2007 Nissan Bevel Concept
Some asymmetry for a narrow demographic
The answer to that question, according to Nissan, is wrapped up in their Bevel concept from 2007.
For guys with utility needs
Estimating that the target buyers would spend 90 percent of their time driving alone, Nissan Design America, Inc. (located in La Jolla, California), along with help from Nissan’s advanced product planning groups in the United States, targeted this concept with laser focus at the driver–almost solely the driver.
What’s more, the hypothetical driver Nissan had in mind when Bevel was conceived was a 45 to 60 year-old male possessing “multiple personal interests.”
This man has no need for a traditional truck’s bed, but does have a need to extend his toolbox, workshop and garage.
The concept utility vehicle is 173.2 inches long, 75.0 inches wide, 63.8 inches tall and rides on a 115.4-inch wheelbase.
The rear opens, as one large hatch, to a height of 6.2 inches. When the hatch is open, a large, flat platform folds down, locking into place to serve as a work space. The platform is reported to be sturdy enough to “sit or stand on” but that leaves a lot of room for interpretation.
At the rear, designers provided two power outlets (a 12V and 110V) that are probably optimistically powered by roof-mounted solar cells which are installed beneath the roof’s large glass panels.
The unequal treatment
Bevel, sort of like Nissan’s Cube but more so, is an asymmetrical design. Meaning, the left and right shapes are not the same. Savvy readers might have noticed from the pictures above that the passenger side has a large rear-spanning window, while the driver’s side has a side window on the door but only a thin, slit-like window running down the side. (The minimal glass design was intentional to shield vehicle contents from prying eyes.)
Below, the differing left and right side designs are more clearly seen.
Another asymmetrical design element is the door arrangement. The driver’s side is single-doored while the passenger side door is complimented by a rear, rear-hinged door. The opening which spans 67.3 inches across gives access to rear seats that fold flat with the rearmost area, creating a large, flush surface.
The asymmetrically-shaped glass roof includes six hexagon-shaped “pucks” with pop-up hooks designed to carry up to 250 pounds. Nissan contrasts that with traditional roof rack systems which they say are typically recommended to hold only 60 pounds.
Zoned for multiple uses
Nissan describes Bevel’s cab as being a “three-zone interior.” These include the “comfort zone,” “command central” and the “utility/pet zone.” While Nissan counts three, I count only two. (You’ll see why I claim a count discrepancy in a moment.)
The comfort zone is the driver’s area including a leather, fixed seat. I’m not exactly sure why but a portion of the driver’s side floor is connected to the door and opens with it.
The instrument panel, described as the “ribbon,” moves by up to four inches to aid ingress/egress. By designing the concept with drive-by-wire throttle, braking and steering, the firewall was able to be moved forward almost a foot.
This is where the zone count discrepancy comes in; the second zone, command central, is the electronic dashboard. I say it’s double counting the comfort zone but don’t let that detract from some of the neat gadgets.
The instruments are digitally displayed and can be resized and reconfigured. There are side-mounted monitors which relay images from the mirror-replacing outside cameras.
This so-called second zone also includes a removable, wireless tablet computer which communicates with Bevel’s information center.
The third area, the utility/pet zone, was briefly mentioned above. The passenger seats are lightweight, aluminum-framed and flat-folding. The seat backs are covered with the same material used on the rear floors which is sourced from recycled walnut.
The front passenger area includes a 360-degree pet leash swivel connection point and removable “doggie hutch.” Beyond that, there are many cubbyholes and tie-down points throughout.
Bevel being bold
Even though this concept, which was introduced at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, doesn’t run, it was imagined to be powered by a 2.5-liter, hybrid-electric V-6 and shifted by a continuously variable transmission. The imagined goal was to offer segment-leading efficiency and the power of a larger V-6 engine.
Up front, the headlights are hidden behind an asymmetrically-shaped grill plate while LED tail lights are integrated into the rear’s body surround and hidden under the painted surface.
Enhancing the smooth-sided concept’s look are the handle-less doors which are opened via touch-sensitive door-release keypads mounted in the door’s window glass.
[Thanks to Nissan Motor Company Ltd for the facts, quotes and photos, and permission to display the photos in this post.]
Continue below to the photo gallery which includes many images not shown above.