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Nissan Chases Tesla with Its Electric Concept Car

The Detroit Auto Show has kicked off, and while Toyota has pulled the covers off its long-awaited Supra, and Ford is putting a rear-wheel drive spin on a track-focused Explorer, Nissan has unveiled a semi-sporty concept of its own. Only, it’s powered by electricity.

Credit: Nissan

(Image credit: Nissan)

The Nissan IMs straddles the line between crossover and sedan, insofar as it has three-box passenger car proportions with the ground clearance of an SUV. However, it’s probably fair to say it looks better than your standard crossover, with its haunched fenders and crisp, right-angles playing off against curved, clean edges. It’s like a Volvo S60 Cross Country, only much more futuristic.

The edginess extends into the interior, where advanced fabrics coat many of the IMs’ surfaces, and a huge touchscreen extends from the driver’s left all the way down two-thirds of the dashboard. The slate-and-gold color scheme echoes the exterior trim.

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Two electric motors drive all four wheels of the IMs, putting a combined 483 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque to the ground, with a maximum range of 380 miles. However, all that power won’t be yours to manage, as Nissan says the IMs offers a choice of fully-autonomous and manual driving modes. Granted, the automaker doesn’t go into specifics about how the former would work — this is still very much a design study at heart.

Credit: Nissan

(Image credit: Nissan)

Theoretically, the IMs would also employ Nissan’s Invisible-to-Visible driving interface, which the manufacturer actually demoed last week at CES. This system augments the view out of the windshield with additional data to help you stay informed on the road or make driving more comfortable. For example, one feature would put a virtual driving coach in your car, showing you the optimal line through a stretch of road, while another would display a clear, sunny picture of the world outside, even if conditions are rainy or foggy.

While nothing about the IMs suggests production car at this time, there’s a strong chance the car’s aesthetic will find its way into many of Nissan’s upcoming electric and autonomous vehicles. If nothing else, that makes it a worthwhile window into the future.

Adam Ismail is a staff writer at Jalopnik and previously worked on Tom's Guide covering smartphones, car tech and gaming. His love for all things mobile began with the original Motorola Droid; since then he’s owned a variety of Android and iOS-powered handsets, refusing to stay loyal to one platform. His work has also appeared on Digital Trends and GTPlanet. When he’s not fiddling with the latest devices, he’s at an indie pop show, recording a podcast or playing Sega Dreamcast.