Nissan headlines 2021 Tokyo Auto Salon lineup with mobile office van

Ben Hsu
·3 min read


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Nissan has unveiled its lineup for this year's virtual Tokyo Auto Salon. The physical event was canceled due to a recent COVID-19 spike, in which Japan saw as many as 97 deaths in a single day. However, Nissan's first build for the aftermarket extravaganza might help with socially distant working.

The Nissan NV350 Caravan Office Pod is exactly what it sounds like. The cargo area of the van has been built with a modern desk and office chair. It's wholly contained in the van if you need to park somewhere in the city and work, or if you're in a more serene environment the entire pod slides out several feet so that you can type while technically being outside of your van.

On the roof is a lounge area with a lawn chair-style recliner and retractable canopy for shade, in case you need a break. A one-way wrap gives you some privacy while letting light into the office space. Of course, there are outlets for a computer, coffee pot and phones. With many office workers telecommuting right now, it might be the perfect solution for maintaining productivity while allowing for some daily variety in locale.

Next up is the Note Play Gear, a concept based on the third-generation Nissan Note hatchback that debuted in December 2020. It's basically a Note with a trendy matte black and rose gold paint job, some custom 17-inch wheels, a bespoke body kit and a roof box. It's equipped with Nissan's e-Power hybrid system, which uses the gasoline engine only to supplement battery charging, not to drive the car. The new Note isn't sold in the U.S. but has quickly become one of Japan's top sellers.

Nissan's specialty vehicle division Autech brings appearance packages for three of Nissan's best sellers. Using a Kicks crossover, Note hatchback and Elgrand van as base models, Autech adds sportier grilles, body kits and upgraded interiors. In the past, Autech was responsible for building truly jaw-dropping cars like a four-door Skyline GT-R, but it has been largely demoted to adding blue stitching to leather seats. For what it's worth, Nissan claims the Elgrand Autech Concept features a suspension that's a fusion of the stock Elgrand's and the Nissan GT-R's. Take that with a Godzilla-sized grain of salt.

Nissan is also showing an updated Leaf Nismo, which we lamented not being able to drive in the U.S. when it debuted in 2018. Nissan's in-house racing division has tuned the computer so that acceleration in certain drive modes is about twice as quick as the standard Leaf. Recaro seats, 18-inch wheels, and a downforce-generating body kit round out the package.

Lest you think Nissan has given up on sporting cars, Nissan will also be showing off the Z Proto and two GT-Rs. One is GT-R Nismo with new Recaro seats, improved throttle response, and 410-mm (16-inch) carbon-ceramic brakes that can withstand temperatures exceeding 1,000 degrees Celcius (1,832 Fahrenheit). The other the SuperGT race car that won the GT300-class championship of 2020. Notably, the crew and team was staffed by Nissan employees and students of the Nissan University technical college, giving their win a special significance.

The full lineup will be revealed online on January 15, when the virtual Auto Salon kicks off.

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