Keeping up with the Jones’: Nissan to Increase its Interior Design Budget
Nissan looks ahead to autonomous driving and innovative interiorsby Mark McNabb, on
Nissan is preparing a new wave of high-end, high-tech interiors for is future autonomous vehicles due out by 2020. With customers spending less time driving, they’ll have more time to notice the design details and quality of their vehicle. They’ll also expect more entertainment options to consume their commute time.
In an interview with Auto Express, Nissan of Europe’s design center’s new boss, Mamoru Aoki, said, “From 2020 it will be the real autonomous and electric vehicle era, so at that time I think we will not continue the current [interior] design direction.” He continued by saying, “Before, EV competition was small, but now it is much greater, so appearance is more important. Tesla is here already, so we have to compete.”
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Shaping the Future of Interior Design
The IMx also features a retractable steering column that sinks into the dash during autonomous driving
Nissan gave the world a taste of its future interior design language with the IMx Crossover Concept it debuted at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show back in October. The vehicle showed just how much more interior volume can be added without bulky drivetrain components from an internal combustion engine. Gone is the transmission/exhaust tunnel and gone is the rearward-mounted firewall – both replaced by a flat floor and spacious footwell for the front seats.
The IMx also features a retractable steering column that sinks into the dash during autonomous driving. Combined with the voluminous interior, all four seats in the IMx offer outstanding amounts of personal space and comfort levels not seen in most ICE-powered vehicles.
Aoki corroborates this by saying, “The floor can be flat, and the dashboard can be very minimal as the air-conditioning unit can go in the space where the engine compartment would normally be.”
Aoki knows his electric vehicle interiors need to be ready as soon as possible. Nissan is planning a full-scale production version of the IMx Crossover Concept by 2020 – just two years away. If it continues along the same vein as the concept version, the production IMx (or whatever Nissan will name it) will ride on the same platform as the Nissan Leaf and will have a range of 373 miles. Power from its twin electric motors is expected at 429 brake horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Like Tesla’s vehicles, the IMx uses one electric motor on each axle, giving the electric car full-time AWD.
Currently, Nissan is working to expand its ProPilot driver assistance system to the point of full autonomy.
Currently, Nissan is working to expand its ProPilot driver assistance system to the point of full autonomy. The goal would be not only transporting passengers without needing someone to drive, but also to operate completely independently. Nissan’s example is the IMx would drop its passenger off at the airport terminal, drive itself to the parking garage, find a recharging station, and patiently wait until it’s hailed from the owner’s smartphone app.
Of course, Nissan isn’t the only automaker working on this level of autonomy and convenience. Aoki said, “The world is very small. Every car maker is finding the same influences so cars are getting more similar. In the next ten years I want to push Nissan a bit more above the crowd in terms of perception.”
Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan IMx.
Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Nissan IMx.
Read more Nissan news.
Source: Auto Express