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Nissan's new car is rotating egg on wheels

New Pivo's egg-shaped cabin atop a wheeled platform can swivel around 360 degrees.

india Updated: Sep 30, 2005 13:51 IST

Tired of the three-point turn? Nissan Motor Co could have a solution.

Japan's second-biggest auto maker on Friday took the wraps off a new concept car featuring an egg-shaped cabin atop a wheeled platform that can swivel around 360 degrees, doing away with the need to reverse when emerging from narrow spaces.

"With this feature, parking in tight spots is a cinch," chief designer Masato Inoue said in a sneak preview of the bubble-shaped electric car to journalists this week.

The model, named Pivo after the word pivot, operates on an experimental system called drive-by-wire, which eliminates the mechanical linkages between cabin and chassis to enable steering, braking and shifting through electronic signals sent to a central computer.

The system is the car's equivalent of fly-by-wire technology, which has controlled commercial jets for over a decade.

Nissan will showcase the Pivo at the Tokyo Motor Show, which opens to the public on Oct. 22, and at its gallery in the heart of Tokyo's posh Ginza district this weekend.

At the preview at its facilities in Zama city, outside Tokyo, Nissan showed a driver slide the 2.7-metre-long (8 ft 10 in) Pivo into a tight imaginary parking spot, then rotate the cabin with the push of a button to face "backwards" to come out of the space in one motion.

"With the Pivo concept, we want to demonstrate the myriad possibilities that drive-by-wire could achieve," Inoue said. He added that while the technology would take years to perfect, Nissan "definitely" planned to put it on the road one day.

Other auto makers such as General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler AG have also developed drive-by-wire concept cars featuring cabin interiors that resemble cockpits.

Quirky concept cars are always a crowd-pleaser at international motor shows, which auto makers use to show off next-generation technology and draw attention to their newest production vehicles.

First Published: Sep 30, 2005 12:46 IST