516 electric pound-feet, no plug
Nissan’s global marketing chief Roel de Vries opened his 2019 Geneva Motor Show press conference with a history lesson and a photo of the 1947 Nissan Tama—an electric vanlet with about a 60-mile (97-km) range developed in response to Japan’s extremely scarce fuel resources at the time. All these decades later the company still markets planet Earth’s best-selling EV, the Leaf. Against this backdrop the wraps were pulled off the electrically powered Nissan IMQ concept.
Motivation comes from front and rear electric motors that combine to provide 335 hp and a GT-R NISMO GT3–walloping 516 lb-ft. Electrons are fed to these motors from a small battery that is constantly topped up by a turbocharged 1.5-liter gasoline engine. There is no plug. Nissan calls this series-hybrid arrangement e-Power, and it’s already on sale in the Japanese-market Serena minivan and Note subcompact. Nissan’s IMQ punctuates the company’s recent announcement that it will bring e-Power to Europe within three years, doubling the volume of electrified vehicles it sells here. The Q in the name hints at the fact that the Qashqai (Rogue-sized) crossover is due for replacement quite soon (the other letters stand for Intelligent Mobility, as in other recent Nissan concepts).
But don’t count on the next Qashqai looking exactly like this and dicing with GT-Rs for pink slips. The angular and exciting design is Alfonso Albaisa stretching his designer legs a bit; pushing an envelope that is likely to be pulled back considerably before the tooling dies are cast. Inside, Albaisa employs lots of traditional Japanese textures and graphics, and explores what drivers and passengers may do with the time and attention freed up by ProPilot Assist semi-autonomy. And as for performance, the Serena and Note use a 1.2-liter three-cylinder as a power generator, which can probably handle the task of generating the modest output typical of the small crossover market, but not of a GT-R-killer.
Whatever the production design ends up looking like, we will probably see similar styling on the next-gen Rogue. We think the design could look pretty compelling with a bit of dialing back.