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by Jay Traugott
Nissan blends the two things it does best - crossovers and electric cars - into one concept car unveiled in Paris.
Could Nissan's latest concept preview the design and format of its next-generation SUV? Anything's possible given the Japanese automaker's proven track record with both crossovers like the Xterra and Juke, and electric vehicles like the Leaf. But while some elements are clearly for show, something tells us the Terra SUV Concept is closer to reality than it may seem. The Terra is a compact SUV that's powered by a hydrogen fuel cell combined with three electric motors.
The front wheels operate on the same system found in the Leaf while the rear is driven by a hydrogen fuel cell. Given the challenges associated with distributing hydrogen, the Terra's powertrain may not be the most realistic prospect, but we can't blame Nissan for trying. The advanced powertrain configuration is packaged into a shape that is is described as "Modern Toughness" with styling inspired by "the lifestyles of youthful customers in Northern Europe." Geographical influences aside, Nissan designed the Terra to have enough ground clearance for outdoor excursions, while producing zero emissions to pollute the environment over which it treads.
The sleek interior layout consists of an electric tablet instrument cluster similar to what's found in the Leaf, only a bit more futuristic. Mounting the electric motors at the front and rear allows the floor to fold flat for increased cargo capacity. The Terra is definitely interesting and given that Nissan is also developing hydrogen fuel cell technology, we could see a production model of some sort on the road in only a few short years. Just don't be surprised to see it lose some of the show car-only flourishes along the way.