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Nissan Esflow electric concept car (2011) at 2011 Geneva motor show

Wed, 09 Feb 2011

Nissan may be all goody two shoes with the Leaf electric car - but this new Esflow concept car is designed to prove to the world that Nissan can make EVs exciting too.

The new Nissan Esflow will be shown at the 2011 Geneva motor show. It's essentially a rebodied Leaf, using that car's battery know-how wrapped in a dramatic sports coupe body.

Not quite. It's rear-wheel drive, for starters, and each rear wheel has its own motor. And the performance figures won't be that familiar to anyone who's driven a Leaf.

The Esflow charges to 62mph in 'less than 5.0sec', although we suspect doing so may dent the claimed 150-mile range.

Remember the GT-R and 370Z? Nissan has a unique brand stretch, from some of the most monumental contemporary performance cars - stretching all the way to the saintly Leaf and a raft of upcoming battery electric vehicles.

The Esflow is designed to bridge those two extremes. The marketing department is desperate for us to latch on to Renault-Nissan's EVs, and showcasing a pie-in-the-sky electric sports car is deemed a great way to stoke interest in battery tech.

Speaking of batteries, the Esflow has the same laminated lithium-ion batteries as the Leaf, but mounted low and centrally in its aluminium chassis - the better to keep the centre of gravity low and central. The platform is then cloaked in composite panels.

Because the structure is inherently so strong and incrorporates a rollcage, there is no need for huge chunky A-pillars, claims Nissan. Hence the visor, wraparound windscreen.

Blue LEDs are built into the composite body, giving the Esflow an eerie, futuristic quality. And the charging points are another bright idea: they're discreetly built into flip-up ducts beneath the headlamps. The cabin's seats are fixed, making them much lighter; instead, the wheel and pedals move electrically.

The Nissan Esflow will be displayed alongside the Leaf, the 95g/km Micra 1.2 DIG-S three-cylinder and a 370Z GT Edition.


By Tim Pollard