Nissan’s experimentation into the world of zero-emission, hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles is now in concept form as the Terra SUV Concept.
The concept, which will make its debut at the 2012 Paris Auto Show, provides a glimpse on what a future zero-emissions SUV concept is capable of. This may not be good news to the die-hard gear heads, but rings like music to the ears of environmentalists the world over.
More importantly, the Terra SUV Concept was born from technologies the Japanese automaker has used on a number of its vehicles, particularly the Juke, the Qashqai, and the Leaf.
"Our challenge was to take Nissan’s strength in SUVs and crossovers forward into the zero-emissions era, fuel cells being our new frontier in zero emission mobility," said Francois Bancon, Nissan’s division general manager of product strategy and planning.
"Not big and tough for the desert, the aim was a new approach to SUVs that’s relevant to urban life. The unique diagonal seating layout that offers an exciting driving experience thanks to exceptional visibility that creates a sense of being in control under any conditions."
Find out more about the Nissan Terra SUV Concept after the jump
"We took our inspiration from the lifestyles of youthful customers in Northern Europe." Those were the words of of Nissan senior vice president and chief creative officer Shiro Nakamura in describing the Terra Concept.
Putting their imaginations to good use, Nissan was able to design the Terra Concept with the idea of building an athletic profile with a high belt-line, thick pillars, a sculpted bonnet, and thin side windows. Add the sharp corners that gives off an aggressive vibe and the sculpted lamps and short overhangs that makes for a clean stance, and you have a concept SUV that lives up to Nissan’s description of a future of zero emissions SUV without ignoring the target market that enjoys an eye-catching and tough design.
Making way for the robustness of the exterior design is a freshly manicured interior full of warmth and space. The suicide doors are a welcome touch, as are the door panels that feature a unique combination of blond wood trim and colored acrylic, all while layered in a unique and intriguing pattern. Wood and metal contrasts are present across the dashboard, exuding a soft and warm presence that belies its aggressive exterior. Even the steering and instrument console tapers out toward the driver without interrupting the lines and and overall architecture of the dashboard.
The seats are the picture of unique, too. A unique diagonal layout that positions rear passengers over the shoulders of those in front instead of being directly behind the front seats. And when you fold all three passenger seats, the floor space provides enough space to carry a boat load of things.
By and large, the Nissan Terra Concept is powered by a 4x4 fuel cell electric powertrain that combines the technologies Nissan has used on some of its vehicles into one concept proposal. The front wheels are powered by the electric propulsion system that’s currently featured in the Nissan LEAF while the two back wheels are powered by an in-wheel electric motor, based on the working prototypes featured in Nissan’s three successive PIVO concepts.
Then there’s Nissan’s hydrogen fuel cell stack that you can find under the SUV’s hood, one that carries an impressive power density of 2.5kW/L. It might not sound much, but given the apparent smorgasbord of performance mechanics it carries, it’s something that’s certainly worth paying attention to.
There’s no pricing because it’s a concept car. No word on its production future, either, although Nissan is optimistic that it could have a future on the road, provided that hydrogen becomes widely available.
Looks like the Juke’s less zany big brother
Fresh interior is a welcome addition
Powertrain technology is a dream for environmentalists
Just a concept
It’s not the most powerful SUV on the block
Future production plans are still murky