Nissan Pushes the Eco Button

Nissan Pushes the Eco Button

2011 Tokyo Auto Show

Just the Facts:
  • Small and green is Nissan's theme for this year's Tokyo auto show.
  • Pivo3, a tiny 3-seat EV commuter, will make its world premier.
  • Esflow, Nissan's cool rear-drive EV sports coupe, will be shown in Japan for the first time.
  • Nissan's compact Townpod EV will be on display.

YOKOHAMA, Japan — A day after unveiling a refreshed and more powerful 2013 GT-R, Nissan is ready to shift gears and push the eco button for its parade of exhibits at the upcoming 2011 Tokyo Auto Show.

Leading the way is the Pivo3, a new electric mini concept that Nissan's pitching as a "small urban EV commuter of the near future."

Nissan has done a couple of outlandish egg-like Pivo concepts before for Tokyo, in 2005 and 2007. However, this latest is being seen as visually "more realistic" while much emphasis is also being put on its maneuverability and array of "smart" functions.

Measuring under 10 feet in length, and with four swiveling in-wheel motors, the Pivo3 can make a U-turn in a road only 13 feet wide, Nissan says. As it can turn virtually on its own axis, you should rarely need to engage reverse. Handy, in other words, should you make a wrong turn on a narrow street.

Parking in tight spaces thus should be a cinch, but another tweak is that the Pivo3 can automatically park itself in specially equipped lots. It can recharge itself while you're away and later be summoned to your location by using a smartphone.

The Pivo3 is one of several small city-car concepts at the show to have a compact 1+2 seating layout, and that side of the design could well see production as such small EVs start to come on line within the next couple of years. Ahead of the show, Nissan will be giving a public preview of the Pivo3 at its Yokohama headquarters this coming Saturday, November 12.

At the Tokyo auto show this year, Nissan is also debuting its Esflow, the rakish, rear-drive sports coupe concept that first appeared at the Geneva auto show this spring. This twin-motor, electric sports-car study, which perhaps points to the next 370Z, is essentially unchanged, aside from a fresh coat of bright white paint.

Another reprisal is Townpod, an oddball "genre-blurring EV" mix of passenger car and light commercial vehicle that was unveiled at the 2010 Paris Auto Show.

Go back 10 years and Nissan created the Tokyo show's greatest sensation when, totally unannounced, it rolled out the GT-R concept in front of a stunned media crowd. While it would be nice to think Nissan has another big show-stopping surprise in the works for us for 2011, it's a more somber mood now in Japan and small green cars are seen as the responsible way to go. says: Nissan plays it safe with its 2011 Tokyo Auto Show offerings.

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