In late 2013, the Nissan BladeGlider Concept broke cover at the Tokyo Auto Show, wowing crowds as executives boldly promised to bring this far-out concept to production. But as AutoCar reports, nearly 18 months after its big debut, production of the Nissan BladeGlider has been put on hold as the automaker deals with other priorities. What happened?
As with an automaker, there are a lot of moving parts behind the scenes at Nissan, and one of the biggest champions of the BladeGlider concept, Andy Palmer, has since moved on from the company. Replacing Palmer was Phillipe Klein, who recently told AutoCar regarding the BladeGlider;
“It is still on the table, but at the end of the day it has to make sense to the company. We have the concept car, and it has the ability to surprise, but it is not big in our plans now. Before we jump in with a production car there is a path to take – and first we must see the opportunity is there.”
Nissan LEAF sales have been slowly climbing, but have yet to reach the kind of critical mass the automaker was hoping for. Back in 2013 Nissan was much more bullish on EVs, and Don Panoz had not yet filed a lawsuit over copyright infringements related to his DeltaWing race car and Nissan’s ZEOD RC Competizone. Along with Palmer’s departure, these other factors which have likely pushed off production of the BladeGlider, if it ever even gets there.
The idea behind the Nissan BladeGlider is most excellent; an electric sports car that’s light, agile, and affordable, utilizing a unique chassis layout to maximize efficiency and performance. But communism is also a great idea; in the real world, the market for sports cars is dwindling, and while EV sales are certainly on the rise, limiting the versatility of an already-limited vehicle is going to curtail the appeal to would-be buyers. Perhaps the Nissan BladeGlider concept is just too far ahead of the curve.
I do, however, want to end on a positive note; as recently as last June, Nissan was testing a BladeGlider mule on the chassis of the Ariel Atom. There’s still hope that this neat concept becomes so much more, and Nissan has proven it’s willing to take chances where other automakers only see risk.