Nissan’s Mixim looks like no other small city car. The dramatic swept-back wraparound windscreen is the dominant feature, inspired by a crash helmet’s visor. The flowing roofline finishes at a sharply truncated rear hatch. Large scissor-hinged doors encroach into the roof making access easy.
Behind the F1-style, centrally mounted driver’s seat are two passenger seats, while a further occasional seat is slotted in behind in the spacious luggage area. The driver’s seat can move aside to aid passengers’ entry and exit.
With a potential maximum range of 250km from the two 50kW electric motors. The futuristic laminate Lithium-Ion batteries are quick to recharge; from discharged to fully charged takes between 20 and 40 minutes, or less time than the average lunch-break.
Mixim has a 2530mm wheelbase, and is just 3700mm long, 1800mm wide and 1400mm high. Thus it is shorter and lower than a Nissan Micra, though slightly wider. The lightweight composite body allows a kerb weight of just 950kg.
Inside, the driver grasps a U-shaped steering wheel and there are rear view cameras in place of door mirrors, relaying the view from behind onto screens at each end of tes a virtual representation of the front wheels.
This is linked to real-time movement of the steering wheel to give the driver the impression of being in control of a single-seater racing car. From a steering input point of view that’s not too wide of the mark: Mixim needs just half a turn to go from lock-to-lock.
The U-shaped steering wheel resembles a computer race game controller. As with F1 racers, the wheel incorporates switches for control functions. The Mixim concept was shown for the first time at Frankfurt in 2007 and was designed by Nissan’s Japanese think-tank that’s looking well over the horizon, to cater to the needs of the young drivers of 2020.
These drivers will have been brought up in the age of computers and the internet and will be comfortable with virtual friendships and relationships, according to Nissan’s futurologists. They will not feel as passionate about cars as previous generations; rather to Inoue, the chief designer of Nissan’s exploratory design studio, led a design team with an average age of just 25 to create Mixim, a new merging of the most up-to-date electric vehicle technology in a svelte and distinctive coupé shape.
“We wanted to create an icon for this digital generation… something that went far beyond the stereotypes to which their parents tend to be attracted,” he said.
The ‘Super Motor’ features dual rotors inside and outside, a single stator coil and, as a result, can output power through two shafts at the same time. By controlling the power output of each shaft separately, it is possible to drive right and left wheels independently.
Thanks to the use of compound current, the ‘Super Motor’ offers greater power density than conventional motors. As well as powering pure electric vehicles, the ‘Super Motor’ has application potential for petrol/electric hybrids and fuel cell vehicles.
Unlike a conventional Lithium-Ion battery with its bulky cylindrical cells, Nissan’s Lithium-Ion battery uses thin laminated cells and has fewer components overall. This boosts its power by a factor of 1.5 at the same time as halving its physical size.
The cell construction, in turn, means a thin modular design is possible with a commensurate improvement in battery cooling efficiency. Higher power outputs are also achieved through material improvements made to its lithium manganate positive electrode and carbon negative electrode.
This small yet more powerful battery also provides packaging advantages. Locating the compact cells under the floor of the car not only lowers the centre of gravity, but also permits the development of a low, flat floor with commensurate gains in interior space.