The 2013 Tokyo Auto Salon might be remembered as “the one where Nissan decided to go nuclear”, bringing (as it did) the most exciting new racing concept of the past twenty (thirty? forty?) years to life in the form of a forward-looking, aggressively styled, zero-emissions electric supercar. I’m talking, of course, about the Nissan BladeGlider, a car that made me do this …
… as soon as I saw it. Imagine my excitement, then, when Nissan snuck a second BlageGlider video onto its press site earlier this week!
Along with the video, Nissan went to great lengths to describe the whys and hows of what makes the BladeGlider a real supercar. For the most part, they mimic the aerodynamic and weight distribution benefits that the DeltaWing racers exhibited effectively last year- but the BladeGlider has a few more electrically-enabled tricks up its pointy nose than even the racer does.
The most impressive, and most remarkable, advantage the BladeGlider has over its conventional counterparts is handling. While traditional performance enthusiast may scratch their respective heads wondering how a car with such a narrow front track can take corners; the answer is relatively simple. The narrow front track of the BladeGlider allows less weight to be placed on the front wheels. While some say that more weight on the front tires equals better grip, the complete opposite is actually true.
Sure, with super wide tires, extra load may result in more grip, but this is not an efficient solution, nor is it always true. For example, front-heavy cars are prone to excessive understeer – the loss of grip at the front wheels, where the car does not turn as much as the steering demands. The thinner tires up front allow the BladeGlider to turn in crisply because only 30 percent of the car’s total weight rests upon them. An added benefit is improved steering in terms of effort, feel and precision.
Also, the narrow front track allows the car to have minimal lateral weight transfer through corners, at both the front and rear ends. Cars with wider front tracks dramatically shift their weight to the outside tire when turning, leaving the inside tire to do virtually nothing. Thus, only one tire is steering the car through a corner; but with the BladeGlider, both tires stay in good contact with the road surface and share nearly the same cornering load, virtually working as one unit. And thanks to the independent suspension system, each tire’s effectiveness is augmented through turns.
The wide rear track and wide rear tires also contribute to the BladeGlider’s exceptional handling. By providing a stable and rigid foundation for the car, they allow the car’s front tires to effectively point the nose of the vehicle in the right direction. Think of a sledge hammer and its handle. Put the hammer on the ground and move the handle in the desired direction. It can be done with relatively little effort because the head of the hammer is providing a stable foundation. This unique effect of the BladeGlider can be enhanced with torque vectoring (or an enhanced limited slip differential) that can be programmed into the in-wheel motors, allowing the rear tires to help point the car’s nose.
Gotta love that torque-vectoring, amirite? What do you guys think? Is this the game-changing supercar from Japan that’s going to make the Germans and Italians look stupid, or will the NSX get that honor (again)? Let us know what you think in the comments, below. Until then, enjoy the video!
Source | Photos: Nissan.