Gasoline and diesel engines need to breathe air to live. They get that air through various means, but most often it’s the grille at the front of the car. Electric vehicles require no such accommodation. What then will become of the grille?
Nissan’s design team is innovating the look and function of the typical grille area. In the company’s Airya Concept the area typically reserved for the grille has been turned into a hotbed for sensors.
Utilizing an aesthetic called Timeless Japanese Futurism the model has a a face that looks traditional yet advanced – not too outside the norm for the buying audience. The Concept utilizes Nissan’s signature v-motion design to create a “shield” that hides advanced technology behind its interface.
“By replacing the conventional grille with the tech shield – with innovative 3-D texture within that goes beyond aesthetics – we wanted a way to highlight the technology within the vehicle, just behind the surfaces,” said Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president of global design at Nissan. “In this case, its advanced technology that helps the Ariya Concept read the road and visualize things the driver can’t see making what is invisible, visible.
Changins from a grille to a shield was a challenge for the design team. They had to not just sketch the idea, but also test the thickness of the material used, amount of metallic flake in the paint, and pattern. The shield uses the same polycarbonate material found on the car’s headlamps transformed into a single piece with a geometric traditional Japanese pattern.
“The surface has no gaps,” said Giovanny Arroba, Program Design Director, Nissan. “It’s smooth like a sheet of silent water, with the kumiko pattern sitting just underneath the surface.”
The Ariya Concept isn’t just for show. It’s a showcase of the true future of Nissan. GottaBeMobile’s Josh Smith recently took the Nissan e-4orce, a vehicle that rides on the same platform as the Ariya, for a ride with Savannah Peterson, founder, Savvy Millennial.