Nissan Bladeglider concept previews radical electric sports car

Nissan reveals a new take on its Bladeglider EV sports car concept as speculation mounts over a future production version

Nissan has provided a further hint that it could produce a radical electric sports car by unveiling a new development of its Bladeglider concept.

A pair of new Nissan Bladeglider show cars are being displayed in two configurations at an event in Brazil to mark the start of the Rio Olympic Games. They mark a clear evolution from the original Bladeglider, which made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2013, by including a fully electric powertrain and a more realistic cabin - although the radical three-seat layout remains.

Nissan Bladeglider ride review

Nissan says the new Bladeglider is “an exciting, real-life study into the potential of advanced EV performance”. The car is fully electric, with a powertrain developed by Nissan’s partner for the project, Didcot-based Williams Advanced Engineering. The Bladeglider has a 220kW lithium-ion battery, supplying electricity to a pair of 130kW electric motors - one on each of the rear wheels.

The entire vehicle is 4,300mm long - so slightly shorter than a Ford Focus. It’s slightly wider than that family hatch too, at 1,850mm, but the Bladeglider’s roofline sits more than 15 centimetres lower than the Ford’s, at just 1,300mm.

The Bladeglider is not particularly light, at 1,300kg - around the same as a pure-electric BMW i3. Williams Advanced Engineering is said to have recorded performance figures for the new Nissan, posting a top speed “in excess of 190km/h (118mph)” and a 0-62mph time of “less than five seconds”.

• Best electric cars 2016

Inside, the evolved Bladeglider gets more functional fabric seats than its predecessor, and a revised dashboard layout that mixes four screens - one at either side of the facia, one in the centre and one mounted within the steering wheel itself. The wheel contains a rotary controller, similar to Ferrari’s Mannetino, which appears to select Neutral, Reverse or a couple of Drive modes. Nissan has revealed that the Bladeglider’s torque vectoring system - which can send torque to the outside wheel to prevent understeering in corners - will have three settings: off, agile and ‘drift mode’.

Will there be a Bladeglider production car?

The new concept is likely to reignite speculation that Nissan is considering building a production version of the Bladeglider - not least because in official correspondence about the new vehicles, Nissan refers to them as “working protoypes” instead of pure concepts. When the original car made its debut, Nissan’s then-vice-president Andy Palmer revealed that he’d driven a test mule for the car based on an Ariel Atom.

Following Palmer’s departure to Aston Martin, and the abandonment of a Nissan Le Mans project that used the Bladeglider’s radically narrow front track, senior Nissan figures were much cooler on the prospect of the concept making production and it seems the Bladeglider is more of a toe in the water.

Nissan’s global head of marketing and brand strategy Roel de Vries insisted that the Bladeglider is not earmarked for production in the short term - but admitted the firm was hoping to use the new prototypes to learn more about potential market demand for an electric sports car.

“We have to be clear: Bladeglider is not going to end up in production within the next two or three years,” he said. “However, it is a definite step on from the original concept, in that a concept doesn’t have to consider the practicalities of manufacturing or the technologies involved. By working with Williams and developing these working prototypes, we’ve been able to test the technology and also see how close we could keep the design to the original idea.

“Nissan is committed to EVs making up a large part of its model range and alongside another Leaf, we are looking at where we can add more electric cars to our line-up. The next step would be to have them in another volume sector, which probably isn’t sports cars. But there is an EV image to consider here too.”

Would you like to see the Nissan Bladeglider make production? Let us know in the comments...

Recommended

Renault and Nissan suffer heavy losses in 2020
Renault

Renault and Nissan suffer heavy losses in 2020

Renault posted a loss of almost £6.6 billion for the first half of 2020 – and Nissan’s finances took a £1.12 billion hit
30 Jul 2020
New Nissan logo revealed alongside Ariya electric SUV
Nissan

New Nissan logo revealed alongside Ariya electric SUV

Just like Volkswagen, Nissan has revealed a new logo to kickstart its EV revolution
15 Jul 2020
New Nissan Ariya electric SUV unveiled ahead of 2021 launch
Nissan Ariya

New Nissan Ariya electric SUV unveiled ahead of 2021 launch

The Nissan Ariya, a rival for the Tesla Model Y, has arrived with a maximum range of 310 miles and pricing from around £37,500
15 Jul 2020
Nissan Sunderland: Factory's future dependent on Brexit deal
Nissan Ariya concept
Nissan

Nissan Sunderland: Factory's future dependent on Brexit deal

Nissan's vast Sunderland plant survived global cost-cutting measures from Japanese maker, but its future is still in the balance
3 Jun 2020

Most Popular

New 2022 BMW M3 Touring officially confirmed
BMW 3 Series Touring

New 2022 BMW M3 Touring officially confirmed

New hot BMW M3 Touring estate on the way and it’ll feature the same 503bhp straight-six engine as the saloon. Our exclusive image previews how it coul…
12 Aug 2020
Entire Volkswagen line-up updated for 2021
News

Entire Volkswagen line-up updated for 2021

Volkswagen has revised its complete range of vehicles for 2021, adding new engines, fresh tech and its latest MIB3 infotainment system
11 Aug 2020
New 2020 Audi S3 Sportback blasts in with 306bhp
Audi S3

New 2020 Audi S3 Sportback blasts in with 306bhp

Audi’s latest hot hatch keeps four-cylinder power but turns up the wick and level of standard tech
11 Aug 2020