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The futuristic electric ride

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The future is driverless and electric, according to Nissan. At the Tokyo Motor Show the automaker unveiled its Nissan IMx concept, which is designed to preview a potential future global Nissan crossover and a future version of Nissan's Intelligent Mobility autonomous tech.

The Rogue-sized CUV sports dual motors, all-wheel drive, and the theoretical ability to travel around 370 miles on a single charge.

Aesthetically, the IMx's design both in and out is pure concept fantasy, but it does hint at the direction of a potential future electric SUV. It wears an aggressive evolution of Nissan's current design language with a sporty fastbacklike roofline.

Inside, the IMx has four individual seats, a steering wheel that recesses into the woodlike trim-which surrounds the whole cabin-and a panoramic instrument cluster that functions as an augmented reality head-up display. Infotainment system controls are apparently controlled by eye gestures while manually driving and by hand movements in autonomous mode.

The very real future technologies baked into the IMx are what allow Nissan to experiment so greatly with the IMx's sheet metal and cabin.

Underpinning the IMx is a new, scalable EV platform, anchored by a "redesigned and re-engineered battery." This new modular platform will be used for everything from compact cars to SUVs, and it'll underpin the 12 EVs that the Nissan, Renault, and Mitsubishi Alliance have committed to building by 2022. The new battery will also be shared with Alliance members.

Unrelated to the new Nissan Leaf's coming long-range 60-kW-hr battery, the IMx concept's pack gives it the ability to travel around 370 miles on a single charge, based on the lenient Japanese EV test cycle. Powering the IMx is a Tesla-style dual-motor system with an electric motor at either axle. Total combined output is 429 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque.

The IMx includes a future version of Nissan's ProPilot autonomous driving technology. This future ProPilot system includes nine radar sensors, 12 cameras, six laser scanners, and 12 sonar sensors, with each sensor having a dedicated role.

When engaged, this fully autonomous version of ProPilot recesses the steering wheel into the dash, drops the gas and brake pedals into the floor, and reclines all four seats in the cabin.

ProPilot's autonomous features are still in use even in manual mode. Nissan says the sensors will work in conjunction with the cockpit's augmented reality dash, helping guide the driver down narrow roadways with Narrow Path Assist and highlighting conditions and obstacles the driver must be aware of such as children who might run out into the road or fast-moving traffic coming up from behind.

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