Nissan has shown off the Nissan PIVO 3, the latest generation of its PIVO electric microcar concept at the Tokyo motor show, and company boss Carlos Ghosn says it proves Nissan is "focused on innovation and excitement".
Andy Palmer, Nissan product planning chief commented: "We could build the car tomorrow. The tech is that far advanced already, but it's too early to market that car. EVs need to look like the Leaf at the moment as we don't want to alienate people from the technology."
The new Nissan PIVO 3 is deliberately much closer to conventional EVs on sale today than the previous outlandish PIVO of 2005 and PIVO 2 of 2007 concepts, and could be a production reality by 2016.
Ghosn said: “It [the PIVO 3] is a unique mobility service. It can park itself and hunt for spaces. When charging, it can either recharge or supply excess power to the grid.”
Nissan has confirmed the concept is all-wheel-drive and features an electric motor mounted in each wheel.
Nissan’s product-planning chief Francois Bancon says the PIVO 3 offers “a very new driving sensation”. This, he claims, is down to its McLaren F1-style central driving position, which offers much improved visibility and allows the driver to feel “like a driver in a one-seat race car”. The central front seat is flanked either side by a rear seat to create a 1+2 configuration.
Bancon also claims the PIVO 3’s agility in urban driving conditions is “a revelation”. The PIVO 3 has a turning circle of just four metres, a vast improvement over the typical 8-10 metres in a regular production car. “This provides you a sensation of freedom,” says Bancon. “You can almost move like people.”
This impressive manoeuvrability is helped by the four-wheel steering set-up of the previous PIVO concepts being retained and updated for the latest model.
One new technology feature the PIVO 3 features is an Automated Valet Parking (AVP) system. When engaged, the AVP system autonomously drives the car to a parking space it has located and then parks the car without driver assistance. It then recharges PIVO 3 automatically and leaves the parking space when summoned to do so by the driver using a special smartphone app.
Nissan has ditched the rounded styling of the previous PIVO concepts for a crisper look inspired by the Leaf for the PIVO 3. Product design director Taro Ueda says the design is “realistic” at portraying how PIVO 3 could look if it was made.
Bancon says Nissan is looking at its future EV line-up after the launch of the Leaf, Infiniti’s upcoming Leaf-based EV and an electric LCV. PIVO 3 is one of the options the firm is considering, according to Bancon, adding that whatever option is chosen has to be “radically different… an EV signature model, if you will”.