Nissan Motor Co., Ltd used the Rio Olympics as the platform to unveil the working prototype of its futuristic zero-emissions sportscar, the Bladeglider.
The design of the Bladeglider is inspired by concept cars that made their debut at the 2013 edition of the Tokyo Auto Show. The Bladeglider tries to combine in one vehicle the high performance of sports cars, Intelligent Mobility and zero-emissions technology that has minimal impact on the environment.
Speaking about the Bladeglider, Carlos Ghosn, President and Chief Executive Officer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., said that the prototypes showcases Nissan’s quest to extend its Intelligent Mobility philosophy to all its models, and combine driving pleasure with environmental responsibility. Nissan strongly believes that motorists should benefit from a zero emission future and he feels the BladeGlider aptly fulfils all these criteria as an electric vehicle for car-lovers.
Nissan has made considerable advances in the development of zero-emission vehicles and new automotive technologies like connectivity and autonomous drive systems. The Bladeglider forms part of the company’s initiative in this regard. Nissan’s LEAF has already emerged as the highest volume zero-emission car in the world, and is working extensively on pioneering Intelligent Mobility systems that is likely to be deployed in a number of models in the near future. Nissan’s aim with the Bladeglider was to come up with an agile, efficient EV that would provide motorists with excitement and driving fun that is worthy of a sports car. In fact the Bladeglider is positioned as a car that would ‘glide’, as its electric powertrain and aerodynamic shape makes it a near-silent performer. The Nissan team spent close to two years working on the design, engineering and development of the BladeGlider which truly exemplifies advanced EV performance. The demonstration model of the BladeGlider comes with an advanced chassis configuration that is characterized by a narrow front track and wider rear track for optimum aerodynamic efficiency and handling stability. The stylish high-waisted, rear-hinged dihedral doors provide easy exit and entry into the cabin and the vehicle’s open roof is reinforced with an integrated roll-over protection structure, thus combining the fun aspect of an open roof with the safety of a coupé.
The information from the wheel-mounted controls for BladeGlider’s systems feed into an advanced display system that shows at one glance the speed, state of battery charge, regeneration mode and torque map. The central display is flanked by two screens, displaying images obtained by the rear-view cameras that are mounted just behind the front wheels. These cameras function as alternatives to door-mounted mirrors and improve the aerodynamic efficiency of BladeGlider. The car has room for the driver and two passengers who enjoy plenty of legroom in an arrowhead formation. All occupants enjoy a panoramic view due to the seamless cockpit windscreen.
The Bladeglider is completely powered by electricity thanks to the exceptional powertrain developed by Nissan’s technical partner for the BladeGlider project, UK-based Williams Advanced Engineering. The demonstration models can attain a maximum speed of 190km/h, with the vehicle going from 0-100km/h in less than 5 seconds. The rear wheels’ drive is provided by two 130kW electric motors – one for each wheel.
Torque vectoring which precisely controls the torque delivered to the driven wheels improves the handling even further. In the event that the car starts to understeer, the torque to the outside wheel is automatically adjusted to restore the handling balance. The torque vectoring systems has three settings: off, agile and drift mode. Power comes from a high performance five module lithium-ion 220kW battery and bespoke cooling systems have been developed for both the battery and the motors.
The interiors of the BladeGlider resemble those of exclusive sports cars. Each occupant has 4 point safety harnesses and the seats offer outstanding support to the sides and legs of the driver and passengers. The seats are trimmed in a highly tactile blend of fabric and epoxy resin coating, resulting in a tough and grippy material that has the effect of comfortably adhering occupants securely in place.
The cars available in two color trims – Cyber Green and Stealth Orange. These colours are used for the upper portions of the seat back, and framed with a silver reflective material to create an eye-catching, sporty look. The base of the seats are in black, patterned material, with a band of green and orange trim framing the cushion.
Two BladeGliders were presented in Rio de Janeiro. One is on static display in Rio while the second BladeGlider is being used to offer dynamic rides to media and VIPs.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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