The car of the future

Where we’re going, we’re not gonna drive there—we’re gliding there. With the Nissan BladeGlider.

Ever since we’ve watched cartoons, read comic books, or played video games, we’ve known that the car of the future will look and function nothing like what they do today. The car of the 22nd-century and beyond will fly or hover or jump through wormholes. They’ll be powered by nuclear fission or bananas or water. Of course, now that we’re sensible adults, we know that reality hasn’t quite reached such fantasies yet—but we know for damn sure that the car of the future ain’t gonna look like the Multipla.

Recently, the boffins at Nissan have revealed their vision of what we’ll be driving in the (near?) future. The thing is, they don’t even want you to drive it—they want you to glide. Named the Nissan BladeGlider, this car—roadcraft, future vehicle, or whatever you want to call it—combines everything we idealise in cars: zero emissions, independence from petroleum and, of course, race-car performance.

Nissan designers and engineers conceptualised it to have a triangular shape, like a “swept wing aircraft”, for both functional and aesthetic reasons. For example, it’s front wheels are so close together to reduce drag as much as possible and also to boost manoeuvrability when careening around hairpin corners at dangerous speed. And because they envision a rear-wheel driven BladeGlider with a 30/70 front/rear weight distribution, you won’t so much have downforce as much you’ll have glued-to-the-ground-ability.

But wait, to call it a “rear-wheel driven” vehicle is inaccurate—because each rear wheel has its own in-wheel motor, as well as an independent motor management system, to propel the car forward. Put that together with a carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic hull and a near-360-degree view from the cockpit, and you’ve got a vehicle George Jetson would fancy. However, just in case we end up like the blobs from Wall-E, Nissan says the driver's seat will automatically slide laterally when the car's doors are opened—so, both your fat-ass passengers will be able to get in easily.

For more information, visit nissannews.com. Words by Eugene Phua.

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