• Oct 20th 2009 at 11:47PM
  • 17

Nissan Land Glider Concept - Click above for high-res image gallery

At the Tokyo Motor Show this morning, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn rolled silently onto the stage in the company's latest battery powered concept, the Land Glider. Like Volkswagen's One-Liter concep from the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Land Glider is a narrow-gauge tandem two-seater. However, that's where the similarities end.

The Nissan is purely battery powered, with a pair of rear-mounted electric motors receiving juice from a sub-floor lithium-ion battery pack. Ghosn referred to the Land Glider as a vehicle that offers quick acceleration thanks to its light weight and torquey electric motor. Topping up the batteries figures to be quick and painless as well, as the Land Glider features a non-contact charging system, meaning that drivers won't have to fiddle with any plugs, they can just pull into designated charging spaces.

Like some other tandem seat concepts that we've seen in the past, this one also leans into turns like a motorcycle – up to 17 degrees. Unlike those past concepts, however, Ghosn announced today that this model may reach showrooms in the not too distant future. Check out the complete press release after the jump as well as new high-res images live from the show floor in the gallery below.

Photos copyright ©2009 Drew Phillips / Weblogs, Inc.


Is it a Car or a Motorcycle?
-- Land Glider Leans into a Totally New Driving Experience --

Nissan's planning and design team were given a challenge: to explore new forms of zero emission mobility that redefined existing segments. The result was a radical new vehicle that combines the company's vision for future urban mobility with Nissan's great driving heritage.

In creating the Land Glider concept, Nissan planners and designers have conceived a totally new form of personal zero emission mobility that combines clever, new driving experiences, all in the one compact, 4-wheeled package.

With more than 50% of the world's population living in big cities in the near future, designers latched onto motorcycles as a credible base to start the design process.

While the agility, thrills and freedom of bikes inspired the designers and engineers, an extra spice was added to the mix. Tandem architecture became the obvious choice. A unique two-seater, cocoon-like structure sitting on a zero emission powertrain. With four-wheel stability and a sense of safety that originates from a tilting cabin, the Land Glider will appeal to both two- and four-wheel driving enthusiasts.

Targeted at city dwellers of all generations, the Land Glider is a serious motoring statement of the new era of mobility that Nissan intends to lead.

Cocoon in the shell
"The exterior incorporates a soft, sleek-looking body that appears to be protected by a special armor," explains Takashi Nakajima, Nissan's Project Design Director. "And while it is very mechanical in its nature, the four-wheeler boasts a dynamic body design that almost seems alive. As part of Nissan's expanding zero emission family, the Land Glider exudes a clean, friendly attitude."

The vehicle's two-seater tandem layout is enveloped in what seems like the canopy of a glider, while its unique `tilt' setup employs a special leaning function that holds occupants firmly in place even when the vehicle is cornering at angles. In developing the Land Glider, Nissan designers have created a two-seater that offers the sense of security of a cocoon, but delivers real driving pleasure.

Corner and lean
Described as a `personal city commuter,' the Land Glider features steering-by-wire and a lean capability when cornering ? like a motorcycle ? that enables the vehicle and its tires to lean by up to 17 degrees. Able to turn sharply at nearly any speed, the Land Glider employs sensors for vehicle speed, steering angle and yaw rate to instantly calculate the level of lean required to negotiate a corner. All the driver must do is turn and the cabin will lean accordingly. By enabling the car to lean, designers have succeeded in minimizing vehicle width and tire tread width, thus achieving a sleek, futuristic look.

Driven by rear electric motors
With drive coming from two electric motors in the rear powered by lithium-ion batteries mounted beneath the floor, the zero-emissions Land Glider is quick off the mark. The car also features a non-contact charging system that can be charged whilst shopping at a supermarket or stopping at a motorway service station. This system enables vehicles to be charged cable-less at locations where the infrastructure exists.

Collision Avoidance
To ensure maximum safety whilst driving, engineers have fitted a car-robotics style crash avoidance system in which sensors mounted in the body detect other vehicles in the same way as fish swim in schools without colliding. This system directs the vehicle's path away from any obstacles.*

Whilst Land Glider is a concept car created for the Tokyo Motor Show, it should not be regarded as a mere design study. This leaning machine gives a clear direction to how a future small car from Nissan could look in congested cities...a clue of what Nissan means by new era of mobility.

*: Refer to the CEATEC press release issued Oct. 1, 2009.

