Four-wheel drive, 3.7-metre Mixim concept showcases new battery technology
29 August 2007

The first fruit of Nissan’s overarching program to develop more sustainable transport has arrived in the shape of a small, sharp-edged, all-electric supermini called the Mixim. This incredible-looking battery-powered hatchback will be shown at September’s Frankfurt show. At 3.7-metres, it’s slightly shorter and lower than Nissan’s Micra supermini; however, unlike the Micra, it’s powered by two of Nissan’s brand new ‘Super Motor’ electric motors and is four-wheel drive, and Nissan claims that it’s capable of “sporting performance unexpected from an electric vehicle”.

Supercar cues in a supermini-sized hatchback

The Mixim, says Nissan, is a car designed to appeal to younger customers who might have lost interest in small cars and spend their time on computers. It’s an outlandish three-door with rakish lines, pillar-hinged gullwing doors and a wraparound windscreen inspired by the visor of a crash helmet. Inside you’ll find an unusual 3+1 seating arrangement; the driver sits up front on his own in the centre of the cabin, while two passengers sit behind and on either side of him, and a fourth smaller passenger travels immediately behind him. The dashboard and primary controls have been designed to be familiar to computer gamers.

Powered by your laptop battery

Unlike the Honda Civic Hybrid or Toyota Prius, the Mixim is all-electric, and the first vehicle to show the potential of Nissan’s commitment to perfect an application of lithium-ion batteries in a car. Back in April 2007, the Japanese car-maker announced a joint-venture with electronics giant NEC to invest £2mil in making lithium-ion rechargeable batteries – the same sort that have revolutionised the portable electronics industry – work in a car. It’s planning a series of boxy all-electric concept cars for exhibition next year, all of which will adopt the lithium-ion powerpacks, but Mixim is the first to use it. And the result, says Nissan, is that Mixim “has unusually rapid performance combined with a usefully extended range.”So are we looking at the Micra of 2017? Autocar certainly hopes so; it’d be a positive reason to charge towards your nearest Nissan dealership, we’d say.

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