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Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Nissan PIVO 2 - Electric Concept Car
Image: courtesy of Nissan (www.nissan-global.com)

Nissan PIVO 2 - By-Wire Technology - Geneva Motor Show

At the Geneva Motor Show in March of this year, Nissan showcased their advanced technology PIVO 2 Electric Concept Car (PIVO2). Nissan first introduced the PIVO 2 design last year at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show and they have been continually refining the capabilities of the car since then. The PIVO 2 is a three seat all electric vehicle with lithium ion batteries, regenerative braking, and fully chargeable off household current.

The advanced technology aspects of the PIVO 2 are that the passenger cabin rotates 360 degrees, and all four wheels can turn 90 degrees for parking and manoeuvrability. Each wheel is powered by an in-line electric motor that also functions to provide regenerative braking during deceleration. The PIVO 2 has what Nissan calls 'By-Wire' technology, that gives the driver direct electrical control of the steering, acceleration and braking systems.

The PIVO 2 design is derived from the first generation Nissan PIVO, first seen at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2005. The initial concepts, however, were from an earlier Nissan development car called the IDEO (2001 Tokyo Motor Show) which was designed to showcase Nissan's IT technology and had an all around 360 degree view, similar to the PIVO class vehicles.

In an interview, Masato Inoue, Chief Designer PIVO 2, and Masahiko Tabe, Nissan Manager of Advanced Vehicle Engineering, outlined the benefits of Nissan 'By-Wire' technology. They said that the use of in-line electric motors in each wheel has removed all of the weight associated with a central engine compartment, and saved significant space by eliminating the drive axle components found on a conventional car.

The in-line motors have been a joint development project between Fujitsu and Nissan. With all drive motors located at wheel level, the PIVO 2 centre of gravity is lowered and this provides for increased dynamic stability in cornering. Nissan has given the PIVO 2 a variable geometry chassis that they call the 'Metamo System'. When the PIVO 2 is braking, its front wheel arms extend forward and the rear wheel arms extend sideways, counteracting the imbalance caused by deceleration.

The PIVO 2 can park in the tightest of spots, because all four wheels can rotate 90 degrees to allow the vehicle to enter the spot sideways. There is one entry/exit door and the cabin rotates to allow passengers to exit from the side of the vehicle. It even has a 'Robotic Agent' that sits on the console and spins around to speak to you about your driving in either English or Japanese. Nissan may be close to making a decision to introduce a version of the PIVO 2 as a production model in the near future. They have already said that most of the PIVO technology was developed to be applied on future vehicles.

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