Nissan's don't-call-it-a-concept BladeGlider

Nissan released photos and video today of the BladeGlider, an electric car with a very strange shape and seating structure.

Nissan BladeGlider
Nissan's electrically driven BladeGlider has a narrower front wheel track than rear. Nissan

There must be something a little strange in the water at Nissan design headquarters. Over the last few years it's produced such funky models as the Juke and the Murano CrossCabriolet. And proving the point further, the company just released photos and video of the BladeGlider, a vehicle it insists is not a concept.

The BladeGlider is a three-seater vehicle with an electric drivetrain. In Nissan's press materials, it points out the BladeGlider shares engineering principles with the Leaf .

While both use lithium ion batteries, the BladeGlider gets two in-wheel motors on the rear wheels, as opposed to the Leaf's single front-wheel-drive motor.

The BladeGlider's drive architecture probably comes as a necessary adjunct to its design, as it has a much narrower wheel track in front than in back. Such vehicles have a tendency to tip in corners, but the dual rear-wheel motors will let Nissan include a stability program that can overdrive the outside wheel in a turn.

Nissan BladeGlider
A very futuristic driver pod might serve as inspiration for future Nissan vehicles. Nissan

The driver seat sits in the center, sliding over to the side when the door opens to allow easy entry. Two rear seats provide extra passenger room. Given the balancing act of the car's architecture, the BladeGlider may only work with one or three passengers, but not two.

Nissan notes that the BladeGlider was begun as a clean-slate project, seeming to forget that it had already built, and raced, a car with a similar architecture, the DeltaWing .

Of course, Nissan's press release begins by saying the BladeGlider is "More than a concept," then goes on to use language -- describing the BladeGlider as the future of Nissan vehicle development -- that basically defines it as a concept.

If the styling of the BladeGlider fills you with desire, take heart; Nissan writes that it will "rule the roads of the not-so-distant future." Start holding your breath...now.

Read the full CNET Review

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The Bottom Line: The 2012 Nissan Leaf offers a good blend of affordability and all-around performance for city dwellers and suburbanites looking to go zero-emission, but its cruising range limits its appeal for long hauls. / Read full review

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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