When we wrote about the Nissan IMx concept that appeared at the Tokyo motor show last year, we said it would not use the LEAF chassis that has served the company so well. But a new report by Autocar indicates that a production version of the IMx all wheel drive electric SUV is scheduled to appear as early as 2020 and that it will be built on the LEAF chassis. Of course, there is the possibility that Nissan has altered the chassis of the LEAF somewhat for the second generation of the car. Using the same chassis to build multiple models is the key to profitability in the car business.
The concept that has been making the rounds on the international show circuit has the battery fitted low in the chassis, as befits a proper battery electric car. It has dual motors with a total of 429 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. Stated range is 380 miles, which will probably be about a third less using the EPA standard. That’s still a useful range of 250 miles. It also features ProPilot, a self driving system similar to Tesla’s Autopilot.
How does that stack up against other all wheel drive battery electric SUVs on the market? Well, there is the Tesla Model X. It has a claimed 518 horsepower and a range of 237 miles for the base car. Prices start at $79,500. Then there is the new Jaguar I-Pace. It has 394 horsepower, 512 lb-ft of torque, and a range of 240 miles. It starts at $69,500 in the US. The result? The Nissan IMx will give both the Tesla and the Jaguar a run for their money. Even though prices have not been announced, it’s a safe bet the IMx will cost tens of thousands of dollars less than either of its competitors. It won’t have a leaping cat on the bonnet or falcon wing doors, but saving $20,000 or more can go a long way toward offsetting those disadvantages.
Speaking to Autocar at Nissan’s design studio in London recently, Mamoru Aoki, head of design for Europe, said, “The IMx is not just a concept car. In a few years, it will appear [in production]. Of course, we have the new LEAF, but I think the IMx concept will become a breakthrough model.” He says he expects SUVs to account for one third of European sales by 2020.
“The interior is notably bigger than with a conventional vehicle and there’s much more usable space, thanks to the totally flat floor allowed by the [underfloor] battery pack. The dashboard is also pushed [forward] because the HVAC unit is under the bonnet.” The design of the IMx gives a clear indication of the way all Nissan products will look in the future. The IMx does “not have a masculine look or a heavy appearance, It has a light feel and sheer surfaces,” he says. “The exterior is very Japanese in its details — expressive but with purity and an expensive feeling.” For a lot of potential EV customers out there, the Nissan IMx may be exactly the car they have been waiting for.
Photo credits: Side3 News, Norway.
Hat tip to Leif Hansen
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