By Peter Valdes-Dapena
Nissan makes the best-selling electric car in the world to date. Over 380,000 Nissan Leafs have been sold, and that model is now in its second generation.
But the Leaf remains Nissan’s only widely available electric car.
In an encouraging sign that the arrest of its former CEO Carlos Ghosn has not deterred the company from pushing forward, Nissan (NSANF) has announced plans for eight new electric models by 2022. The automaker later unveiled the Nissan IMs concept car, which, according to Nissan North America Chairman Denis Le Vot, offered a look at what Nissan plans beyond 2022.
Nissan describes the IMs, which debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this month, as an “elevated sports sedan.” It has plenty of concept car clichés — like structurally challenging center-opening doors, an impractical rectangular steering wheel, and seats that look like office chairs — features that will almost certainly not appear on any production model. While the car gives a sense of what designers are thinking, Nissan did not say that this concept presaged any specific new model.
The IMs is essentially a crossover SUV with a car shape. It doesn’t have a grill, since one isn’t needed on an electric car. Narrow headlights recreate Nissan’s signature V-shaped grill outline, but with the flat metal between them.
“We looked at Nissan’s heritage and realized that some of our most successful models, such as the first-generation Murano and our Z cars, all had very simple silhouettes,” said Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan’s senior vice president for design.
The Nissan IMs concept has a car’s shape but SUV-like capabilities, Nissan says.