Nissan’s IMk concept is a chic, boxy and electrified ‘Kei’ car

Built on a new platform, it "hints at the new direction of Nissan's design language."

Nissan wants to show that tiny city "Kei" cars in Japan don't have to be pug-ugly. At the Tokyo Motor Show, it will unveil the IMk EV concept built on a new platform that "signals the future of Nissan design," the company said. While tiny, it packs Nissan's latest tech including the ProPilot 2.0 driver assistant, "seamless" connectivity and a powerful EV drivetrain for its size. The design, meanwhile, uses what Nissan calls "timeless Japanese futurism," and borrows liberally from the country's traditional arts and crafts.

"For example, the bumper, wheels, tires, windows, tail lamps, roof and high mount spoiler treatment borrow from the flowing patterns of mizuhiki, a thin twine made of Japanese rice paper," said Nissan executive design director Satoru Tai. At the same time, it packs futuristic thin LED headlights and a shield-like grille that will become a signature Nissan design element going forward.

Nissan IMk EV concept

Inside, the designers were inspired by cafe's and lounges, using a bench-style seat "that gives the impression of sitting on a floating cloud," Nissan wrote. The lower doors have wood slats, "a nod to the Japanese joinery technique of kigumi," all designed to create "a sense of inner calm." The system recognizes the driver and automatically sets their seat settings, climate and the infotainment preferences.

Nissan hasn't detail specifics about the powertrain, performance or battery life, but it promised to release those details at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month. And get used to the design elements, because you're likely to see them again. "The IMk concept provides a glimpse of the new direction of Nissan Intelligent Mobility as technology evolves toward electrification and connectivity," said Nissan VP Asako Hoshino.