Design Europe boss Mamoru Aoki told Autocar that the SUV will stay true to the striking IMx concept

Nissan’s upcoming electric crossover will be the breakthrough model that makes battery-electric vehicles truly mainstream, according to Nissan Design Europe boss Mamoru Aoki.

Speaking at Nissan’s design centre in London, Aoki told Autocar: “Of course, we have the new Leaf (pictured below), but I think the [production version of the] IMx concept will become a breakthrough model.”

The IMx concept made its debut at the Tokyo show last October, promising a 380-mile range on a single charge and a dual-motor, four-wheel-drive powertrain with a proposed 429bhp and 516lb ft of torque. Nissan also says the next generation of its autonomous ProPilot technology will be featured on the IMx.

“The IMx is not just a concept car. In a few years, it will appear [in production],” Aoki said, hinting that it could do for Nissan what the first Qashqai crossover managed when it was launched in 2007.

Nissan IMx concept signals 2019 Leaf

His enthusiasm for the IMx is not just because it will enter a booming sector – crossover sales could account for 34% of the European market by 2020, according to some analysts – but because the taller package takes best advantage of Nissan’s EV platform.

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Aoki said: “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 right back [towards the windscreen] because the HVAC [heating, ventilation and air-con] unit is under the bonnet.”

The overall cabin concept reflects Japanese architecture and interior design, he said, because traditional Japanese houses are tiny and some rooms have to be multi-purpose in their use.

Aoki was also keen to point out the unusual interior trim in the IMx, which is an alternating laminate of wood and translucent plastic that can be illuminated from behind – a hint, perhaps, that this clever finish is heading for production.

Aoki told Autocar that the exterior of the IMx is a clear indication of Nissan’s next-generation design language and the intention is to be closer to the company’s Japanese roots.

He said the IMx does “not have a masculine look or a heavy appearance” of the type that is now common for mainstream combustion-engine vehicles. “It has a light feel and sheer surfaces,” he said. “The exterior is very Japanese in its details – expressive but with purity and an expensive feeling.”

Aoki, who has been in charge of Nissan’s Paddington studio for only a few months, joined Nissan in 1989 and oversaw the design of three Infiniti models as well as the original 350Z sports car. The first car he was entirely responsible for was the highly regarded Primera Mk1.

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16 March 2018

A biggish car that looks light, elegant and friendly, and not as if it wants to ravage you or beat you up. Bring it on. With cars like this and the Jaguar Ipace it hopefully won’t be long before the likes of Audi and Mini have another think about what makes a car attractive. 

16 March 2018

I like its taut surfacing. It takes a leaf (ahem) out of Toyota's / Lexus's design book.

16 March 2018

As long as it doesnt end up a 40k car with another 40k worth of badge on it like a well known British brand. Which being Nissan is unlikely.

5 October 2018
Wow, I am so in love with this model of SUV by Nissan. It is so cool, it looks even better than what I read on I really hope it launches very soon and is a success.

22 October 2018
There is nothing that people are able to work on things like I need to know something more and it's all about the way that things are getting on me for long time.

16 March 2018

  Great how fast EV development is going but, the revolution is going to happen over Night, EV Cars are still expensive to buy, and at the moment a shiny new Car isn’t on everybody’s list, it’s going to take a while for EV Cars being the norm.

Peter Cavellini.

16 March 2018

Get a Zoe or LEAF then.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

26 November 2018
I just discreetly put the book aside, say "This book isn't for me," and afterward I urinate on write my research paper. No fierceness by any means. Just egotistical advantage combined with my steaming asparagus pee!


16 March 2018

.....with looks like that? I doubt it.

As Lexus are finding, extreme shapes are rewarded with extreme reactions. Its too 'marmite' it or hate it...judging by Lexus sales figures the majority hate it!

16 March 2018
289 wrote:

.....with looks like that? I doubt it.

As Lexus are finding, extreme shapes are rewarded with extreme reactions. Its too 'marmite' it or hate it...judging by Lexus sales figures the majority hate it!

I disagree with your use of Lexus as argument against extreme styling. Their sales were low (in Europe, America loves them) when their cars were bland, and are no worse now, massively better for some models. 

Marmite cars are important, and can be very popular. Lexus' problem isnt the marmite styling, its the conservatism of the 'premium' market', not of styling, but of badges.


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