► Nissan will double its EV line-up
► Coming in 2020
► 373 mile range a possibility
The Nissan Leaf
has been left dangling for nearly a decade as Nissan’s sole electric car, but that will change in 2020 as a zero emissions crossover joins the range. Based on the IMx concept car
, the production EV is a four-door crossover SUV that’s larger in size and battery range than the Leaf hatchback.
‘The [IMx] concept is not far away from what you’ll see next,’ says Roel de Vries, Nissan’s global head of marketing. ‘This is going to be pretty real, pretty soon. We are going to bring more electric vehicles to market.’
The production IMx will be a global vehicle, with UK sales expected in late 2020. The vehicle’s larger size naturally enables a battery pack larger than in the 62kWh Leaf e+, which can travel 239 miles between charges. Nissan predicted a 373-mile (600km) range in the IMx concept.
That’s identical to Ford’s claim for its first new-generation electric vehicle – the Ford Mach-E
– another crossover SUV coming in 2020, but with a design inspired by the iconic Mustang muscle car.’
IMx concept: what you need to know
The IMx concept is said to represent the 'three brand pillars' that represent Nissan Intelligent Mobility. But behind this newspeak, there's a genuine desire at Nissan to push electrification and autonomy, and the IMx is the visualisation of this plan.
It's unlikely to reach production in anything like this form, but this does signal an intent to massively expand it's EV range. There are some bold numbers attached to the IMx.
Nissan says it develops more than 400bhp, and has a range of approaching 400 miles. Measuring almost 4.7m long, it's a C- to D-segment SUV. When asked if this car was going to be the next Juke or Qashqai, Nissan's design director Alfonso Albaisa replied with a firm 'no'.
Instead, it's likely at least until the mid-2020s, Nissan's EV strategy will be separate from its ICE model line-up – after that point in time, the convergence is likely to happen.
Less of that, what's under the IMx's sexy skin?
It sits on a bespoke EV platform and is powered by an uprated high-power battery that runs a pair of electric motors, mounted on each axle. The numbers are impressive – 429bhp and 516lb ft, although as a motor show concept that Alfonso Albaisa says drives ‘pretty rough’, there are no performance figures quoted.
Inside, it’s packed with tech. A steering wheel that folds away when autonomous drive is selected, and a 180-degree OLED screen that replaces the traditional dashboard. This is mounted at the base of the windscreen and augments the view into the road, with further information.
It has an uprated version of the Propilot system recently launched on the Nissan Leaf, which allows for driverless autonomy – so, you can drop it off, and Nissan says it will park itself.
It can find parking bays with induction pads to charge itself up while you’re away, and it will even (they say) push power back into the grid in order to reduce electricity bills.
Does this signal a renewed attack on the EV market from Nissan?
You bet. Takao Asami, Senior Vice President of Nissan Research and Advanced Engineering told us that this car was the most significant reveal at the 2017 Tokyo motor show – interesting as it was also the debut show for the Leaf.
Nissan has made huge investment into its EV development program, and by 2022, it aims to have a family of 12 EVs on sale, based on an all-new flexible platform. Ex-Renault-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn announced in September 2017 that not only would there be a dozen new EVs, but a 'robo-vehicle ride-hailing service.'