The Renault Nissan alliance might be known for all-electric cars like the 2012 Nissan Leaf, 2012 Renault Fluence Z.E. and quirky Renault Twizy, but that doesn’t mean the two automakers aren’t interested in other forms of zero emissions cars.
At this year’s Paris Motor Show, Nissan will prove that point with the world premiere of its Terra Fuel Cell Crossover SUV Concept.
Due to make its debut on September 27, the Terra crossover SUV promises to combine Nissan’s existing production electric car technology with hydrogen fuel cells to give what it says is proof that “Nissan is ready to mass-produce fuel cell electric vehicles whenever hydrogen becomes widely available.”
Just under 164 inches in length, 71 inches wide, and 62 inches high, the Terra features seating for four, a flat load-bay floor, low roof-line, and rugged, off-road looks.
In fact, squint a little, and there’s a passing resemblance to Land Rover’s DC100, a rather angular SUV prototype from last year.
Under the hood, the Terra uses the same electric motor found in the 2012 Nissan Leaf to drive the front wheels, while a pair of in-wheel electric motors from Nissan’s Pivo concepts provide rear-wheel power.
As you’d expect with any concept car, there are a handful of features that we’re unlikely to see in any production car for the foreseeable future.
These include a dockable tablet instrument cluster which the driver removes when leaving the car and acts as an intelligent key, and a diagonal seat arrangement which places the drive at an almost central position, in front of all the passenger seats.
Although firmly a concept car, Nissan is keen to point out that the Terra is a functioning car instead of a basic clay model.
Providing the power to drive the electric motors, Nissan says, is a hydrogen fuel cell stack that achieves a world-leading power density of 2.5 kilowatts per liter. It also apparently costs one-sixth of the previous generation of hydrogen fuel cells Nissan demonstrated in 2005.
With hydrogen fuel cell technology still facing some tough challenges, it’s unlikely we’ll see the Terra make it to market as a production hydrogen fuel cell car just yet.
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