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Nissan Land Glider concept could make production under Infiniti banner

Nissan's Infiniti luxury brand will soon be launching its first hybrid vehicle in the form of the M35 Hybrid in early 2011, but the Japanese luxury marque could become far more serious about efficiency soon thereafter. Nissan has revealed that a version of the Land Glider concept could be heading to Infiniti dealers in the not-too-distant future.

The Nissan Land Glider concept will make its world debut later this week at the Tokyo Motor Show, but the all-electric two-seater could surface in Infiniti showrooms before the end of next decade. The motorcycle-inspired EV concept may seem like pure automotive whimsy, but Nissan has some serious plans for the Land Glider.

Essentially an enclosed four-wheeled motorcycle, the Land Glider uses a set of electric motors to tilt the vehicle up to 17 degrees during cornering, aiding in all-speed handling. An all-electric drivetrain promises to keep the green crowd happy while the 1+1 cockpit offers seating for two. However, that seating arrangement may be changed for production as rear-seat impact regulations may require the removal of the rear passenger compartment.

Although the Land Glider seems like pure concept on paper, Nissan has serious production intent for the EV. "This is our second phase of electric-vehicle design," Takashi Nakajima, director of exploratory design for Nissan, told Automotive News.

At just 122 inches in length and 43 inches in width, the Land Glider is far from a typical Infiniti vehicle. However, Nissan says the Land Glider is a look five or ten years down the road. Nissan thinks that even premium buyers will be downsizing to city cars by the end of next decade, possibly putting the Land Glider ahead of the curve.

Nissan has yet to give the Land Glider the production nod, but it sounds as if the EV is bound for Infiniti dealers worldwide. Nissan's first production electric vehicle -- the Leaf -- will hit the market late next year.