Nissan’s BladeGlider electric sports car concept is part dragster, part wheeled airplane cockpit

Forget driving, Nissan’s latest electric sports car concept is all about gliding.

Nissan says the BladeGlider concept – set to unveiled at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show later this month – was designed to give drivers “sustainable exhilaration”, an eco-friendly form of driving pleasure stemming from the car’s zero-emission powertrain.

The BladeGlider certainly doesn’t look like most cars. It’s narrow front track and wide rear are shared with the DeltaWing and ZEOD RC racers, and help reduce drag while still creating downforce for better grip, Nissan says.

Downforce pushes the car onto the road, allowing the tires to grip better. While downforce is great for traction, it’s bad for speed, as it causes drag. And drag is the enemy of performance engineers.

Normally the two go hand-in-hand, but according to Nissan, most of the BladeGlider’s downforce is generated by the underbody, allowing the topside to present a smooth, slippery shape to the wind.

Like any high-tech sports car worth its salt, the BladeGlider has bodywork made from a lightweight material, in this case carbon fiber-reinforced plastic.

Underneath the radical skin is an equally radical powertrain. Electric sports cars are nothing new, but the BladeGlider uses in-wheel motors, a first for Nissan. They’re fed by lithium-ion battery modules strategically located to lower the car’s center of gravity for better handling.

Things get weirder once you open the LaFerrari-like doors. The cockpit seats three in a triangular formation, with the driver seated in the middle. It’s just like a McLaren F1, or a spaceship.

However, the most remarkable thing about the BladeGlider may be that Nissan is hinting at a production version. According to the company’s release, the deltoid sports car isn’t just a concept, it’s an “exploratory prototype of an upcoming production vehicle.”

It might be a little too soon to put down a deposit, though. At the very least, Nissan probably wants to gauge the public’s reaction to the BladeGlider when it debuts at the Tokyo Motor Show, which opens November 20.

What do you think of it? Would you buy an electric sports car like this? Tell us in the comments.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Citroën says you could drive its tiny Ami One electric car without a license

Citroën's Ami One concept car is an electric vehicle that's as cute as it is compact. The miniature motor only has a top speed of 28 mph, so the French automaker imagines it as a shareable runaround for short drives.
Cars

Waymo rules and Apple trails in California self-driving car benchmarks

California's DMV releases annual reports of self-driving car disengagements on public roads. In the most recent reports. Waymo had the best performance, GM Cruise came in second, and Apple's self-driving program was in last place.
Product Review

Mercedes-Benz updates the timeless G-wagen for the modern world

For decades, the G-Class has been an outlier in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, a body-on-frame brute with the soul – and driving manners – of an off-road pickup. With the all-new G550, Mercedes seeks to smooth out some of the rough edges.
Product Review

The 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country is a do-it-all Swedish army knife

Volvo laced up its smallest station wagon in hiking clothes to create the V60 Cross Country. It's a lifted, all-wheel drive wagon that laughs at icy roads while coddling its occupants. We travel to Sweden to try it out.
Cars

Amazon plugs in with $700 million investment in electric pickup company Rivian

Amazon invested $700 million for a minority stake in U.S. all-electric truck maker Rivian, according to a joint release. The announcement follows a Reuters report that GM and Amazon might invest $1 billion to $2 billion in the company.
Cars

2019 RAM 1500 Classic Warlock special edition: Badass style without the whoop

If you like the looks of blacked-out badass trucks without the cost of a desert racer, FCA announced the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, a special edition pickup that focuses on appearance with only a touch of additional off-road capability.
Cars

2020 GMC Acadia toughens up on the outside, gets smarter on the inside

The 2020 GMC Acadia crossover gets styling updates and a more rugged AT4 trim level. Under the skin, the Acadia sports a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a wider array of tech features.
Cars

Nissan is using old Leaf batteries to power and connect off-the-grid campers

Nissan has teamed up with trailer manufacturer Opus to design a mobile, weatherproof power pack built with battery cells sourced from the first-generation Leaf. Called Roam, the pack stores enough electricity to power a camper for up to a…
Cars

Alfa Romeo’s latest Ferrari-powered F1 race car is ready to hit the track

Alfa Romeo is doubling down on Formula One racing after a decades-long hiatus. Now essentially a support team for Ferrari, its 2019 driver lineup includes a former world champion and a potential future star.
Cars

Researchers teach self-driving cars to predict pedestrians’ next moves

University of Michigan researchers are developing a system that teaches self-driving cars to predict pedestrian movement. Humans don't always act in their own best self-interest, so autonomous cars will need to practice protective driving.
Cars

Subaru’s latest VIZIV concept car is pumped full of adrenaline

The Subaru VIZIV Adrenaline is the seventh member of the Japanese automaker's family of VIZIV concept cars. It debuts at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, but for now, all we're getting is a shadowy teaser image.
Cars

Audi is advancing the tech that teaches cars to talk to traffic lights

Audi is teaching its cars the language of traffic lights. The company developed technology that tells motorists what speed they should drive at in order to catch as many green lights as possible.
Cars

Watch a modified Audi e-tron electric SUV drive straight up a ski slope

A modified Audi e-tron climbed up an 85-percent gradient on an Austrian ski slope in a tribute to a classic Audi commercial. The vehicle used for the stunt sported an extra electric motor and spiked tires.