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Nissan IMx Concept: Tokyo Auto Show

What Is It?

The Nissan IMx Concept addresses the two big things happening in the automotive industry — electric power and self-driving vehicles. The IM part stands for "Intelligent Mobility," and it’s essentially a crossover that’s pretty luxurious for a Nissan.

The company is developing an autonomous driving system it calls ProPilot. A version is going into the upcoming 2018 Nissan Leaf — it keeps in a single lane, but the steering wheel has to have the driver’s hands kept on it. In the 4-seater IMx, the steering wheel and pedals can retract, and all the seats recline automatically. Then, when necessary, everything moves back into place.

Nissan has given the IMx two electric motors to drive all four wheels with a muscular 429 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque while achieving a theoretical range of 372 miles.

These miles will be covered almost silently, since electric motors hardly make any noise. To alert pedestrians, then, Nissan has also come up with a specific sound for its electric vehicles: Canto. That’s "I sing" in Latin, and — depending on whether the EV is speeding up, slowing down or reversing — the tone will change pitch and timbre. It’s quite musical, like a chord played on a pleasant electronic keyboard setting, and will activate at speeds of around 12-19 mph.

Will They Ever Sell It?

Probably not as it stands right now. However, the IMx is based on a dedicated scalable platform that Nissan plans to use for 70 percent of its electric vehicles by 2022.

Why It’s Important

Technology is the big deal with the Nissan IMx Concept. Not just the autonomous system, but also things like gesture and eye movement controls for the infotainment system, a panoramic OLED instrument display and 3-D-printed cabin materials — even the ability to send power back to the grid. The IMx is an impressive showcase.


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