Cute though it appears, you might be a bit crestfallen to learn that Nissan thinks the future of the car is signalled by this strange black and white Cube prototype, that gets around using an electric motor. This does not look a car likely to excite.
Your thinking might change, though, when you discover that it hauls itself to 40mph as quickly as a powerful V6 saloon, and that the production car this engineering mule will sire may be good for 60mph in around five seconds.
Nissan’s production electric car will not look like a Cube either, though it could be similarly sized. Instead, it will be purpose-built, and of a striking style designed to take advantage of the compact motor and the need for excellent aerodynamics. It will also be the first of an electric range that could include sports models and an MPV.
The Cube is powered by three 100kg lithium-ion battery packs (that’s heavy, but they’ll get lighter, says Nissan), and they propel it in near-surreal silence. And it’s a cinch to drive, with no gears to shift. The Cube’s 107bhp motor manages 62mph in 13 seconds, and fades noticeably beyond this in the battle to reach its 85mph maximum, but it’s low-down potency is encouraging.
Like all EVs, range remains an issue - this mule manages 75 miles, and Nissan is aiming for only 100 from the production version. Which is why its negotiations to persuade countries, cities and governments to support its initiative with infrastructure and tax incentives are vital.
Israel, Denmark and Portugal have signed up, and talks with the UK government have been ‘constructive.’ Give it a decade, and your car could well be plug-and-play.