Nissan prototype Land Glider has the lean down

by Hiroko Nakata

Nissan Motor Co. was poised to unveil to the press on Thursday an electric concept car that leans into corners like a motorcycle.

The Land Glider, a narrow, cocoon-shaped four-wheeler, will make its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, which opens to the public on Oct. 24.

The Land Glider tilts up to 17 degrees when turning corners and uses speed and steering-angle sensors to calculate the required amount of lean. Its large movable fenders allow the cabin to lean with the driver accordingly, the company said.

“It drives on the ground, but it looks like a glider flying in the air,” said Kimiya Mochizuki, design director for the Land Glider at Creative Box Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Nissan.

The glass-canopied roof and airplane-style steering yoke make drivers feel like they’re piloting a glider instead, according to Mochizuki.

The Land Glider is targeted at city dwellers of all generations. The 3.1-meter-long, 1.1-meter-wide tandem two-seater is convenient for town use and can run 100 km on a single charge, Mochizuki said.

Nissan will also be exhibiting the Leaf, an electric vehicle that will go on sale in Japan, Europe and North America in 2010, and the Qazana, a compact sports car with the feel of an off-roader that appeared at the Geneva motor show in March.