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DeltaWing gives first look at 4-seat passenger concept


May 29, 2014

The DeltaWing concept is designed to be a road-going, multi-passenger version of the company's unconventional track racer

The DeltaWing concept is designed to be a road-going, multi-passenger version of the company's unconventional track racer

Image Gallery (14 images)

With its swept-wing design and narrowed front end, there’s no mistaking the DeltaWing for anything else on the track. Now the company has unveiled a newly rendered DeltaWing concept, that it hopes will take the radical design and turn it into a high efficiency, road-going passenger car for four.

The proposed passenger version won’t have the original DeltaWing track racer's performance capabilities, but it will retain most of the car's uncommon DNA.

Unfortunately, when the designers decided to puff out the back to make room for additional passengers, they removed almost all evidence of the "fighter jet meets 80s era Batmobile" appeal from the design. The concept as it sits now resembles more of a bloated trike with a disproportionate passenger dome and 1950s-era vacuum cleaner for a nose, than it does a next-generation performance vehicle.

To be fair, though, the winged wonder isn’t just some esoteric design folly, the vehicle actually derives its unconventional shape from DeltaWing’s four core principles: weight reduction, powertrain efficiency, energy optimization, and improved aerodynamics.

Hardly an original business statement, but such a design is claimed to result in a car that’s 35 percent lighter than a comparable, requires 35 percent less horsepower to achieve similar performance statistics and consumes 35 percent less fuel. According to DeltaWing, these reductions and improvements are thanks to a combination of light-weight steel, aluminum, advanced composites and an overall lower massed vehicle.

The company has yet to confirm power-to-weight ratio, but says that performance figures for the passenger concept should be respectable. Nowhere near the performance of the all-electric DeltaWing ZEOD RC, of course, but by running a small 110 hp (97 kW),four cylinder engine, the street version will be capable of reaching a top speed of 130 mph (209 km/h), hitting 0-60 mph (100 km/h) in around 6 seconds, all the while delivering mileage to the tune of 70 mpg (4.0 L/100 km). The ultimate goal of DeltaWing and its partners is to meet the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards of 54.5 mpg (5.2 L/100 km) by the model year 2025.

However, the street-going DeltaWing is still just a concept so we’ll have to wait to see how things shake out on future versions – should the concept ever jump off the computer screen. The company is currently seeking OEM partners to assist in bringing the concept to market.

Source: DeltaWing Racing

Update June 2, 2014: Following the publication of this story we were contacted by Gary Fong, the Director of Communications at DeltaWing Technologies, who was keen to point out that apart from a period of approximately eight months in 2012, Nissan is not involved with the DeltaWing race car project. Rather, the lawyers have become involved in a dispute between the two companies relating to Nissan's ZEOD, which Fong and DeltaWing claims was created with misappropriated intellectual property and trade secrets.

We've updated the image gallery with images of the DeltaWing provided by the company, retaining an image of the ZEOD for comparison. Fong also pointed out that the renderings of the passenger concept is just that; a concept, with the design far from set in stone. The company is looking to license its technology and work with an OEM to develop production-ready prototypes, with any styling the province of the auto manufacturer.

About the Author
Angus MacKenzie Born on the cold, barren Canadian plains of Calgary, Alberta, Angus MacKenzie couldn’t decide between marketing, automotives or an entrepreneurial path - so he chose all three. With an education in automotives and marketing, Angus has rebuilt the carburetor on his 1963 Rambler Ambassador twice, gotten a speeding ticket in an F430 once, and driven & photographed everything from Lamborghinis to Maseratis to various German and Asian designs. When not writing, Angus has for the past six years been Editor-in-Chief for elemente, an internationally recognized architecture/design magazine. All articles by Angus MacKenzie

Has anyone but me noticed the similarity between this car and the head of Mr. Burns on the Simpsons?


As with the flying car elsewhere on Gizmag, this is a ridiculously stupid idea. There is an inherent stability with Trike's no matter how low the CoG or long the wheelbase. The headline claims don't mention any form of electronics which would allow the trike to turn safely by tilting the body. Tilting is the only way you can get a trike to remain planted on the road. This of course can be achieved by suspension linkages and lateral sliding arms. In the 21st Century, I'd expect all this to be managed by computer, especially in a trike with the performance capabilities listed above.

The Master

and I thought the PT Cruiser looked ugly...


The delta wing is not a trike. It is a 4 wheeled vehicle.

Marshall Simmons

@ The Master Yes the Reliant Robbin was a death trap that does not mean all deltas are death traps. The same nonsense was predicted about the DeltaWing racer and was proven false but that has not quieted "Deltas are dangerous, deltas are dangerous, deltas..." mantra


It reminds me of a bloated Trivette. I would find this more appealling if the reversed the arrangement of tires so the narrower set is in back; similar to a BMW Isetta. I think it would make it both more appealling and more stable, IMO.

http://www.gizmag.com/nissan-bladeglider-concept/29712/ I think this is way better looking than the one above.


