The long-awaited all-electric crossover utility concept from Nissan finally made its public debut Wednesday morning on the first press day at the Tokyo auto show.
Dubbed the Nissan IMx, the compact crossover concept includes both fully autonomous driving and an electric range given as more than 370 miles (600 km).
That range is likely on a Japanese test cycle that might translate to a U.S. equivalent of 300 miles or so, although Nissan did not specify a battery capacity for its concept.
The shape of the IMx is that of a sleek crossover, with large wheels, a liftgate to access the cargo bay, and the usual futuristic interior found in concept cars.
Autonomous driving is provided by "a future version of ProPilot," Nissan's active driver-assistance software.
When that mode is selected by the driver, the steering wheel retracts into the dashboard and all passenger seats recline somewhat. Drivers can retake control at any time by returning to "Manual" mode, Nissan says.
The IMx rides on the company's new electric-vehicle platform, one that will be shared by a future successor to the 2018 Nissan Leaf, several additional Nissan models, and other vehicles from alliance partners Renault and Mitsubishi as well.
With a completely flat battery under the floor and a pair of drive motors, one each at the front and rear axles, Nissan claims the IMx offers "sharp handling that promises to redefine the crossover segment."
Combined power of the two drive motors is quoted at 320 kilowatts (430 horsepower) and a substantial 516 pound-feet (700 Newton-meters) of torque.
The "high-capacity battery" in the IMx, Nissan says, has been "redesigned and re-engineered for increased energy density."
While the new electric-car underpinnings may be the most significant aspect of the IMx, it also embodies several design concepts that the company feels will take electric vehicles into the next decade.
Its designers were inspired by a pair of Japanese concepts: "ma, a sense of space and time, and wa (harmony), expressing the coexistence of two seemingly contradictory concepts, stillness and motion," according to Nissan.
That translates into a smooth design led by a bold, SUV-version of Nissan's V-shaped grille, a rising accent line along the side of the car, and large wheels that in production would likely be accompanied by increased ground clearance.
The design, Nissan says, is intended to convey a sense of what makes electric cars special, conveying their "quiet and smooth" operation "with a sense of light, yet powerful and dynamic" in its lines.
The interior blends openness with a sense of privacy, starting with a wide OLED instrument panel that includes an exterior panorama in its background graphics.
Below that, and wrapping around into the door trims, is a separate display with a wood-grained pattern that Nissan says is meant to convey a "subtle sense of the outside," like the traditional shoji paper screen.
Drivers control the various functions on the instrument panel with hand gestures and eye movements, though we'd bet on more conventional knobs, levers, and switches in any production version of the IMx.
“The IMx zero-emission crossover concept vehicle embodies the future of Nissan Intelligent Mobility,” said Daniele Schillaci, executive vice president for global marketing and sales, zero-emission vehicles and the battery business.
“Through Nissan Intelligent Mobility, Nissan is committed to changing the way people and cars communicate, as well as how cars interact with society in the near future and beyond.
For updates on all the concept cars and production vehicles at the show, see our Tokyo auto show news page.