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Is the Townpod the next Nissan EV?

Nissan has three all-electric concepts on display at the Tokyo Motor Show: the Pivo 3, the Esflow and the Townpod. One's a funky technological wonder with futuristic self-parking prowess and seating for three, one's a very sexy two-door sports car with a sub 5-second 0-60 time and one is a crossover with lots of flexible interior space.

Speaking with Brad Berman of, Nissan's director of product planning for North America, Mark Perry let it be known that one member of this diverse group will get the green light for production and become the company's fourth EV. But which one?

While some execs are hinting the Pivo might see production, we aren't convinced. It seems better suited to its role as a technology development platform then an urban commuter, and the costs to produce it could put it out of the reach of the few that could get past its 22nd century appearance. Of course, if Nissan nixed the unproven in-wheel motors they might be able to price in some amount of profit margin, but they're a large part of what makes the Pivo so special. If Nissan really wants to sell a three-seat city car, it might be better off going for something more along the lines of its 2007 Mixim Concept.

Then there's the Esflow. It's a stunning piece of automotive art with a twin-motor setup that out-accelerates the company's other high-performance electric, the Nissan Leaf NISMO RC. (Why they didn't put the Esflow drivetrain in the RC is one of those questions that keeps us up at nights. It just makes no sense.) While our heart says the world could always use another battery-powered sports car, our mind interrupts our canyon road-carving daydream with a reminder of the stark reality that the automaker needs a high-volume product.

All of this leads us to the Townpod EV Concept. Unveiled at last year's Paris Motor Show, it works as either a commercial or personal vehicle and offers tons of functionality with room for five passengers and lots of cargo. Like Berman, we think this could well be the one. Why else drag it out of the closet more than a year after its debut if it didn't have some significance going forward? We think the fascia's a bit odd looking – and we're not alone – but then again, we weren't overwhelmed by the front end of the Nissan Leaf when it first appeared either, but it's grown on us.

So, what do you think? If you were Nissan, which of these three designs would you invest a billion-or-so dollars to put into production. Let us know in the comment section.

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