Nissan Esflow Concept - an electric sports car
10th February, 2011
It may be a concept, but the Nissan Esflow electric sports
car proves it’s possible to remain environmentally sympathetic without having to give up the joy of
It looks like a sports car, handles like a sports car and performs like one too. But Esflow is
different to every other sports car yet built: it’s electric. Using technology pioneered in the Nissan
Leaf, the EV concept suggests that driving can still be as much fun tomorrow as it is today.
At a glance
- Nissan Esflow – a pure EV sports car concept
- Rear-wheel drive two-seater/li>
- Two electric motors, each driving a rear wheel
- Laminated lithium-ion batteries mounted low for best weight distribution
- Dramatic styling with wraparound windscreen for unobstructed visibility
- 0-100 km/h in under 5 seconds
- Over 240 kms on one charge
The Nissan Esflow
Nissan has a reputation for making some of the most exhilarating sports cars on the market. Nissan
has also developed one of the world’s first practical Zero Emission family car, the Nissan Leaf.
Now Nissan has put that expertise together. It has captured the excitement of a sports car and the
environmental benefits of an electric vehicle and blended them into one dramatic two-seater concept:
Esflow has been made from the ground up as a pure electric vehicle, to give an idea how a Zero
Emission sports car of the future might look. Living ecologically has often been seen as an act of
austerity – to save one’s environmental conscience sacrifices must be made. Esflow is here to address
Owning an ecologically sound car does not have to come at the expense of driving enjoyment. The
briefest glance at the Esflow is enough to tell you what kind of car it is: a long bonnet leading into
a steeply raked, wrap around windscreen, the compact cabin placing the occupants bang on the car’s
centre of gravity, hunched arches over ultra-low profile tyres wrapped around six spoke wheels. Esflow
is unmistakably a sports car, and those in the know will recognise its heritage – hints of classic and
contemporary Nissan sports cars abound.
Vitally, Esflow is not an existing ICE (internal combustion engine) powered vehicle that has been
adapted to run on electricity, but a sports car that’s been designed from the outset as a Zero
Emission vehicle. This means that Nissan’s forward thinking designers have had free rein to place the
power train and batteries in the optimum positions to benefit the car’s handling and performance and
enhancing the thrill of driving.
The Nissan Esflow is based on existing technology, implemented in innovative ways. An attractive,
head turning composite body covers an aluminium chassis, incorporating its own roll cage. The
powertrain unit, which uses the same technologies installed in the Nissan Leaf, is tuned to offer a
sporty driving experience.
Esflow is rear-wheel drive and it runs on two motors. The car’s graceful proportions allow the twin
electric motors to be placed above the axis of the rear wheels, in a mid-ship position. These motors
independently control the left and right wheels, and so the torque is optimised to ensure outstanding
vehicle stability and control as well as efficient power regeneration. The motors produce enough
torque in an instant for it to reach a 100 km/h in under 5 seconds.
Power for the motors comes from the same laminated lithium-ion battery packs used in the Nissan
Leaf, but in Esflow the packs are located along the axis of the front and rear wheels. This centralises
the mass of the car, and thus its rotation point, close to the driver’s hips. These cleverly positioned
batteries enable the car to travel over 240 kms on one charge.
An aluminium chassis has been built around the drive train, taking full advantage of the
opportunities that Zero Emission electric propulsion provides. Power cells are incorporated in such a
way that they benefit Esflow’s strength and poise, not detract from them. Indeed, unlike a conventional
fuel tank, batteries do not get lighter as they provide energy, so the car’s weight distribution
remains constant throughout a drive.
The high waistline afforded by the Esflow’s classic sports car proportions allows strong, yet
unobtrusive roll bars incorporated in to the structure behind the seats to safely take the entire load
of the car in the event of a roll over, negating the need for obtrusive, thick, reinforced A-pillars
and the blind spots they inevitably produce.
This almost unobstructed view ahead will not be unfamiliar to fighter pilots, and just as such pilots
speak of “strapping their planes on to their backs”, Nissan hope Esflow owners will also feel the car to
be an extension of their bodies, reacting to their slightest whims. The driver must be at the centre of
the sports car both physically and metaphorically.
The Esflow is undoubtedly an attractive car. Crisp, clean lines not only convey the purity of its
sporting potential, but suggest the clarity of electric power. The colour scheme chosen for the concept
car is inspired by glaciers – highly reflective solidified liquid with blue tints in its shadows. Like
its ZEV concept forebears and contemporary stable mate the Esflow’s headlights and Nissan emblem are
tinted cool blue. The six spoke wheels contain blue carbon inserts while the same material adorns the
side sill, roof mounted lip spoiler and lower rear bumper.
Blue LEDs accentuate the futuristic lights slashed into the bodywork both front and rear. Where the
Nissan Leaf’s protrusive headlights are used to guide airflow around the door mirrors, this is not
needed on Esflow as the mirrors have been replaced with minute rear view cameras at the base of its
A-pillars. The Esflow’s front lights do protect a secret of their own however: flip out charging points
built in to the air ducts beneath.
Ecological minimalism need not come at the expense of luxury. The cabin of the Esflow is clean and
open and weight saving has been a priority throughout its design, but it is still a comfortable and
pleasant place to sit. By far the heaviest components in modern cars’ interiors are the steel framed,
thickly upholstered and increasingly motorised seats. In Esflow the seats are sculpted into the rear
bulkhead of the car, negating the need for a heavy frame. This of course means that they are immobile,
but this is of no consequence as the fly-by-wire steering and pedals adjust electrically to the best
spot to suit each individual driver’s size and preferred driving position.
The seats themselves are upholstered in gold leather and perforated gold suede while the doors are
trimmed in dark blue leather and suede. The blue and gold motif, the colour of sparks, is continued
across the dashboard, which is also adorned with silver carbon trim, and features four multifunction
illuminated LCD displays.
Geneva Motor Show
The Nissan Esflow concept will be unveiled at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show (3rd-13th March).