Timeless Japanese Futurism: Electric vehicles with vision of ‘Intelligent Mobility’

James Kon

In continuing to embark on breakthroughs with the latest technological advancements in the automobile industry, Japanese car maker Nissan through its vision of Intelligent Mobility unveiled two new concept vehicles at the recent Tokyo Motor Show 2019 held at the Tokyo Big Sight venue in the Ariake district of Tokyo’s Koto-ku.

As a crossover electric vehicle (EV), the Ariya Concept car was launched by Nissan together with the IMk, a powerful EV concept car that combines chic design with cutting-edge technologies.

The Nissan Ariya Concept EV car comes with twin electric motors, powerful acceleration, award-winning driver assistance technology and a look that signals a complete reinvention of the brand’s design.

The new Ariya Concept signals the new era for Nissan as the company embarks to redefine its brand philosophy for the next evolutionary phase of the automobile. The Ariya Concept features a spacious, premium cabin with high-tech features and a body that conveys the pure, clean nature of electric cars.

Nissan designed the Ariya Concept to fully embody the three pillars of Nissan Intelligent Mobility – Intelligent Driving, Intelligent Power and Intelligent Integration.

Combining advanced EV technology with a new level of seamless human-machine interface connectivity, it offers an entirely new driving experience.

“A new vehicle architecture means fresh opportunities to redefine how vehicles interact with society, how an EV paired with advanced driving capabilities can offer a new perspective,” said Nissan’s Senior Vice President of Global Design Alfonso Albaisa.

“With this vehicle and the IMk concept, we wanted to ensure that the soul of every Nissan car possess a distinctive Japanese DNA conveyed in a simple-yet-powerfully modern way, something we call ‘Timeless Japanese Futurism,’” he added.

Characterised by the concepts ‘sleek’, ‘seamless’ and ‘sexy’, the Nissan Ariya Concept features examples of this new design language throughout the exterior, including wide front fenders, super-thin LED headlights, as well as the front shield (typically a grille on a gasoline-powered vehicle) which is emblasoned with a bespoke, illuminated Nissan emblem.

The shield incorporates a subtle geometric pattern that reveals itself when the electrified V-motion signature is illuminated.

The Ariya Concept’s Suisei Blue paint scheme creates a dual appearance, depending on the distance viewed.

The IMk concept car by Nissan. PHOTOS: JAMES KON
Nissan’s 360 degree VR experience
Crowds at the Nissan Pavilion
The Nissan Ariya Concept car
ABOVE & BELOW: Nissan Elgrand; and GT-R Nismo

From afar, the deep blue colour takes on a matte-like finish. Upon closer inspection, large embedded glass flakes produce billions of light refractions, reminiscent of a comet crossing the night sky.

The Nissan Ariya Concept’s interior reflects a notion of seamlessness represented by the integration of technology with daily life and the precise nature of Japanese craftsmanship. It welcomes occupants as they step in the cabin with a feeling of expansion and openness.

The only physical controls are the start button – a single knob to operate the 12.3-inch display monitor – and the climate controls, which are artfully ingrained into the instrument panel’s genuine-wood lower section. The instrument panel transitions flawlessly into the doors and interior elements, to be out of sight when not in use.

Built with a high-performance, 100 per cent electric drive system, the Nissan Ariya Concept delivers instant torque to the wheels from a dual front/rear motor drive configuration. This layout delivers balanced, predictable power to all four wheels, equal or better than many premium sports cars.

The Ariya Concept promises excellent cornering performance and traction on slippery surfaces such as snow and loose dirt, without drivers needing to change their driving style, steering input or even pedal position.

It accomplishes this thanks to the high-power, twin-motor, all-wheel control system. Employing knowledge gained from years of vehicle control development – including the Nissan GT-R’s ATTESA E-TS torque split system and the Nissan Patrol’s intelligent 4X4 system – engineers created this new system to manage the EV’s power delivery and brakes automatically, ensuring smooth passage with minimal tyre slippage. Drivers can maintain their driving posture and comfort, letting the system do all the work.

Meanwhile, the IMk is designed with a compact body to create the “ultimate urban commuter”. Adopting the simplistic nature of traditional Japanese design, the exterior is characterised by flowing lines.

The Nissan IMk represents another step toward fully autonomous driving as well, coming with the latest technologies to assist and seamlessly connect drivers to the world.

Both concept cars are derived from Nissan’s Global Design Center, where Executive Design Director Satoru Tai focusses on Nissan’s next design horizon – a new direction that speaks in simple, clean lines. Tai-san sees a future where less is more in terms of what we see and what we interact with in our daily lives.

His first teaser of Nissan’s design direction was the IMk concept, revealed earlier this month as a prelude to the 46th Tokyo Motor Show. The vision came fully into focus at the show with the unveiling of the bold Ariya Concept.

Together, these electric vehicles promise to usher in a new era of design made possible by Nissan Intelligent Mobility, the company’s vision for changing how vehicles are powered, driven and connected to society. The Nissan Ariya Concept – the successor to the IMx concept vehicle shown at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show – provides a glimpse of a near-future midsize crossover EV from Nissan.

Other attractions were: the new Nissan Skyline, showcasing the company’s most advanced driver assistance technology on the road today, ProPILOT 2.0; the Nissan Serena, the company’s most popular minivan, equipped with the award-winning e-POWER system; the Nissan Dayz, the first commuter car equipped with ProPILO; the latest LEAF NISMO RC, a twin-electric motor racing machine representing the excitement of Nissan Intelligent Power; and the zero-emission Nissan LEAF e+, offering an enhanced EV driving and ownership experience. Motor show guests also experienced an additional lineup of cars, including the 50th anniversary Nissan GT-R and the GT-R NISMO. In addition, several examples of Nissan’s groundbreaking EV and electrified technologies were shown, including the Nissan Note e-POWER NISMO S Black Limited and the Serena e-POWER AUTECH edition.