New EV design philosophies for the autonomous era
Until now, vehicles have been designed with a clear differentiation between exterior and interior. Exterior design provides a sense of security from the outside, while the interior design gives drivers an appropriate environment for concentrating on driving.
This purpose-based differentiation is likely to change with the arrival of fully autonomous vehicles. Nissan’s designers sought to redefine the interior space of the IMx to create a sense of openness, while maintaining a feeling of privacy. To achieve this, they endeavored to design a space that links up the inside and outside of the vehicle.
They also wanted to convey the key characteristics of electric vehicles – quiet and smooth with a sense of light, yet powerful and dynamic. They took inspiration from the Japanese concepts of ma, a sense of space and time, and wa (harmony), expressing the coexistence of two seemingly contradictory concepts – “stillness” and “motion.”
Exterior design: showcasing the unique characteristics of electric vehicles
Since the IMx’s debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, the Nissan design team, led by Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president for global design, has made some small but significant changes to the vehicle – hence the new KURO designation.
The team simplified the grille to give it a stronger and more solid character and changed the color from pearl white to a deep smoky gray, with black finished wheels and trim. The new color treatment transforms the IMx, giving it a tougher, substantial presence.
The intention behind the changes to the styling was to test whether the IMx’s concept as a showcase for Nissan’s autonomous driving and electric vehicle leadership could work with a different, more robust personality.
The main design features that made such a strong impact in Tokyo remain unchanged – from the familiar V-motion grille design to the supple character line rises and flows to the hood and rear end. The broad surfaces of the distinctively shaped front fenders start from the grille and expand seamlessly onto the body sides, creating a sense of layers.
“After the Tokyo Motor Show, my team and I continued to consider the IMx’s potential,” Albaisa said. “We asked ourselves if the basic concept of the IMx could be more SUV-inspired by making some relatively simple changes to details, accents and color.”
“Taken all together, these relatively minor changes have combined to give the IMx KURO a completely different personality, and the addition of the KURO moniker reflects that. It looks purposeful and indestructible – which we think is an interesting position for this concept and the application of technologies that is showcased by the vehicle.”