Published on July 13th, 2013 | by Tim Tyler14
Nissan Designing New Urban Personal Electric Transporter
Nissan has been working on a new concept vehicle that is designed to address growing congestion in European cities. Actually, this is a growing problem in large cities all around the world, and this type of urban personal electric transporter (UPET) could possibly be a key solution to easing congestion and lowering emissions in these places.
Nissan is not the first to explore this problem. Its alliance partner Renault has been toying with the similarly targeted Twizy for some time now. But Nissan think’s it can pick up where the Twizy leaves off. The Renault Twizy is marketed mainly as an alternative to scooters, while Nissan’s new car will combine the compactness and agility of a motorcycle with weather protection and a protective shell more akin to a conventional car.
Nissan’s head of product strategy and planning, Etienne Henry, says: “The Twizy is also trying to combine these, but we think there are optimizations possible with this kind of vehicle.” Henry declined to say when the car might actually be added to Nissan’s lineup.
Back in 2008, Nissan introduced an enclosed cabin Land Glider concept that had four wheels and took corners much like a motorcycle. While some think that this design may be incorporated into the new urban EV concept, Nissan has declined to confirm that.
Henry is not new to the concept market, he was previously the product manager for the first-generation Qashqai compact crossover. He expects the new EV to “successfully mix the motorcycle and car genres in the same way the Qashqai blended the strengths of a compact hatchback with the styling of an SUV. It’s clear we need to offer an efficiency in terms of compactness, of space usage. Probably this will have an answer to this question.”
Nissan and Renault are not the only manufacturers looking to get into personalized electric transport. During this year’s Geneva Auto Show, Toyota introduced its i-Road three-wheeled concept vehicle that will be part of a car-sharing program next year in Grenoble, France.