Nissan’s first pure-electric SUV has been previewed by the IMx concept. The Leaf-like model features a next-generation Propilot autonomous driving system
It’s powered by two electric motors that give it four-wheel drive and a combined power output of 423bhp and 516lb ft of torque. The battery pack has been fettled for increased energy density – a range of around 373 miles is claimed – and to enable more efficient packaging. The iMx is based on Nissan’s evolved EV architecture, which also underpins the new Leaf.
This architecture, Nissan claims, will revolutionise the SUV segment. SUVs are often criticised for poor driving dynamics due to their relatively high centre of gravity. With the new architecture, though, the batteries are sited under the floor, which dramatically lowers the centre of gravity.
The IMx also showcases a next-generation version of Nissan’s semi-autonomous Propilot system, adapted to offer full autonomy. When Propilot is driving, the steering wheel retracts into the dashboard, as on Volkswagen’s range of full-electric, autonomous ID concepts. The seats also recline for passenger relaxation when the car is driving itself.
Nissan’s intention for EVs to act as temporary energy storage solutions, as first seen with the Leaf, continues to the IMx, which can return power to the grid when not in use.
The interior’s minimalism is true to concept car form and large amounts of light wood wrap around the interior. A wide infotainment display and instrument panel show the car’s surroundings in the background. This is continued into the wood trim, which show the shapes of the surrounding world as shadows, as a reference to interior screens in Japanese homes.
The infotainment displays are controlled by gestures and eye movements monitored by artificial intelligence systems. This approach was chosen to further declutter the cockpit.
Although there is no official confirmation from Nissan that a Leaf SUV will be at the show, the IMx concept bears a striking resemblance to the new generation of Nissan’s huge-selling EV.
Nissan is tight-lipped about the production prospects for the model, but given that it has hinted at a range of EVs and its production of a toned-down IDS concept as the new Leaf, an all-electric SUV could be less than two years away.