How can you get such an ugly street car from such a great looking race car. Why can't Nissan hire better designers? they have a great concept and such poor execution. Forget making it look like a normal car, that's missing the whole point.

Cédric Blanc

Technology should work with not against the laws of physics, bad idea unstable in direction of travel. If you are going to do a trike or trike shaped vehicle the width needs to be in the front not the back. Never understood this idea.

Heather Bowman

I like the appearance of the blade glider better. Trikes make it hard to avoid pot holes: with a motorcycle you have a single track (wheel path) to manage, with a car there are 2 tracks to manage. These trike-shaped cars with 3 tracks are going to make it hard to avoid pot holes.


@Slowburn US racing involves limited steering and reduced lateral forces on the vehicle by steeply banked curves. Thus steering isn't an important factor in the delta race car. It will be a massive factor for normal cars even on the wide freeways in the US.

The Master

@ Cédric - The one picture of the concept car looks like a badly executed photoshop project so an actual production model may not look this bad.

With that said, I don't think they can make a production model look any where near as good as the race version. The ratio between the nose frontal area against the windscreen frontal area/passenger compartment width is too far off to look appealing to most consumers.

The race car looks like a rocket sled (and how many car nuts, young and old, have dreamed up their own favorite version of a rocket sled) while the concept looks like a really misguided attempt to make an Altima more aerodynamic.


Considering practicalities...that extra long nose could make it harder to fit in standard-sized parking spaces. Although the narrowness of the nose will ease the final step in parallel parking!

Readout Noise

The problem with this design is that it will be terrible in traffic. Without some visual guidance as to the actual width of the body, scrapes are inevitable. Anyone with experience of towing a caravan or trailer wider than the towing vehicle will understand.

I suppose some camera assistance could be provided to remedy matters, but they bring their own problems, such as dirt and grime, not to mention rain, obscuring the view. Perhaps ultrasonic sensors could be employed to provide proximity warnings. But they would be of little use when dealing with sudden obstructions, such as a gatepost or telegraph pole etc. that is about to do a thorough job of removing one of your rear wheels and a significant chunk of the surrounding bodywork. They would only help with driving alongside slowly converging traffic.

Better still, ditch the whole delta arrangement for a road-going car, the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages.

Mel Tisdale

I imagine it is preferable, from the stability point of view, to have the single wheel, or at least the narrow close-coupled double wheels, at the rear. There is also the issue of drivers momentarily forgetting that the back end of this thing is so much wider than the front pointy bit they are peering over as they manoeuvre their way the traffic and other potential obstacles. I think this falls into the "amusing, but just plain silly" category of practical transport.


Despite running at LeMans (not a high-bank oval BTW) and other races, and doing well, there continues to be those who are freaking out over its "dangers." Guys, read something!

There is only one picture, so we may want to wait until the design progresses before casting judgement. I hope that future renderings will lean more to the Infiniti side (nice) rather than the Nissan side (ugly).

Bruce H. Anderson

There are major problems with the physics of the narrow front , and it would interesting to see how it could possibly meet all the federal safety regulations. ( remember when the first ATVs came out as three-wheelers? they were inherently unstable, and resulted in many deaths and resulting lawsuits. ) Great for a concept car, but will probably never see production .

Larry Clement

@ Larry Clement Those 3 wheelers had a high center of mass and a tiny base. The quads are wider and longer as well as four wheeled.


This vehicle would be dangerous on the public road, not because the trike-like front end arrangement is unstable (on a smoothish surface at least), but because the front track is so narrow that it would not be able to safely negotiate minor country single track lanes where the centre of the road, between the front wheels of a conventional 4 wheeler, is typically strewn with loose grit, or in some cases, may even have grass growing there (common on minor British lanes).

Also, during snowfall, on unswept roads (ie virtually all minor roads in the UK) the front wheels would be riding between the compacted ruts, over the lumpy and often hard-frozen raised area- making steering and braking very difficult, and greatly increasing the chance of being forced off-course, possibly causing a collision.

And let's not forget the biker's bete-noir, spilled diesel, which is more likely to be a problem in parts of the road surface not 'scrubbed' by previous vehicle tyres.

Nice concept for the track, but disasterous for real-world driving.


Going by their statement of goals it looks like they are trying to reinvent the Aptera. Why not just buy the rights? All the testing is done.

Don Duncan

Driving on a track and driving on the road are very different things. Commenters should not try to call one safe by referencing the other. The tracks are wide and drivers are allowed to use the full width of the track, which increases the effective turn radius and reduces lateral acceleration. Not so on roads, where you're supposed to stay in a narrow lane during a turn. Also, race car drivers are highly trained, the specific skill appropriate for deltas being brake hard before the turn, don't brake during the turn, then accelerate coming out of the turn. Regular drivers have no such training. Deltas are at a disadvantage in braking turns compared with vehicles with two widely spaced front wheels precisely because the resultant force vector is perpendicular to the line formed by the two outside wheels, rather than pointing toward a front wheel.

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