The IMk city car concept. Source: Nissan
The IMk city car concept. Source: Nissan

Japanese carmaker Nissan has revealed that amongst its planned unveils for the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show is a new compact and all-electric city car concept that it has dubbed the IMk.

A forebearer of design trends we can expect from Nissan in the future, the cute yet chic compact vehicle is designed to meet city driver needs around the world.

It’s diminutive, but Nissan says that it packs a huge amount of EV power, as well as loads of modern day tech including “seamless” connectivity, the latest ProPilot driver assistance suite and responsive, nimble driving characteristics.

“As a small EV for a new era, the Nissan IMk is designed to be at home in sophisticated cityscapes as much as in traditional Japanese towns,” said Satoru Tai, executive design director at Nissan in a statement to the press.

“The IMk fuses a modern, clean look, driven by its Japanese heritage, with cutting-edge EV technology. Unconstrained by conventional concepts of the kei car segment, its design is interwoven with Japanese culture. It’s a luxury small EV that I hope a lot of customers are going to drive.”

Described variously by Nissan as “strictly functional” and the “ultimate urban commuter”, the 100% electric hatch follows Nissan’s new design language that it likes to call “Timeless Japanese Futurism”.

“We incorporated `Japanese DNA’ into the design of the IMk,” says Tai.

“For example, the bumper, wheels, tires, windows, tail lamps, roof and high mount spoiler treatment borrow from the flowing patterns of mizuhiki, a thin twine made of Japanese rice paper.

“Just as mizuhiki flows naturally by design, on the IMk this flowing pattern blends the front, sides, and rear of the concept together for a completely new presence, outside and inside.

“The shield, which replaces the grille in gasoline-powered vehicles, represents a new signature element in our redefined design language. It follows function with style, giving the vehicle visual strength and inspiration while also providing protection and advanced technology underneath, including sensors and electronics.”

Inside the vehicle, Nissan describes a room-like style that we are beginning to see more often as car designers utilise spaces previously taken by internal combustion engines – take the Canoo “mobile lounge” for example.

A return to the bench seat makes an appearance, while copper and tonal accents highlight the dashboard and door panels for a cozy cabin-like feel.

Driving information appears to hover in mid-air, says Nissan, thanks to a prism display that can be activated via touch – “for example, when swiping while viewing a map – a touch of whimsy is displayed in the form of a flock of birds flying across it”, Nissan enthuses.

There is clearly a focus on beauty that is typically Japanese as the carmaker reaches for more than just something to run you from A to B.

“We could have kept all the surfaces inside the IMk’s cabin flat, which would have equated to more physical space,” Tai said.

“But if we did that, we would have lost some of its beauty, and we didn’t want to go that route. The IMk was never about being roomier than a traditional small car. It was about being an upscale, stylish partner that gives occupants a chic, elegant space to enjoy.”

As it is only a concept, the carmaker has not offered any details in regard to things like driving range and battery size.

Still, as concepts go it seems a sensible development for the automaker, whose Nissan Leaf has proved its merit becoming one of the most driven all-electric cars in the world.

In addition to the IMk, Nissan will also display a Serena e-power minivan, a hybrid Skyline and the long-awaited Nissan Leaf e+ with enhanced range and performance.

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