These are the first official pictures of the Nissan Nuvu, a concept car that gives the best indications yet of how the firm's all-electric car will look when it goes on sale in 2010.
The Nuvu – pronounced 'new view' – is said by company insiders to show the styling of the electric car, plus feature technology that could be incorporated on a second-generation electric car scheduled to go on sale between 2015 and 2010.
This includes the use of solar panels, which on the concept car are leaf-shaped and roof-mounted.
Energy is transferred from the panels, through a tree-like structure that runs inside the car, to its lithium-ion batteries.
This top-up of power extends the Nuvu's range beyond the standard 80 miles achievable from a full three-to-four-hour mains charge, or 60 miles or so from a 40-minute quick charge.
Of course, leaf-shaped solar panels aren't going to make production – but there's no doubt solar panels of a more conventional shape will in the near future.
The Nuvu is about 30cm longer and 20cm taller than a Smart – but around the same width. It has two regular seats plus a third that opens into the gap usually reserved for luggage space alongside the driver.
The styling is based on a combination the Mixim concept car launched at the Frankfurt motor show in 2007 and Pivo 2, which was shown at the 2007 Tokyo motor show.
There's some quirky touches, too, such as the use of recycled materials inside and an aeroplane-style steering wheel.
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