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Nissan's bold concept prefaces future electric car

Date: 30 August 2007   |   Author: Guy Bird

The futuristic Mixim concept will be the star of Nissan's Frankfurt show stand next week boasting electric four-wheel drive power, bold 'supermini coupe' exterior looks plus a radical three-plus-one seating layout and computer-inspired dashboard. Nissan hopes today's teenagers will go mad for such a car in 2020, but should fleets care about it right now? A bit, is the short answer.

Based on a modified version of Nissan's B-platform used for the Micra and Note (it's wider than the former but shorter and lower) it showcases an advanced fully electric powertrain. Two 50kW electric power units drive each set of wheels (making it all-wheel drive) and new compact lithium-ion batteries are flat-packed below the floor for better interior space. A 150-mile plus range, 112mph top speed and super-quick 20 to 40-minute recharge are predicted.

These figures might be pie in the sky today but such targets should be met more quickly following Nissan's recently signed joint venture with NEC Corporation - called the Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC) - that will develop, manufacture and market such batteries. As part of its 'Nissan Green Program 2010', the carmaker has pledged to have a fully electric car by "early in the next decade".

What global fleets can expect sooner is an also pledged conventionally engined small car offering about 94mpg (three litres per 100km) plus a in-house-developed hybrid - both from 2010.

For François Bancon, manager of Nissan's exploratory and advance planning department, the Mixim is far from fanciful: "The young identify with electricity. It's what they use to power their computers and iPods. For Mixim, no other power source was considered. In 2015 or 2020, you will be green or you won't exist. By using existing technology, albeit the most advanced technology we currently have, Mixim is more than a show car. It is a serious statement of intent."