If you’ve browsed Tofugu Flickr at all, you’ve probably seen this picture of Nissan’s 2005 concept car, the Pivo. It’s stout, round body makes it incredibly cute, like something a young Tokyo-ite would slap a Hello Kitty decal on and carry around in her over-sized purse. The car runs off of a lithium-ion batter (like many electronics now days), which makes this a more environmentally-friendly vehicle, as well. The most awesome thing about this car, though is the fact its body pivots (get it?) on the spot—a full 360 degrees—effectively eliminating the need for pesky reversing, as it allows you to face/drive in any direction you like. If you can’t quite envision this, please check out this video. It’s quite cool to see the Pivo in action… but now that I watch this again, it also seems incredibly lazy. All that work just to save yourself the hassle of driving backward?
Fortunately, in its newest reincarnation (creatively named the Pivo 2), the car’s usefulness, and perhaps even its cuddly-factor, have been significantly increased.
Now, not ony does the body rotate, but the wheels themselves do, too. This means that you really can drive in any direction—especially useful for those who, like Koichi, are inept at parallel parking, as it allows you drive into spaces on the first try without any of that awkward wiggling.
Additionally, the Pivo 2 comes complete with a little R2-D2 robot friend who will inform you of road conditionsor even try to cheer you up when it detects that you’re looking a bit glum. Unfortunately, it doesn’t dispense soft serve like Dr. Whippy, but hopefully Nissan’s working on that for next time.
While the nonthreatening, plump design and overall slow rate of movement will ensure that this car will never be used in a big-budget Hollywood chase scene, I foresee good things for the Nissan Pivo. It comes with its own robot, for goodness sake! So, if you’re are planning on visiting Tokyo anytime soon, swing by the Nissan Showroom in Ginza to get a first-hand look at the car of the future.
In the meantime, read up a bit on more cutesy Japanese cars here.