A two-door roadster that turns into a camper. Diminutive bubbles of glass atop four wheels. Every kind of weird door you can think of (and the gull-wing is just the start). This collection of odd, beautiful, impractical, and lustworthy concept cars from Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and more stretches back a half-century.
Never mind running on electricity -- cars of the future will be so helpful, they'll spray us with vitamins and make sure we never forget another anniversary.
That's the future envisioned by the people at Nissan, who announced today that their next-generation cars will be designed to make drivers feel they are better off staying in their cars instead of stepping outside.
In the past three years, the thought of companies like Chevrolet and Nissan selling lithium-ion-powered cars has gone from laughable to old news. Late this year, the plug-in Chevy Volt and pure-electric Nissan Leaf arrive. Carmakers from Ford to Toyota will follow in 2011 and 2012 with new electrified models of their own. In the beginning, the electric-car revolution probably won't seem so revolutionary: a few thousand cars here and there.
Nissan has announced pricing for their all-electric Leaf, due to go on sale here in December: $32,780. Although the deal sweetens when you factor in the applicable income tax credit of $7,500--which effectively brings the price down to $25,280, or about as much as a new Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. Check out our test drive of the Leaf here.
Nissan can officially start its engines for its all-electric car, Leaf. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has finalized a $1.4 billion loan to the car manufacturer that should help it retool a Smyrna, Tennessee factory to build electric cars, and also revamp an advanced battery manufacturing center. Nissan's projects are expected to create up to 1,300 American jobs.
It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a Nissan? Though limited to terrestrial travel, the concept Land Glider automobile from Nissan banks like an airplane, tilting into corners, giving drivers the sensation of flying. But, the likenesses to aviation don't end there. The two-seater orients driver and passenger in tandem -- one in front and one in back -- and rather than a steering wheel, the Land Glider has airplane-style, computer-guided yoke controls.
Even as hype and excitement has built around what seems like a 21st century green-car revolution, pure electric cars—as in, totally zero-emission vehicles with no gas engine, no tailpipe—have been very, very far from going mainstream. And the impressive but small-batch class of current contenders won't change that.
Keep this in mind when you consider what Nissan unveiled Sunday morning at the opening ceremony for its new headquarters in Yokohama, Japan. The Leaf--a cute, slightly odd hatchback--looks poised to become the first truly mass-market electric car.
It is estimated that about 100,000 crashes a year are caused by sleepyhead drivers. Now, scientists are combating driver fatigue by developing systems that monitor your level of alertness -- and Nissan is hoping to wake you up with a blast of smell.
Nissan has made another stride toward that strange but often-promised future: cars that drive themselves. A new system set for release in Japan links information from a car's real-time GPS navigation with existing radar-guided safety tech to help drivers make smooth turns on curvy roads. The Navigation-Cooperative Intelligent Pedal uses GPS mapping data to detect an oncoming bend, then strategically decelerates or applies the brakes. Here's how it works: When the nav system indicates a curve is looming, the accelerator pedal physically moves upward. Then the system activates the brakes.