Overall Length (mm) 3,100
Overall Width (mm) 1,100
Overall Height (mm) 1,415
Wheelbase (mm) 2,180
Seating Capacity 2a

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just great... another toy for mall cops. Who, I hope you can tell, I despise.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ghosn looks so pleased and comfortable in that photo.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "...may reach showrooms in the not too distant future..."

      We love you Carlos. But you can be such a BS sometimes.

      • 5 Years Ago
      100% electric=awesome. Diminutive size=bad. I'd only be caught dead in it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't see how I could take someone seriously driving one of those. It is like an Air Force flight simulator on wheels, which despite sounding cool, this necessarily isn't. :/
        • 5 Years Ago
        Farmboy 12:10AM (10/21/2009)

        "I don't see how I could take someone seriously driving one of those. It is like an Air Force flight simulator on wheels, which despite sounding cool, this necessarily isn't"

        About as seriously as a guy driving a lifted truck in downtown Los-Angeles.
        Let's see...daily traffic jams, check, half our cities converted to parking lots, check, oil wars, check, oh yeah let's make fun of something that is practical and clean.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm not trying to hate on its purpose, just the design. This is one of many steps that can be taken. I think a traditional EV vehicle styling like a sedan is more appealing than a one-seater. Then again, I'm not an expert. Maybe this is the best solution for the start, and then build up from there. I think your comment started off tackling mine, and then diverging into another topic.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nissan should concentrate on vehicles that can be run on abundent fuels like natural gas rather than these strange little electrics.
        • 5 Years Ago
        yes.. the whole combustion engine thing was folly all along.
        we should have just concentrated on breeding horses with more stamina...
        actually... the whole horse thing was nuts...
        we should have just concentrated on training to run further ourselves...
        I don't know why people persist in trying change when the first iterations of new things are never as developed as the mature products and ideas of yesterday.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Obviously, the Folks at Nissan don't drive on I-70 in the snow at 70mph being passed by Tractor Trailers...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ah yes. Another great concept like SIMPLE or CLEVER, or the VW seventy-billion miles between fill ups concept...

      None of which will ever be made, because the manufacturers do nothing but whine about how people don't really want to buy them.
      • 5 Years Ago

      "Natural gas? What makes you think that we should keep burning fossil fuels to move your fat arse?"

      As for big arses, speak for yourself fattie.

      Spare us the religious screed please. We've all had enough of you enviro-fundies and your superstitious, backward, faith-based belief in the evil of "fossil" fuels and global warming, or is it supposed to be called "climate change" this week.

      It ridiculous for Nissan to concentrate on electric micro-cars like this when there is no need for them. The US has vast reserves of natural gas. The technology to run vehicles on this fuel is decades old. There is no rational reason for these electric vehicles, only political ones.

      This Nissan is likely just another excuse for the Obama DOE to give away another billion of borrowed money to another sham electric vehicle effort.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Rational reason: Having electrics mean you solve two problems at once. You don't have any direct emissions (very important for polluted cities), and when you clean/update the grid, the transportation sector benefits at the same time.

        Also don't forget we can make electricity with natural gas. Typical natural gas plants are around the 40% range in efficiency. Combined cycle plants are in the 60% range. And Cogeneration plants can reach 90%! Couple it to an EV that can reach 85% efficiency and you have very efficient usage of natural gas. And the best thing is if we switch the grid to renewable sources (as we are starting to do already), we don't have to change our car architecture.

        Your typical ICE gets around 20% efficiency. CNG maybe pushes it to 30% with higher compression, but you still lose 10-20% of that from having to run a multi-speed transmission vs a reduction gear in an EV. With natural gas you are only fine if you plan to use natural gas forever. While natural gas will likely last for a while, it's pretty clear it won't last forever. I think the current initiative is to look for a way to move to renewable fuels, since we are going to spend money on advanced vehicles anyways. And it makes complete sense.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I just want to point out. Even if the "US doesn't need electric-micro cars" as you claim because we have massive amounts of natural gas, that doesn't mean Nissan shouldn't be looking into this. Not all research being done is done in the United States and they aren't just researching solely for the needs to the United States. It's also for Japan (which I'm pretty sure there are not massive amounts of natural gas buried underneath that country) and Europe, which both have issues with space.
      • 5 Years Ago
      All electric - good call!

      I wonder how much it actually helps leaning into a turn...the lateral load transfer it typically not effected much by roll. Maybe since this car is so narrow its actually helpful. Also, would the car leaning raise the CG?

      Oh...and please don't call it 'zero emissions'... a power plant had to produce that energy! (although the well-to-wheel emissions are still significantly lower)
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would like to see the cost of repairing a dented/ wrecked bumper for this car.
      Or does it has a bumper.....

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