The Nissan Leaf is the bestselling electric car in history, but where will Nissan go from there? To a production version of the IMx electric SUV concept, it seems. In a recent interview with Autocar, Nissan European design boss Mamoru Aoki said a production model based on the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show concept is on the way.
Aoki said the production version of the IMx will arrive sometime in the next few years, and that it include at least some of the styling elements from the original concept. Concept-car styling is almost always watered down for production, but Aoki said the IMx forecasts Nissan's future design language. The unusual laminated wood and translucent plastic interior may make it to production as well.
The IMx concept was powered by two electric motors—one for each axle. Together, they produced 429 horsepower and 515 pound-feet of torque. Nissan quoted a range estimate of 373 miles per charge. Those would be respectable figures for a production model.
Given the current popularity of SUVs, it makes sense for Nissan's next all-electric model to be a utility vehicle. Ford is working on an electric SUV of its own, and Tesla is expected to follow up the Model 3 with an SUV variant called the Model Y. Luxury automakers like Jaguar, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz are also launching electric SUVs to compete with Tesla's Model X.
Rather than develop a range of models, Nissan has primarily focused on nurturing sales of the Leaf. But if electric cars really are the future, then one model won't cut it. Nissan and other automakers will need to offer the same variety with electric cars as they currently do with internal-combustion models.