Nis­san plots elec­tric SUV

Leaf-style SUV based on IMX con­cept will be on sale around 2020


IMX con­cept to in­spire EV

Nis­san will launch the IMX as a full-elec­tric SUV in about three years’ time, ad­ding a sec­ond model to its elec­tric ve­hi­cle (EV) line-up along­side the Leaf.

Se­nior vice pres­i­dent of Nis­san de­sign Al­fonso Al­baisa con­firmed the elec­tric SUV con­cept looks ahead to “within a few years” and de­scribed EVS in mul­ti­ple seg­ments as “the fu­ture”.

The IMX bears more than a pass­ing re­sem­blance to the IDS con­cept, which was shown at the 2015 Tokyo mo­tor show and be­came the new-gen­er­a­tion Leaf. The IMX con­cept will be turned into a pro­duc­tion car be­fore the end of 2021.

The pro­duc­tion SUV is likely to have a sim­pler de­sign than the IMX con­cept be­cause Al­baisa in­tends for Nis­san to adopt the Ja­panese ‘Ma’ prin­ci­ple, which val­ues the ‘mastery of empty space’.

Much can be in­ferred from the IDS’S trans­for­ma­tion into the Leaf. Out­wardly, the two con­cepts are strik­ingly sim­i­lar, so when the IMX is turned into a pro­duc­tion-ready Leaf-like SUV, it will fea­ture more muted styling than the con­cept, with smaller wheels and a larger cabin. It will also have a dif­fer­ent name, although Al­baisa didn’t pro­vide any clues as to what.

If the same 40kwh bat­tery pack and 148bhp, 340lb ft pow­er­train as the Leaf is used, its range will drop from the Leaf’s 235 miles due to its ex­tra weight.

How­ever, by the time the elec­tric SUV is launched, Nis­san aims to have a more en­ergy-dense bat­tery pack in pro­duc­tion, with an even more ef­fi­cient, 373-mile-range one planned for 2022.

The IMX is around the same size as the Qashqai, which Nis­san has ruled out con­vert­ing into an EV.

Europe EV boss Gareth Dun­smore said that elec­tri­fy­ing the Qashqai would com­pro­mise the car with ex­cess weight and pack­ag­ing dis­ad­van­tages. Know­ingly pro­duc­ing a com­pro­mised Qashqai would, ac­cord­ing to Nis­san, be­tray the Leaf’s ‘Lead­ing Elec­tric Af­ford­able Fam­ily car’ ethos.

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