Nissan has been innovating in overdrive. Last week, we wrote about its still-developing electric vehicle, which will charge wirelessly like a Sonicare toothbrush. And this morning, the Tokyo-based automaker announced four new developments: Forest-scented A/C, an automated turn assistant, a brand-new EV, and a remote-control iPhone app. With no major auto shows on the horizon, it's a bizarre time for Nissan to tantalize the blogosphere. But we'll buzz along anyway.
To the probable dismay of car-freshener lovers everywhere, Nissan is developing an A/C system that can "recreate the refreshing climate, fragrance and natural breezes of relaxing forest settings." The aromas, it says, are designed to keep drivers comfortable, but alert—much as they would be while, say, sitting for a tea ceremony or doing calligraphy. The system will debut on the Fuga, a vehicle that ships this fiscal year in Japan. Sadly, U.S. drivers will have to recreate olfactory climates the old-fashioned way: By sticking our heads out the window.
Automated Turn Assistant
Yet another innovation for the Fuga. First, this system—otherwise known as the Navigation-Cooperative Intelligent Pedal (NCIP)—uses real-time GPS mapping data to detect an oncoming curve. Then, while accounting for the driver's speed and the severity of the bend, it physically lifts the accelerator pedal and activates the brakes. The point, Nissan says, is to "reduce the driver's workload on curvy roads," which sounds pretty awesome to us, especially if it's coupled with a crisp, clean forest breeze.
Greenies turned off by the boxy design of Nissan's other EV, the Cube, now have a (potentially) more stylish option to salivate over: The electrified Tiida—or Versa, to U.S. buyers—was unveiled today, via a low-res image posted to Nissan's Web site. The Tiida will use the same EV platform as the Cube, which comprises a rigid body, high-performance motor, and compact lithium-ion battery.
Liberal use of heating and A/C is fine if you're driving a gas-guzzler. But for EV owners, it drains the battery and reduces the car's range. Nissan's new prototype iPhone app, which is scheduled to debut in 2010, allows you to dial into your EV while it's still charging, so you can monitor its battery life, check its remaining charge time, and even crank up the heating and A/C.