The Tokyo Motor Show is always good for a head turner or two. And this year’s event did not disappoint. Among the concept rides creating the most buzz this go-round were the Toyota FV2, a street-legal, four-wheeled segway that rides more like a horse or motorcycle; and the Nissan BladeGlider, a triangular contraption inspired by hang gliders and the swept wing, an aircraft wing planform favored for high subsonic and supersonic speeds.
The BladeGlider’s triangular form reduces weight and boosts aerodynamic efficiency, promising a lighter, faster and cheaper (at least at the gas pump) ride. It’s the brain child of famed automotive designer Ben Bowlby, who earlier this year rocked a major told-ya-so with his Nissan DeltaWing.
Also triangular in shape, but longer and a bit more reminiscent of the Batmobile, the roofless DeltaWing debunked critics by delivering a solid performance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. Though a fellow driver’s mistake knocked the projectile-like ride out of the race before the finish line, it ran long enough and strong enough to prove Bowlby’s claim that the car would run competitively with roughly half the power, half the weight and half the fuel of its trackside rivals.
Touted as the next-generation sports car, the BladeGlider is a three-seater with the driver’s seat front and center, and two passenger seats in the rear. Seventy percent of the vehicle’s weight rests on its rear wheels. But a special underbody tray creates sufficient downforce to glue it to the road without the wings and spoilers needed to enhance airflow on conventional rides.
Nissan intends to build a production version of the BladeGlider with an all-electric powertrain soon. Would you sign up to drive one? Post your thoughts on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page.