Maybe we spoke too soon when nominating some of our favourite bits of technology and design from the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.

Small electric cars were all the rage at Tokyo, from the Teewave AR.1 sports car - a collaborative project between carbon fiber experts Toray and engineer Gordon Murray - through to small, Renault Twizy-alike tandem city cars from Honda, Suzuki and Nissan.

Nissan's contribution is particularly intriguing, according to our sister site Green Car Reports.

Called the Pivo3 concept, it's the latest in a line of other Pivo concepts from previous years at Tokyo. They've each had two things in common - they're all Nissans, and they're all utterly crazy.


The original Pivo concept was so named for its ability to pivot around a tight point (originally, on the spot), and the Pivo3 is only a little different. Pivo3 is only nine feet long, but thanks to all four wheels having an incredibly tight turning angle, it can rotate in only seven feet.

Four-wheel electric motors are key to the Pivo3's turning circle - a regular drivetrain just wouldn't allow those tight angles.

Each wheel is equipped with a motor, a concept that Nissan is keen to implement in road cars at some stage. “In-wheel motors are a technology the company wants to realize in EVs,” explained Nissan's Chief Creative Officer, Shiro Nakamura. The tech isn't quite ready for mass production yet, but you can be sure Nissan is working on it.

The other benefit of in-wheel motors is interior space. Two automated sliding doors give access to a three seat cabin - the driver sits ahead of two passengers, one more than the Renault Twizy manages.

Nissan hasn't revealed any range or performance information for the concept, but should a production version ever hit the streets it would likely prioritize quick charging over a long range, as urban drivers rarely travel long distances each day.

For more on the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, head over to our dedicated show page.