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TG's guide to concepts: the Nissan Pivo

Not one, but three different electric bubbles. Here's the story

  1. First, there was...

    We’ve had not just one, but three chances to ogle Nissan’s future-EV concept over the years. First introduced in 2005, the original Pivo had some sort of electric base, although Nissan’s spiel talked almost exclusively about the 360-degree rotating cabin - so you don’t ever have to reverse anymore (sorry driving test examiners, that reverse-round-the-corner palava is finally defunct) - the innovative egg-shaped body and the fact there was lots of glass so you can easily see the hoards of people all pointing at your shining orb.

  2. Power?

    Yes, there is some. The magic behind it all is a Nissan-developed high-performance compact lithium-ion battery with the company’s ‘Super Motor’, resulting in zero emissions. The battery itself is flat (in shape, not capacity), so required much less space than the cylindrical cells of the time, while one motor on each axle delivered power for independently controlled four-wheel steering.

  3. Then we had...

    The Pivo 2, which tried desperately to cling on to the spinning pod appeal, and even added sideways shuffling, crab-stylie. Again, the actual electrical science behind this seemed to slip through the press releases, Nissan instead pushing home the “unprecedented shape” and “movement never before seen in a road going vehicle”.

  4. And then?

    The Pivo 2, which apparently “proposes a dream-filled possibility for electric-powered vehicles that are expected to be at the core of future environmental technologies”. Plus, there’s an added “always enjoyable, everywhere convenient state-of-mind.” What is with the ongoing trend to combine driving with the desperate need for companionship? Apparently all this technology is going to make us oh so lonely in the future.

  5. This is all getting a bit Fast and Furious...

    We can confirm that it stops here. For now at least. The Pivo 3 appeared in 2011 at the Paris Motor Show and seemed mildly more feesible for the real world. First and foremost, the spinning ball of doom had been swapped for super rotatey wheels, giving it a turning circle of under four metres. It also gets Automated Valet Parking, plenty of driver assistance and even the capability to ‘sell back’ excess charge to the National Grid. It looks a bit G-Whizzy, and we’re not sold on the three-seater layout and centrally placed steering wheel.

  6. Is it the real deal?

    We wouldn’t mind if it made production. It still seems pretty future-friendly even if it is five years old, so who knows what extra gadgets it would get if it went into production now. Back in 2011, Nissan said: “We have a lot of investigation into what kind of category we should go [for an EV]. Pivo 3 at this stage is one of the candidates.” Apparently Nissan reckoned on this car after the Leaf, NV200 EV and the Infiniti EV, though it’s not been mentioned recently, so it looks like the plug-in pod might have been shelved for now…

What do you think?

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