Ahead of the 2019 Tokyo motor show, Nissan has previewed some of the stars, including this cute IMk concept — incorporating chic design, the latest technologies and electric drive to create the “ultimate urban commuter.”
Nissan turned to traditional Japanese design for inspiration. On the outside, the IMk is characterised by flowing lines, adopting the minimalism design cues of the past. However, the signature Nissan cues are all there – particularly the V-motion front-end – albeit redesigned for a modern look.
Nissan’s executive design director Satoru Tai said that the bumper, wheels, tires, windows, tail lamps, roof and high mount spoiler are inspired by mizuhiki, a thin twine made of Japanese rice paper. The combination taillights also borrows from traditional Japanese lattice woodwork.
Dipped in a red-copper paint job, named Akagane, the IMk pays homage to traditional artists who formed copper into works of art.
However, what really stands out is the interior design of the urban commuter concept, more specifically, the bezel-less “prism” screen, acting as both the instrument cluster and infotainment display, information “floats” on the glass pane in a holographic manner.
Nissan even used lighting strips under the prism display area, mimicking the display’s colors for a subtle halo effect. During operation, the designers added scene transitions in the form of a flock of birds flying across, a design detail that can also be seen as a faint pattern on the prism itself – signifying how the display can come to life.
Elsewhere in the interior, the IMk is fitted with bench-style seats, wrapped in dimpled leather to give an impression of “sitting on a floating cloud”, or so says Nissan. The dashboard and door sections are upholstered in light-tonal material, giving an airy yet cozy atmosphere, with Akagane accent finishing to add a luxurious touch.
The interlocking wooden panels between the lower dashboard and door panels are inspired by traditional Japanese wood joinery – kigumi and highlighted by hidden lighting around it.
You might have realised from the images that the IMk does not have any sideview mirrors. Nissan has opted to have cameras instead, reducing drag. We think that these cameras will also be used as an additional pair of “eyes” for the ProPilot 2.0 system, Nissan’s advanced driving assist system.
Other than single-lane autonomous driving on highways, ProPilot also communicates with your smartphone. The ProPilot Remote Park feature allows you to step out of the car and let the IMk look for a parking by itself – perfect for busy cities. Once you are ready to get back on the road, a press of a button on your phone summons the car to you.
Nissan is also showing off their Invisible-to-Visible (I2V) technology in the IMk, merging data from the sensors inside and out of the car, together with data from the cloud. The technology will help the IMk better understand its immediate surroundings, anticipating events even around the corner, outside of the direct line-of-sight.
The IMk concept will be built on Nissan’s expertise in electric vehicles. However judging by its dimensions, we expect this compact urban car to remain a Japanese domestic market model, if it ever gets built. As a concept, we should expect to see some of these cool features incorporated into production cars in the near future.