This odd-looking pod-on-wheels, a concept car from Nissan, will be on display at the 2007 Tokyo auto show. Pivo 2 was designed as an urban car, with excellent maneuverability and an electric drive. The chassis of the car doesn't have a front or back--instead, the pod revolves, letting the driver face whichever direction needs to be front. No more 238-point turns as you try to get out of a cul-de-sac. For parking flexibility, all of the wheels can turn 90 degrees, so the car can parallel park by sliding sideways into a spot. We definitely need one of these in San Francisco.
The car is electrically driven, making it environmentally friendly. Four in-wheel motors get electricity from compact lithium-ion batteries, although Nissan offers no specifications for range or kilowatts. The drive controls may look a little Fisher-Price, but they are practical. Buttons in the center of the steering wheel turn the wheels and the pod. A video screen on the upper right of the wheel shows the car in relation to its surroundings, in an overhead view, and would probably show navigation, as well. And that little guy popping up on the left? He's what Nissan calls a "Robotic Agent." You can talk to him about how the car is running and he can tell you the location of the nearest parking spot.
We saw the first Pivo concept car at the 2005 Tokyo auto show. Follow our coverage of the 2007 Tokyo auto show starting October 24 for more information on Pivo 2, and the four other models Nissan has promised.