Nissan unveils convertible EV concept, a category it should’ve been producing a decade ago

As part of the launch of its Nissan Futures event kicking off in Japan this week, Nissan Motor Company unveiled a physical EV convertible prototype called the Max-Out – based on a virtual rendering teased in 2021. The Japanese automaker says the electric convertible concept represents its ambitions for sustainability in the future, but we can’t help but wonder why the creators of the LEAF didn’t start developing EVs like this ten years ago?

Nissan Motor Corporation ($NSANY) has been in business since the 1930s in Japan and is recognized as one of the early promoters of electric vehicles with its Nissan LEAF, which debuted all the way back in 2010.

It would take 12 years for the Japanese automaker to grace the US with another BEV, when the Ariya began deliveries last fall. While Nissan gears up to take a custom Ariya 17,000 miles from the North to the South Pole next month, it is also exploring the possibility of a new mid-sized electric pickup.

The automaker’s “better late than never” dedication to electrification stems from its “Ambition 2030” strategy announced in 2021. Plans include a $17 billion investment in EV development and adjacent technologies (like solid-state batteries for instance) over a five year span, plus the debut of 15 fully-electric models by 2030.

Nissan kicked off “Ambition 2030” with the reveal of four EV concepts (err, digital renderings of concepts), including a convertible called called the Max-Out. Other concepts included the Chill-Out, Surf-Out, and of course the Hang-Out.

Since then, we’ve been interested to Find-Out if any of these EV concepts might actually Come-Out, but it seems unlikely at this point. For now, Nissan has brought one of its concepts to actual fruition – the Max-Out EV convertible, which was unveiled today to some feedback from the Electrek team.

Nissan shows off its EV convertible, but nothing tangible yet

The automaker will hold a month-long event called “Nissan Futures” at its global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan. It is there that it will showcase interactive events, host discussion panels, and exhibit its electric innovations. Just as long as none of those innovations are new EVs models planned for actual production.

To kick off the physical and virtual event, Nissan unveiled a real life version of the Max-Out EV convertible concept, which will remain on display for the duration. Per the release:

Created on the fundamental concept of being one with the car, the Nissan Max-Out two-seater convertible is designed to provide a liberating sense of openness while offering an enhanced, dynamic driving experience. The Max-Out displays Nissan’s innovation to develop a diverse range of advanced and striking vehicles, with a clear vision of how they can benefit both individuals and society.

When we first got a peak at the Nissan convertible, someone at Electrek described it as a concept designed in the ’70s based on what people imagined a vehicle would look like 2010. Someone else pointed out the front end’s similarity to a Dodge Challenger – another legacy automaker vowing to go all-electric.

I personally think the Nissan convertible looks like the creatives from Tron: Legacy took a crack at redesigning KITT from Knight Rider with the intention to also sell it as a Hot Wheels car. Pretty futuristic, but so blatantly a concept that will never reach production. Oh, how far Nissan’s electric priorities have strayed from the LEAF, one of the earliest mass produced EVs.

It feels like Nissan dropped the ball a bit by hosting a month long event at its HQ about its all-electric future, without mention of single new production model, especially since its deadline to deliver 15 BEVs is now down to seven years.

Nissan Futures with the Max-Out convertible EV display will take place from February 4 to March 1 in Yokohama.

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