This is Nissan's new concept car, The Pivo 2 that will debut at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show. Powered by advanced Compact Lithium-ion Batteries and featuring a unique rotating cabin - meaning no reverse gear required - the first Pivo became a cult hit at shows from Beijing to Geneva.
Pivo 2 takes the idea of an environmentally friendly electric urban commuter vehicle and adds fun, functionality and a unique relationship between the car and driver. Pivo 2 is powered by advanced Compact Lithium-ion Batteries and employs 'by-wire' technologies for braking and steering. There are no axles which allows the wheels to change angle.
Where the first Pivo, with its fully rotating cabin design, made reversing obsolete, the Pivo 2 takes that easy mobility concept to a new level. Each of the four wheels are powered by Nissan's advanced electric In-wheel 3D Motor and can turn through 90 degrees to allow Pivo 2 to drive sideways as well as forward. The rotating cabin also means that when parked on the street, you can exit or enter directly to or from the sidewalk. The seating faces the door, on which the controls are mounted.
The Robotic Agent, which moves and uses lighted eyes and mouth for expression, can converse with you in Japanese and English, offering directions - such as where the nearest parking lot is located and which one is cheapest. But it can do much more than that. It can even read your facial expression to see if you are having a good day and if not, say things to help cheer you up. Or if you look sleepy, it might offer to show you to the nearest coffee shop.
Being a "concept car" there are obviously a few things that need addressing before turning into a production vehicle. You wouldn't want to open that door in the rain for example, and there is no place to stash the groceries for another, but the whole purpose of this kind of project is to explore ideas.
Pivo 2 won't tear me away from my bicycle, but I really appreciate a concept car with a truly innovative design that focuses on the environment as well as the practical utility and comfort for the user of the vehicle as opposed to merely cranking out yet another (yawn) muscle car. Attention to the enjoyment of day to day life is something I've come to deeply admire about Japan. A recent article in the International Herald Tribune (thanks Kurashi - News from Japan) put it well -
"...(Japan) has quietly gone about its business, applying the same kind of meticulous approach long ago made famous by its industries, of relentless small improvements to quality of life."