Here’s one for the strange book: according to Automotive News (subs. req’d), the egg-shaped, tilt-wheel, 2-seat, Nissan electric car concept set to debut at the Tokyo Motor Show this week known as the Land Glider is apparently under serious consideration for actually being built. Not only that, reportedly the company also thinks it would work well as a luxury Infiniti.
I don’t really know what to say, except… maybe Nissan knows something about rich people that I don’t?
Don’t get me wrong, I love concept cars (unlike many of you out there who’ve expressed frustration in the past with what you consider a futile endeavor). I love them in the same way I love reading science fiction: they give me the ability to look at my society as an outsider and imagine, just for a while, what possibilities could exist. But as concept cars, you have to take them with a grain of salt—suspending disbelief in the same way you do to enjoy a Pixar movie.
Which is why I’m just not seeing the Land Glider as having a real market, let alone a market among the people who would typically buy a $60,000 luxury behemoth.
I actually think the Land Glider is kind of a cool concept car—in that cute sort of way. It was borne out of the parking frustrations of product planning manager Ryusuke Hayashi. The car is a scant 43 inches wide by 122 inches long. That’s skinny enough to fit into those “what the hell were they thinking?” spacer spots left by inconsiderate jerks that you curse as you drive around the block for the twelfth time. Hell, that’s skinny enough to find a space almost anywhere.
Although it’s the size of a motorcycle, it has four wheels. The land glider takes advantage of its four corner stance by tilting its wheels as you turn into corners, giving it better stability and road-handling.
The concept is designed as a two-seater, with one seat in behind the other, but apparently Nissan has major concerns with rear collision safety and may do away with the second seat. I bet that will make it even more appealing to the luxury crowd. I can imagine the marketers now, “Sure it’s a one seat egg, but you can park it anywhere… and the wheels tilt! How cool is that?” That might work as a sales pitch at your county fair, but methinks not on the floor of an Infiniti dealership.
In reality, I can’t believe that there is anyone far up the food chain at Nissan that thinks the Land Glider is more than a flight of fancy right now. Certainly they don’t see it as a luxury car. What I think this episode highlights once again is that Nissan is giving its engineers and designers free reign to come up with new innovations. That is something that has given Nissan the ability to bring the upcoming LEAF to market.
So soldier on Nissan. Let your designers and engineers run amok. If it keeps you innovating things like the LEAF, I’m all for it.
Source: Automotive News (subs. Req’d)
Image Credits: Nissan