Nissan shows 'working' BladeGlider Concept in Rio

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Almost three years ago, Nissan introduced the BladeGlider, a DeltaWing-inspired concept, at the Tokyo Motor Show. Aside from a few legal squabbles with a certain Don Panoz, it was a cool piece of machinery. The delta shape promised a 1+2 seating layout, while its all-electric powertrain featured a lithium-ion battery and multiple, in-wheel, electric motors. So naturally, Nissan tossed it on the back burner.

That was in March of 2015, but now, over a year later, Nissan is showing an updated BladeGlider. While all the cool mechanicals in the TMS concept were theoretical, the new BladeGlider debuting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is a "working prototype." The rear axle is home to a pair of 130-kilowatt (174 horsepower) electric motors that combine for a total output of 200 kw (268 ponies). Torque is monstrous, at 521 pound-feet, and energy storage is impressive, thanks to the 220-kWh lithium-ion battery.

Nissan's UK-based tech partner for its latest concept, Williams Advanced Engineering – yes, that Williams – estimates 62 miles per hour takes less than five seconds while the BladeGlider can take a driver and two friends up to 115 miles per hour. If handling is more important than speed, the new three-setting torque-vectoring system allows drivers to select between an Agile setting and a Drift setting – please don't let a Drift button be the next Sport Mode, showing up on cars that have no business drifting – or switch the system off.

Even though it's a working prototype, there are still some concept-y features in the two cars Nissan is showing in Rio – one's a static display model, while the other is for media and VIP demonstration rides. For example, there are rear-facing cameras behind the front wheels that pipe a feed into a pair of displays on each side of the central instrument cluster. Speaking of, it looks like one of the two displays in the IC is actually in the middle of the steering wheel, like on certain Formula 1 cars. And of course, the unique seating layout is worth mentioning – it's bizarre looking at such a small, simple dash, but we love the driver-focused nature. And according to Nissan, the 1+2 layout gives backseat passengers plenty of legroom and panoramic views.

With a pair of working concepts, including one offering demo drives, the BladeGlider is firmly on the front burner, again. We still have a lot of questions – what are the BladeGlider's range and charging time, for example – but Nissan's newest concept could be the cheap, volume-produced, all-electric sports car that green enthusiasts have been craving. The BladeGlider may only be a concept right now, but based on what we know so far, Nissan might be moving beyond all-electric "appliances."

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