VIDEO: Inside Nissan’s self-driving ‘EV of the future’

Japanese carmaker Nissan has unveiled what it calls 'the future of autonomous driving and zero emissions' - a self-driving electric vehicle (EV) which generates zero emissions and minimises the potential for road accidents.

The ‘Nissan IDS Concept’ car is a fully functional EV with the ability to drive itself, while also promoting environmental awareness. By 2020, Nissan expects to see this Intelligent Driving technology deployed worldwide.

Presenting the concept at the Tokyo Motor Show 2015 this week, Nissan’s president and chief executive Carlos Ghosn said: “Nissan’s forthcoming technologies will revolutionise the relationship between car and driver, and future mobility.

“Nissan Intelligent Driving improves a driver’s ability to see, think and react. It compensates for human error, which causes more than 90% of all car accidents. As a result, time spent behind the wheel is safer, cleaner, more efficient and more fun.”

The Nissan IDS Concept tailors itself on both a hands-free piloted drive and a more traditional manual drive, but the car is designed to complement both styles without hindering driving and safety performance.

Sustainable safety

The safety aspects of the car mirrors the environmental goals set by Nissan, in what it calls a ‘two-zeroes reality’.

The carmaker’s design director Mitsunori Morita said: “By the time Nissan Intelligent Driving technology is available on production cars, EVs will be able to go great distances on a single charge. Getting to this point will, of course, require the further evolution of batteries, but aerodynamic performance is also very important.”

Made with a full carbon-fibre body constrained to 1,380mm, aerodynamic drag is reduced, increasing driving range while lowering fuel consumption. The Concept is fitted with a high-capacity 60kWh battery which can be charged wirelessly when the car is parked.

Speaking of Nissan’s electric future, the company’s executive vice president Hideyuki Sakamoto said: “Our zero-emission strategy centres on EVs. We are pursuing improved electric powertrain technologies, such as motors, batteries and inverters, which will enable us to mass produce and market EVs that equal or surpass the convenience of petrol-powered cars.”

Cars of the future…

Nissan’s vision for cars of the future goes hand-in-hand with the company’s recently-announced ‘fuel station of the future’ concept, which it is developing alongside architects Foster + Partners. Benefits of the fuel station include cheaper mobility and the potential for harnessing the power of battery storage in cars and vehicle-to-grid systems.

Electric cars are growing in popularity among the public – in the first quarter of 2015, sales accelerated by 366%. In an exclusive interview with edie earlier this month, Swedish automotive entrepreneur Lewis Horne explained the role that EVs should play in creating a more sustainable and trustworthy future for the automotive industry, particularly in the wake of the VW scandal. Horne has founded Uniti, a new EV company he believes will shake-up the current market. 

Matt Mace

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