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October 6, 2019

Nissan Offers a Glimpse of Future Kei Cars with the IMk Concept

The keijidōsha or kei car is synonymous with Japan. Often boxy little things, they’re the smallest highway-legal passenger car on offer there. Of late though, the kei car has seen reduced government subsidies that lessen their advantage over regular-sized cars. In fact, currently, only Daihatsu, Honda, Mitsubishi, and Suzuki are producing their own kei cars with Nissan, Mazda, and even Toyota selling re-badged models.

This fact isn’t stopping Nissan who’s showing off a new concept car, the IMk which is their vision for the “ultimate urban commuter.”

Riding on an all-new EV platform which may spawn a production model later on, the IMk is designed with a very clean, very Japanese aesthetic. It has Nissan’s V-motion grille (now dubbed the V-motion shield) and a paint scheme inspired by traditional Japanese copper called Akagane.

Inside, the IMk is simplistic in its execution, going for a café or lounge look. The same Akagane-colored accents continue inside while also adding light tonal materials to the mix. Other than the start button and shifter, the IMk’s thin dashboard is void of physical controls. Powering up the IMk reveals cabin comfort controls and settings with soft glowing icons within the Akagane trim.

Important driving information, such as vehicle speed and navigation directions, appear in “midair” by way of a bezel-less prism display. Customized information is communicated to the driver via holographic displays. Interior accent lighting mimics the prism display’s color scheme, depending on displayed content.

While the IMk is certainly whimsical and clearly just meant as a concept car, it’s very important to know that it’s got technologies already available such as Nissan’s ProPilot technology. Furthermore, its pure EV drivetrain delivers ample levels of acceleration and power, even on steep slopes.

The Nissan IMk is clearly a concept car for now, but certain design elements and of course it’s EV drivetrain will certainly make it to production models in the near future. If it does make it into production, the IMk won’t be the first all-electric kei car (that title goes to the Mitsubishi i-MiEV). But it sure is shaping to be the most intelligent one around.

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