2008 Nissan Denki Cube Concept

"The Denki gives you an idea of what we are studying in the small-car market," says Mark Perry, director of product planning for Nissan North America. "In doing this concept, we were asking ourselves the question, 'What's possible from an EV concept?' We used an existing Cube body but installed our latest advanced technology in the form of lithium ion batteries. This is a one-off concept, though; there are no plans for an electric-powered Cube."

Perry elaborates: "We've said we're going to bring an electric vehicle to market by 2012, but it will be a dedicated car." (In other words, it won't be an electric version of an existing or future gasoline-powered car.) "We will first bring that car for fleet use in 2010, and that will be the same car that consumers can buy in 2012. The fleet activity is really about letting the infrastructure catch up with our technology. We are in a partnership [with a battery supplier], and we think we have solved most of the problems with size, cost, packaging, heat management, etc. Now our challenge is [creating an electric powertrain that provides] usable range."

In summary, the takeaway from the Denki Cube is that it has nothing to do with any future production Nissan. However, Nissan also used the 2008 New York auto show to announce that it will bring the next-generation Cube to the United States, and the car will debut this November at the 2008 Los Angeles auto show and go on sale sometime in 2009. Rest assured; the new Cube should be just as cool as the one currently sold in Japan. "It's exactly the same concept," confirms Shiro Nakamura, Nissan's worldwide design chief. [Like the current Cube], "it will be very boxy, very space efficient, and very modern, and it will continue to have asymmetrical body styling in the rear window."

Check out our gallery of Nissan Denki Cube images below.

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