|Nissan’s NuVu. Click to enlarge.
Among its introductions at the Paris Motor Show, Nissan unveiled a new production city car—the Pixo—and a battery-electric concept car highlighting Nissan’s focus on electric drive for the future, the NuVu.
Pixo, built in collaboration with Suzuki Motor in Delhi, India, is a five-door, four-seater featuring a three cylinder 1.0-liter engine. With its lightweight construction, it produces CO2 emissions as low as 103 g/km with fuel consumption of 4.6 L/100km (51 mpg US) on the combined cycle (NEDC). Pixo is available with manual or automatic transmissions.
|Nissan’s Pixo. Click to enlarge.
The 1.0-liter unit is the only engine option for Pixo. The engine develops 48 kW (64 hp) of power at 6,000 rpm and 90 Nm (66 lb-ft) of torque at 4,000 rpm. The five-speed manual version consumes 4.6 L/100km on the combined cycle, 4.3 L/100km (55 mpg US) on the extra urban cycle and 5.1 L/100km (46 mpg US) on the urban cycle.
Sales start from late spring 2009.
NuVu. Ongoing urbanization will force a radical rethink of the types of cars driven in cities, Nissan said, if levels of personal mobility are to be retained. Within the next five to seven years, some 55% of the world’s population will live in cities, the company said.
Nuvu is literally a ‘new view’ at the future of the city car. It is electric, of course, but as far as Nissan is concerned, for tomorrow’s city cars that is a given. No, the most important aspect of Nuvu is the interior design which provides great comfort and space in an intelligent package designed to make best use of our crowded roads and limited parking slots.
There is a new generation coming up who, finally, are questioning why we do the things we do. They are asking themselves, for example, why they are buying a large car when they know that for 99 percent of the time they will be in it on their own. It is our job to provide personal transportation that is better suited to people’s needs and to what the environment—in all senses—can cope with.—François Bancon, General Manager, Exploratory and Advance Planning Department, Product Strategy and Product Planning Division, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
Nissan has already announced plans to introduce an all-electric car in Japan and the US in 2010 and to mass-market it globally in 2012. Nuvu is not that car, although it does share some of the technology that will feature in the planned production vehicle. In addition to being a concept car, Nuvu is a fully working mobile test bed for much of the technology that will be used in Nissan’s production EV to be launched in 2010. The electric motor used in Nuvu is mounted at the rear of the vehicle and drives the back wheels, though neither its exact specification nor the power and torque figures are being released at this stage. Driving range will be 125 km (78 miles), with a top speed of 120 kph (75 mph).
The NuVu battery pack uses new laminated lithium-ion cells with a capacity of 140 Wh/kg. Nissan is not releasing further specs on the battery pack at this point. Development is being carried out by Automotive Energy Supply Corp. (AESC), a joint venture company set up by Nissan and NEC Group. The current energy density of AESC’s current L3-10 cells for EVs is 89 Wh/kg. (Earlier post.)
A complete quick charge should take between 10 to 20 minutes while a charge from a domestic 220V socket should take between three to four hours.
The NuVu is compact—3 meters (9.8 feet) long— and offers 2+1 seating. It is built on a unique platform, and sits on a wheelbase of 1,900mm, but is 1,700mm wide and 1,550 mm tall to create a large and airy cabin. The all-glass roof features a dozen or so small solar panels that contribute to the battery charge. Nuvu also uses natural, organic and recycled materials within the cabin.
Driver controls are as simple as possible. All the major functions—steering, braking, transmission and throttle—are ‘By-Wire’ while the steering is controlled by an aircraft-style steering yoke: with just one turn from lock to lock, the steering is very direct for agility and maneuverability in the city. Nuvu’s turning circle is 3.7 meters.
There are two pedals—for stop and go—stalks for minor controls and a digital instrument panel with dials for speed, distance covered and battery range. Two screens on the dashboard display the view behind the car—there are no door mirrors to disturb the airflow, but small cameras—and double as monitors for the Around View Camera which give a bird’s eye view of the car when maneuvering or parking.
NuVu uses low-energy LED head and tail lamps, and the heating and ventilation system filters and cleans the city air as it passes through the vehicle.