Nissan’s biggest idea at the Paris auto show comes wrapped in the smallest of packages: the tiny, three-meter-long Nuvu electric car.

The Nuvu—a stylistic derivative of “New View,” is supposed to present Nissan’s new way of looking at urban transportation and, to quote Nissan, “a witty representation of its green credentials.”

We suspect it would be an uncomfortable one, as Nissan claims that, somehow, three people can cram (in a 2+1 arrangement) into the little thing, which casts roughly the same shadow as a Smart Fortwo.

Two of its three meters of length are between the axles, creating a spacious (for such a small car) cabin, which contains a luggage area sufficient to grab some groceries.

Nissan has provided few details about its battery technology or the range it provides. Like the rest of the industry, the ultimate plan is for lithium ion battery technology.

“Nuvu is a concept car, for sure, but it is an entirely credible vehicle,” says Francois Bancon, general manager of the Exploratory and Advanced Planning Department, part of Nissans’ Product Strategy and Product Planning Division.

Nissan is planning to show a production-ready electric car next fall at the 2009 Tokyo auto show, which will be sold in California and Japan in 2010, expanding in volume to most major markets by 2012, by which time Nissan says it will have a number of different electric vehicles on the road. The Nuvu is not that car, Nissan says, but it does share some of its technology. The production car will be a larger vehicle for families, likely a mid-size car.

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