Telescope aside, that’s one very tasty ute.
Japanese carmaker Nissan has unveiled the Navara Dark Sky concept car, a ute that’s been designed as a mobile astronomy lab, and developed jointly with the European Space Agency (ESA). It’s one part good-looking pick-up, one part high-tech telescope, because that trailer it’s hauling is packing an ultra high-powered PlanWave telescope.
“In Europe almost a quarter of our Navara customers regularly tow. Using Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies, we wanted to construct the most advanced and capable pickup to meet their needs. The result is the Nissan Navara Dark Sky concept, and in future we intend to make towing a simpler and more confident activity for all our customers.” — Paolo D’Ettore, Head of LCV Unit, Nissan Europe
The exterior of the Navara is truly something to behold. A lot of the exterior components are made of a robust, heavy-duty polymer, and feature eight red night/observation lights dotted around it (as red is the colour that least affects human vision at night). The face of the Navara has been revised to incorporate overriders and a skid plate, replete with a front-winch slotting neatly into it. There’s also a bespoke rear bumper and side step replete with illumination, as well as new four-point projector headlights that feature a “new interpretation” of Nissan’s boomerang LED daytime running lights, and the whole car rides on very pretty 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in hardcore off-road tyres.
Step inside and you’re greeted by a blue & orange cabin, replete with reflective orange piping on the seats which purportedly help you locate them in low-light conditions (but frankly if you can’t find a car seat inside a car, you should see an optometrist). What we kind of like is the centre armrest between the front seats, which has been made wider and flatter to make it double as a workstation.
The trailer deserves mention all on its own. High-power telescopes aren’t easy to transport, as they’re highly-complex, exceedingly fragile, and unbelievably temperamental. And so the trailer module, made of bonded carbon-fibre up top and steel beneath, is not only refrigerated, but includes two built-in battery packs that were nicked from an unsuspecting Nissan Leaf. The trailer is accessible and deployable entirely using a remote control, which will trigger a two-stage motorised opening action.
The Navara Dark Sky is strictly a concept of course, but it does show what’s on Nissan’s mind presently. The bodykit for example could very easily be manufactured as an optional extra, as would the headlights, the bumper overriders, and so on. Additionally, the aesthetics of the bumpers on either end are rather fetching, and could perhaps find its way onto a facelifted version of the Navara in the near future. If you have any other ideas, let us know in the comment box below.