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Nissan set to electrify Rio with new concept

Three-seat BladeGlider features aerodynamic design and electric power

Published: August 4, 2016, 10:30 PM
Updated: August 10, 2016, 1:30 AM

Nissan BladeGlider

Nissan BladeGlider Deltawing logo

Just in time for the opening of the Rio Olympics, Nissan has unveiled a working prototype of its futuristic BladeGlider, an electric sports car tracing roots back to the revolutionary Deltawing race car.

The 3-seat cars were developed from a concept of the same name, shown at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. They are at the greatest sport festival in the world to showcase Nissan’s commitment to future environmentally friendly transportation even in performance oriented cars.

“These prototypes epitomize Nissan's drive to expand its Intelligent Mobility philosophy, where driving pleasure combines with environmental responsibility,” declared Brazilian Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s president and CEO. “Nissan believes that enthusiasts should look forward to a zero emission future and Nissan BladeGlider is … the electric vehicle for car lovers.”

Nissan BladeGlider scissor doors

The idea behind BladeGlider was to create an agile, efficient electric car that would provide new dimensions of driving excitement, gliding through everyday driving chores in near silence, thanks to the EV powertrain and aerodynamically efficient shape.

The working prototype evolved from the static concept in Tokyo with scissor doors that are now rear hinged to allow easier entry to car occupants, and there is a full structural member that flows over the cabin for occupant protection (without doing away with the open-top exhilaration of an open-cockpit race car). The waistline climbs steadily and smoothly from front to rear, creating a wedge design that conveys speed.

Nissan BladeGlider

The car continues with an advanced chassis configuration where the front track is considerably narrower than the rear, which Nissan says improves aerodynamic efficiency and handling stability. The rear drive wheels feature two 130kW motors (one at each wheel) provided by UK-based Williams Advanced Engineering, that help the car get to 100 km/h in less than five seconds, on its way to a 190 km/h top speed. Overall power is rated at 200 kW (268 hp) while torque is rated at 521 lb-ft.

The motors are fed by a 220 kWh battery, with a bespoke cooling system to keep it performing at its best. The motors also get bespoke coolers.

Torque vectoring is used to control the torque to the driven wheels, sending more torque to the outside wheel as needed to maintain handling balance. The system is driver controlled with drift and agile modes, or it can be switched off completely.

Nissan BladeGlider seats

The cabin arrangement is for a centrally mounted driver and two offset passengers behind, with all highly-supportive Recaro high-backed racing-style seats featuring four-point safety harnesses. They are trimmed in fabric and epoxy-resin coating to create a tough, grippy material to comfortably keep occupants in place at performance extremes.

They’re trimmed in either Cyber Green or Stealth Orange, used on the upper portions of the seats and around the seat cushion, as well as showing through the fabric at the front of the cushions. The bands of colour are framed in a silver reflective material that catches the eye.

Nissan BladeGlider cockpit

The cockpit features an advanced and extensive display with all controls located on the steering wheel. The main instrument display in front of the drive is offset on each side with video displays that act as side view mirrors through cameras located just behind the front wheels. Doing away with side mirrors aids aerodynamics without impeding rearward visibility.

Two cars will be in Rio — one as a static display and the other offering rides to media and VIPs.