The Nissan TeRRA concept is a compact SUV powered by a hydrogen fuel cell with three electric motors for four-wheel drive.
Powering the front wheels is the electric propulsion system currently featured in the Nissan LEAF. In each back wheel, providing all-wheel power as needed, is an in-wheel electric motor, based on the working prototypes featured in three successive PIVO concepts. As no drive shafts are required to power the rear wheels, there is no hump in the floor or on the underbody. This allows for the flat boot floor and the underside bodypan.
Under the bonnet is Nissan’s hydrogen fuel cell stack: a flat, highly compact unit that features world-leading power density of 2.5kW/L. The latest in a series of Nissan fuel cells since 1996, the stack costs just one-sixth of its 2005 predecessor as the need for expensive precious metals has been slashed to one-quarter of the previous level.
The TeRRA’s driver sits front and almost centre in a unique diagonal layout that positions rear passengers over the shoulders of those in front, rather than directly behind. The flat interior floor surface is a result of the compact hydrogen fuel cell and electric motor package.
Facing the driver is a unique instrument cluster. It’s an electronic tablet – just like today’s portable devices – that serves as an “intelligent key”. The driver docks it when entering the car and removes it when leaving. When docked in TeRRA, the tablet’s default view displays speed and other information but the driver can easily toggle to entertainment, communications, navigation and other views. Outside the car it provides all the normal functions of a tablet, plus it stays continually in touch with the vehicle. The idea is seamless information and communication, on the road and everywhere else.
TeRRA is purely a concept car , but it signals that Nissan is ready to mass-produce fuel cell electric vehicles whenever hydrogen becomes widely available. It will be unveiled on 27 September at the Paris Motor Show 2012.