Saturday, January 18, 2014

Nissan sexy ESFLOW Concept Sport EV

Nissan "seriously testing” wheel motor powered 380Z like EV sports car
It may look like someone spilled their mug of Juke all over a drawing of Infiniti's Essence, but the Nissan ESFLOW is something we're glad to see from a major carmaker that already has one EV on the market: a sports car EV concept. Rear-wheel drive, two-seats, 0-62 mph in under 5 seconds, it hits all the right notes. It's called the ESFLOW.
Waz reported almost a year ago that Nissan were “really seriously testing” in-wheel electric motors for the new-generation of electric-powered cars. The automaker's global design chief Shiro Nakamura has again confirmed this during an interview with Motor Authority at the recent Detroit Auto Show.
“It's not just at the concept level...We are making serious progress with in-wheel motors; cost is becoming less of an issue, and at a certain point we would like to use in-wheel motors.”
While Nissan's BladeGlider EV concept has in-wheel motors on the rear axle, Nakamura admitted that Bladeglider has some design attributes (like its narrow front track) that might prove insurmountable for a global product—especially with respect to safety—and that any production car would likely have to be wider in front.
He suggests the ESFLOW EV concept, which from behind looks alot like the Bladegliber and at first glance could easily be mistaken for a 380Z, could be a production direction.
Yeah, we don’t know how to say ESFLOW either. While the name conjures up a Pearl Jam song or a brand of catheters more than anything automotive, look past those things, and you’ll find a concept that has cleverly reconfigured the insides of a Nissan Leaf for fun instead of efficient people-carrying. The ESFLOW makes its debut at the 2011 Geneva show.
The front-wheel-drive Leaf donates its lithium-ion battery packs and control electronics to this two-seater. Unlike the Leaf, however, the ESFLOW uses the electricity to power the other end of the car, and there are two motors—one for each wheel—instead of one. This gives the concept digital torque-vectoring ability. Range is quoted at a minimum of 150 miles, and the car is theoretically capable of a 0-to-60-mph run in less than five seconds. That’s close to 370Z territory.
The wraparound windshield is made possible by an internal roll cage behind the seats that makes traditional, load-bearing A-pillars unnecessary. The result looks cool, but a tad unoriginal; we can’t help but be reminded of recent Saab concepts when looking at the ESFLOW. The car’s seats are carved into the bulkhead, and therefore not adjustable. To make up for that, the controls move to the driver. It’s a neat idea, but doesn’t account for people of differing heights, since there’s no vertical seat-bottom adjustment. Also, Nissan claims to have made the switch from heavy, motorized seats to this static arrangement to save weight, but seems to have put at least some of that weight right back in by motorizing the pedals and steering wheel. We again remind ourselves that this is a concept.
These motors independently control the left and right wheels, and so the torque is optimized to ensure outstanding vehicle stability and control as well as efficient power regeneration. The motors produce enough torque in an instant for the ESFLOW to reach 100 kph in under 5 seconds.