Nissan Motor Co will be presenting a range of concept cars at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show but the most bizarre car is the electric Land Glider.
The Land Glider is approximately 110 cm wide and looks like it is a motorbike with a glass domed roof. The wheels and guards tilt to allow the car to lean when going around curves in the road.
The concept car is seriously being considered for Nissan’s luxury brand Infiniti.
Takashi Nakajima, director of exploratory design for Nissan said “This is our second phase of electric-vehicle design.”
The Land Glider uses individual electric motors positioned above its axles allowing the car to lean up to 17 degrees. This tilting action maintains stability and allows the car to take curves at high speed.
In 2007 Ryusuke Hayashi, a Nissan product planning manager became frustrated unable to find a car park in Tokyo. “I thought, if only my car was narrower, it would be easier to park.”
Now he is a product planning manager for the concept, “As a product planner, I wanted the car to be even narrower than what you see now. But our engineers decided it would be safer to drive if we made it a little wider.” So it was built 110 cm wide and 310 cm long.
The car is a two seater but like a motorbike the passenger sits behind the driver. This second seat may not make production due to dear impact issues that Nissan engineers are working on.
A one seater luxury car may sound crazy but Nakajima said the car is designed with the future in mind. “In the past five years, we were doing a lot of exploratory work on electric-vehicle concepts. And now today, we have a Leaf production car.”
Nissan has spent $2 billion on the Leaf manufacturing plant in Smyrna, Tenn., that includes the construction of the lithium ion battery plant. The Leaf is aimed at the family car market the Land Glider concept is not.
The concept is aimed at people who would like to ride a motorbike but don’t feel safe. Nakajima said “Maybe they feel like a motorcycle isn’t safe, this would satisfy the concerns of their family”.
“We want to position this car to be competitive against these alternatives.”