The Nissan Concept 20-23 was today unveiled by Nissan’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Makoto Uchida, marking the 20th anniversary of the Paddington-based Nissan Design Europe (NDE) facility. The occasion was met with applause by journalists as the car arrived on a barge moored directly outside the NDE facility.
Nissan Design Europe is a prominent arm of the Japanese manufacturer’s creativity process, having been responsible for concept cars such as the Qazana (precursor to the Juke) the 370Z-inspired Nissan Grips and BladeGlider, not to mention the highly successful Qashqai. The multicultural team is made up of 55 employees, who span everything from car designers, and exterior and interior paint specialists to 3D animators and clay sculptors – it’s a melting pot of creativity where the passion for everything automotive is shared, lived and breathed.
The Nissan Concept 20-23 was conceived by a team of creatives from NDE, which comprised some of the younger team members. This notion is echoed in the car’s ‘gaming generation’ blueprint, which utilises a juxtaposed motorsport-meets-electric-city-car facade complete with sprinklings of the marque’s racing DNA – the original K10 March Super Turbo Rally car is clearly visible here. The concept’s naming convention ’20-23′ is a clever touch indeed, referencing the number of years of NDE’s location in the heart of London and the company’s traditional numbers 2 (ni) and 3 (san).
Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan’s Senior Vice President for global design, said: “The young team here at NDE was given a simple brief: design a fun electric city car that you’d like to drive every day in London. The 20-23 Concept that they designed is a compact hatchback which is strongly influenced by the online racing world. I love the story it tells about how the worlds of modern city living, online gaming and zero emissions mobility intersect.”
Inspired by Formula E, for driving in the city
Inspiration comes from both the online racing world and Nissan’s participation in Formula E. The car’s three-door hatchback body style features extreme aerodynamic touches both at the front and rear, with a wide-stance body kit. The blistered arches house 21-inch wheels shod in low-profile tyres.
The front end of the Nissan Concept 20-23 is angular in shape and provides a clean surface that’s bookended by large, big-eye headlamps consisting of a thin upper and lower semi-circle LED.
At the rear, a dominant single-piece spoiler takes centre stage without interfering with rear-view visibility.
The rear lights follow a similar design functionality as the headlamps with thin upper and lower LEDs – which contrast the squared-off geometric shapes that dominate the aggressively faceted gloss-black rear diffuser. The black accents are scattered throughout the design architecture and do well to complement the matte-grey textured colourway: this includes the flanks and side skirts, front splitter, wheel arch air vents and spoiler. Another racy touch is the company number – 23 – which takes up residence just above the vehicle’s rear haunches.
“Celebration of 20 years of NDE”
Inside, the designers have managed to marry the angular exterior with a gravely detailed and layered interior. The rectangular sports steering wheel is decorated with a plethora of buttons, not to mention shifter paddles to adjust the electric powertrain.
A lot of textures and shapes are on display inside – carbon fibre, gloss-black surfaces and bits of red accentuate the car’s sporty and racy lineage. At the same time, despite the supportive seatbelt harnesses, there’s ample space for the driver and passenger, which nullifies any sense of claustrophobia and the like. It’s pretty roomy in here.
Between the two occupants, two metal beams form the centre console and are bolted to the spine-like support beam of the car that appears from the floor. If you look closely, you’ll notice the red fire extinguisher mounted beneath the two brace bars.
The interior is an interpretation of the bare functionality of a contemporary race car – the result of which takes many cues, such as the information screens and dashboard vitals, from the Nissan Formula E machine and online racing simulator set-ups.
To summarise Concept 20-23, Alfonso Albaisa said: “It’s a fitting celebration of 20 years of NDE where bold ideas have taken shape and come to life!”