed a pre-production concept to U.S. dealers last month.

While the clandestine nature of its debut leaves a lot up in the air, it’s clearly aimed at besting the latest and greatest coming from rival manufacturers. Range will be in the neighborhood of 300 miles, with room for five and sprightly acceleration. The shape? Crossover, obviously. 

Nissan’s Leaf now has an E+ variant with a range of 226 miles. It’s an improvement but is still trailing long-range variants of Tesla’s Model 3 and remains a smidgen behind Chevrolet’s Bolt. The Leaf also happens to be a car, resulting in a profile that encourages greater efficiency but is at odds with consumer tastes. While the idea of adding mass to a vehicle that’s supposed to be eco friendly is undeniably backwards, premium automakers have begun pushing electrified crossovers into the marketplace. The logic here is that people tend to prefer crossovers and going with a bigger platform leaves extra space for a bigger battery (more range) and people (more sales).

Nameless at present, Nissan’s new EV is supposed to be based upon the IMx concept (above) that debuted in 2017 and will be the first model to utilize the automaker’s new electric vehicle platform. According to Automotive News, the concept crossover is currently being tweaked into a more production-ready format and will be arriving in the U.S. during the second half of 2021. Dealers claimed it was roughly the size of Nissan’s Rogue with a bit more interior space. The unit’s rush to 60 mph was suggested to take about 5 seconds.

From Automotive News:

One dealer who saw the vehicle told Automotive News that it has a roomy passenger cabin, with a “futuristic” look that is “like nothing on the market.”

The cockpit features a digital dashboard that stays hidden until the vehicle is turned on.

“When you get in the car, all you see is a pulsating start button,” a dealer said. Pushing the start button brings the high-resolution display to life.

The design reflects an industry trend to use touch-sensitive buttons in place of traditional dials and knobs. Like the new Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model 3, the Nissan crossover has a dashboard devoid of physical buttons.

The production version of the crossover has a shorter hood than the IMx concept, dealers said.

As the mystery model currently requires a bit of surgery before a production-ready version graces us with its presence, we’re not banking on any of those inclusions staying. But the vehicle is supposed to receive the latest version of Nissan’s ProPilot driving suite. Version 2.0 is already available in Japan and is supposed to offer hands-free driving on expressways. Motorists will still be required to maintain control when exiting/entering those areas, however. While we’ve heard the system doesn’t function seamlessly, it’s a cut above the old version of ProPilot and is supposed to function similarly to Cadillac’s SuperCruise. However, there are some regulatory and mapping issues that need to be address before the system can be deployed in the United States.


[Images: Nissan]

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