The next phase of Nissan's EV plans for the U.S. are finally taking shape, although we're not yet privy to the exact contours of those plans. Automotive News reports that the Japanese carmaker previewed a compact EV crossover for U.S. dealers last month, expected to be the production version of the IMx concept shown at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, and perhaps with a touch of the chunkier IMx Kuro concept thrown in. According to dealers at the preview, the crossover will be roughly the size of a Rogue with the cabin space of the larger Murano, seat five, dash to 60 miles per hour in fewer than five seconds and run for 300 miles on a charge. Built on a new, dedicated platform, the people hauler will be one of eight new all-electric models to be launched globally over the coming years, but it isn't expected here until late 2021.
AN claimed the production vehicle's look are only "loosely based" on the IMx concept, with one change being a shorter hood on the retail model. The powertrain will undoubtedly come in for revision as well, the IMx concept's twin-motor system putting out 429 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, turning both axles on the way to a 373-mile range. Even with advances in battery tech, those figures would likely put the crossover beyond the mainstream pricing Nissan would target. The carmaker didn't reveal battery capacity at the dealer meeting, but AN estimates a pack with as much as 85 kWh.
The tech suite sounds closer to the IMx, though. The previewed crossover took the same minimalist approach as Tesla and Porsche, a dealer telling AN the only visible button on the instrument panel is "a pulsating start button." A high-res digital instrument cluster lights up when that button is pushed. If Nissan can get the high-res, 3D, centimeter-scale digital maps it needs in time for production, the next-generation ProPilot should feature. That could bring hands-free highway driving from on-ramp to off-ramp, the ability to pass cars without driver input, and the ability to take directions from the navigation system.
A production concept could make an appearance at next month's Tokyo Motor Show. If that happens, the Nissan will join possible production previews of the Mazda Vision Coupe, next-gen Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86, Acura NSX Type R, and Honda EV Sports concept as must-see cars.