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Nissan LEAF and Intelligent Mobility Qashaqi concept

400,000 Nissan LEAF sales and new next generation Qashqai concept unveiling

The Nissan LEAF is the first electric car to surpass 400,000 sales.

Introduced in 2010 as the world’s first mass-market electric vehicle, the Nissan LEAF has helped to make electric driving accessible to non-luxury buyers. At the time, LEAF customers were mostly “early adopters.”

LEAF owners have driven their cars more than 10 billion kilometres in total. The number of LEAF vehicles sold since 2010 is enough to save 3.8 million barrels of oil a year.

The LEAF was Europe’s bestselling electric vehicle, the top-selling car of any kind in Norway.

Executive vice president Daniele Schillaci, Nissan’s global head of marketing, sales and electric vehicles, said: ““This milestone is a powerful statement that 400,000 customers, and counting, value the Nissan LEAF for the excitement, confidence and connection it delivers.

“The LEAF remains the icon of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, our strategy for moving more people to a better world.”

The LEAF is manufactured at three factories, including Nissan’s Sunderland site.

And this week saw Nissan unveil the all-new IMQ (Intelligent Mobility Qashaqai) concept vehicle, an advanced technology and design showcase that signals the direction of the next generation of crossovers.

Unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show (March 5, 2019), the IMQ seamlessly blends Japanese heritage with state-of-the-art, human-centric technology. It incorporates the latest innovations that bring to life Nissan Intelligent Mobility, the brand’s vision for the future of automotive transportation. Its styling reflects Nissan’s role as a pioneer and leader in crossovers, with a striking look that pushes the boundaries of what a European crossover can be.

At the heart of the IMQ is the next generation of e-POWER, a 100% electric motor drive system that delivers instant, linear acceleration. It has been further developed from the e-POWER technology currently available in the best-selling Nissan Note and Serena models in Japan. In the IMQ, it delivers a total output of 250 kilowatts and 700 Nm of torque.

This high output is channeled through a new multi-motor all-wheel-drive system, delivering precise and independent control of each wheel. The combination of e-POWER and AWD is ideal for low-grip conditions, such as the snowy alpine roads outside Geneva.

The IMQ offers additional insights into Nissan’s technology vision. It’s equipped with an advanced prototype version of Nissan’s ProPILOT* driving assistance system which can offer enhanced autonomous driving capability. The model also features Nissan’s Invisible-to-Visible technology, unveiled in January 2019 at the CES trade show.

Exterior and interior design merge as one
The IMQ’s dimensions place it at the center of the European C-crossover segment. It demonstrates a clean and effortless design, with the exterior and interior merging as one. This is most striking in the lines of the greenhouse, designed to give the impression of a single continuous surface.

Nissan IMQ concept exterior

The IMQ marks a bold new direction in Nissan’s design language. It builds on the Nissan badge, integrated into the V-motion grille, which has been given a deliberately more subtle execution. The grille blends vertically into the hood and horizontally with the front bumper to create strong corners at the outer edges. The hood features striking chrome-edged cuts as the fender rises from the wheel arches and tucks under the central section.

At the rear, a vertical character line drops from the light cluster to separate air as it passes down the side, aiding aerodynamic performance. At its upper end, it’s integrated into a new slim line interpretation of Nissan’s “boomerang” lamp cluster. The single-piece tailgate tucks under the rear fenders, echoing the design of the hood.

Nissan IMQ concept exterior

Closer inspection reveals extensive use of three-dimensional ridges on the darkened lower sections of the exterior. These detailed layers – known as lamellas – are evocative of Japanese traditional design and extend all around the car.

The exterior is completed by 22-inch alloy wheels with bespoke Bridgestone Connect tyres. These “smart” tyres communicate information to the driver via the graphical user interface. Data transmitted includes tyre load, pressure, temperature, grip level, wear and tyre health. This helps the IMQ automatically calibrate its in-car control systems to work optimally.

The Japanese design themes, blended with contemporary technology, continue inside. The IMQ’s doors are hinged at their outer edges and open to reveal a futuristic, spacious interior, featuring four individual seats that rise seamlessly from the lamella-covered floor, which provides a visual link to the exterior.

Nissan’s familiar “gliding wing” instrument panel dominates the front of the cabin, with a center console emerging from beneath and stretching back between the front seats into the rear.

Each sculpted seat is finished in a two-tone 3D technical fabric, laser-cut in a geometric design inspired by Japanese kumiko woodwork. The pattern is replicated on the instrument panel, door trim and parcel shelf, as well as the rich metallic finish of the seat back. Lamellas have also been integrated into the door trim and seat back uppers as headrest supports.

Futuristic control for the ultimate drive
Everything about the IMQ’s interior is focused on the driver. This is demonstrated by the graphical user interface, dominated by an 840-millimeter screen embedded in the instrument panel. It’s completely black - like a smartphone - when powered down, but when powered up, it comes to life to provide e-POWER status and other vehicle information. Further use of the black lamellas is always visible behind the screen.

Nissan IMQ Interior

A smaller, secondary screen above the center console hosts the IMQ’s Virtual Personal Assistant. It enhances the driving experience by controlling vehicle functions, such as navigation, in response to input from the driver.

The steering wheel is ergonomically shaped to put the driver in a relaxed position and to maximize the visibility of the instrument panel. Advanced, “soft-touch” paddle shift-style functionality is built into the back of the wheel.

A technology showcase
The IMQ is equipped with Nissan’s Invisible-to-Visible (I2V) technology, a 3-D interface where the “real world” converges with the virtual world. Developed by Nissan, I2V helps vehicle occupants see what may otherwise be invisible, adding confidence and excitement to the driving experience.

The opportunity to “see the invisible” is made possible with Nissan’s Omni-Sensing technology which connects the IMQ to real-world sensing information inside and outside the vehicle’s cabin, combined with information from the virtual world, displayed before the driver and passenger for a rich mixed-reality experience.

Nissan IMQ Interior

The technology can help drivers see around corners, visualize precise information about traffic jams – including causes – and determine alternative routes for a stress-free journey. Drivers may even enjoy the company of a virtual passenger, in the form of a 3D augmented-reality avatar inside the car.

Nissan’s commitment to an autonomous future, as laid out in the Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision, is also reflected in the IMQ. The car is equipped with an advanced prototype ProPILOT driver assistance system, assisting drivers on urban streets and suburban highways. This is possible due to an array of advanced sensors, radars and cameras located throughout the car that can interpret road, traffic and information signals for a smooth and confident ride.

“The IMQ’s design combines traditional and modern Japanese influences and shows what’s possible when future crossovers are powered by Nissan Intelligent Mobility,” said Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president for design at Nissan. “With the IMQ, the interior and exterior are seamlessly blended together, signalling what our design direction may be for Nissan’s third generation of crossovers in Europe.”