Nissan’s Office Pod Concept Is A Productivity Paradise On Wheels

All this working from home is pretty great, but we have to admit that we miss packing up the Hackaday office and heading for the local coffeehouse once in a while to spend a few hours writing against the buzzing background. One thing we don’t miss about the experience is that you’re never guaranteed a place to sit and spread out. And unless you trust a friendly stranger to keep an eye on your stuff while you’re in the bathroom, you have to take it with you at the risk of losing your table.

If only we could afford one of Nissan’s mobile office pod concept vehicles. We’ve always wanted to pretend we’re doing surveillance and would probably have the thing wrapped with graphics for a fake flower shop or something. That would certainly make it easier to park somewhere and borrow someone’s open Wi-Fi network  — maybe even from the coffeehouse parking lot after we hit the drive-thru.

As you’ll see in the extended tour video below, Nissan seem to have thought of everything except restroom facilities. The cab-over-engine design and all-terrain tires would make it easier to drive out into nature and really get away from it all. Once you’ve found the perfect spot, you can open the lift gate for some fresh air, or get some sun while you work by pulling out the motorized unibody-constructed cubicle which includes a built-in Herman Miller Cosm chair. (Evidently the Aeron is old and busted now; we disagree). For some reason, the cubicle is edge-lit, and not in a way that would help you work at the desk. According to the video, it’s based on the Caravan NV350, which looks far more comfortable but not as cool when outfitted as an alternate mobility concept.

The office pod has some nice amenities like a DC-AC converter so you can run your Keurig or Nespresso, and there’s even a UV-disinfecting lamp in the glove box. The larger windows behind the cab can be electronically shaded so you don’t bake in the sun. Here’s where things get a bit ridiculous: the floor is made of clear polycarbonate in case you want to park lengthwise over a small stream and watch the surviving fish go by underneath your feet. And if you really want to take a break, climb up to the roof deck and stretch out in the chaise lounge beneath the deck umbrella.

If we lived anywhere but America, we might forego the flower shop graphics wrap and dress it up to look like a TV detector van instead.

40 thoughts on “Nissan’s Office Pod Concept Is A Productivity Paradise On Wheels

    1. They show the person in the chair, and they show the person out of the chair, but they never show them getting into or out of the chair. Does this mean that it is nearly impossible without olympic-level gymnastic skills?

  1. ✓ max. height 1,58 m
    ✓ max. weight 45 kg
    ✓ single (max dog size: Русский той)
    ✓ unrestricted
    ✓ constant tidy upper
    ✓ weighted blanket lover
    ✓ easy clean surface

  2. While this concept car is … well … as practical as a concept car usually is, the concept is valid. I have a VW campervan that I have used as an office. Things that make it work well:
    + table so that you can place notebook, mouse, what have you
    + AC inverter to power notebook etc
    + pop-up roof so that you don’t feel cooped up spending the entire day in the car
    + running water and gas cooker to make coffee :)
    + Fridge for cold drink and snacks
    + loads of USB charger plugs to keep the mobile charged up. Mobile hotspot drains the battery like crazy!

    Things that suck for office use
    – no office chair. Both the swivel car-chairs as well as the rear bench are not the right height wrt the table to work. Also somehow they feel too soft / at the wrong angle for an ergonomic desk posture. Haven’t really found a good solution to this so far.
    – conspicuous with pop top up. Cramped with pop top closed. Sigh.

    The only thing from the Nissan concept I envy is the PDLC electric shade. I’ve been thinking about hacking something like that up for a long time as switchable privacy screen that is inconspicuous (as opposed to drapes), and let’s light in. PFLC films tend to be expensive though…

    1. Put the table on a gas/screw height adjust, or add a sissor lifting top? Perhaps adding in the ability to give say 10 degree tilt towards the user as an option too. Should help getting the work height right, and actually be useful for other uses you might put it to I’d think.

      Personally having not had a properly sized chair in well over a decade (they just don’t come in tall person and wide person at once design (that I have found at least), or sufficiently adjustable to make them comfy. I was working on one, but lock-down and emergency family project before that put it on hold…), so I know the pain of awkward seating, one thing I find somewhat useful at shifting around which part of me is uncomfortable is a rather dense foam cusion around 5cm thick – shove it underneath the arse, or in the lumbar region to adjust where the pressure falls..

      Also Heretic!!! You can’t run off coffee! Tea is far more essential!

      1. Adding a height adjustment to the table won’t add much in the way of reliability, and its not going to be a critical failure anyway – its still a table either stuck at current height or at lowest…

        As for camper/boats in general reliability surely comes down to maintenance levels (and boats should need more of that – particularly in salt water environments), only being unreliable if you don’t maintain it properly.
        So the real question is ‘Have you thought through how to get at all the mechanical parts that may need maintenance so its easy enough to do – so you actually will top up the oil cups etc before it actually shows an issue?’

        Nothing Alex is listing, or this daft concept car has seems like a big deal to fix, at least for a reader of this website with the implied level of technical competence, and access to tools… Assuming of course it’s built right in the first place, with concession given to maintenance access, condensation/dampness/rot prevention, battery voltage cutoffs, and all the other little details that a properly engineered ‘home’ should have…

  3. Instead of an office put utility truck type toolboxes so you can get to everything and it would be something pretty damn good. I may just modify my Dodge CARAVAN as such, gotta check how far up the door goes.

  4. Interesting how the video cuts just before the pod is at full extension, and every subsequent view shows neither the seam between upper and lower sections nor the two things (some kind of latch?) that were visible on the upper section before…

    1. Im sorry to tell you this but whatever is happening in the bay area has 0 effect on the world as a whole, nobody outside the US cares for ANYTHING thats happening in the US, for the last 30-40 years anyway.

  5. Cute design concept, but I have to wonder what kind of occupant height they think they can get away with. If my students are any indication, the people who might actually occupy this thing are pushing 2 meters pretty hard, and the square-cube law is going to doom that cantilevered “office” to terminal wobbliness. That’s before the lack of insect screening (or a bathroom) makes the whole concept a Dilbert-esque punishment suite.

  6. So a 1930s mobile office looked something like this..

    (Took wayyy too long to dig that up, google kept insisting I was looking for the Dymaxion car.)

    I’ve been planning an escape kit to take the old minivan out to places that are not my house. I like my house fine… it’s the relatives that I need to get away from, it’s like day 485 of cabin fever on that score (It had already seemed like a long winter before SHTF day in March)

    So far, list goes..
    Tilt-a-Table laptop table.
    Also can take a “lap desk” for change of position.
    penny stove for hot drinks. (Large cookie tin for packing it in, and running it in, with stand and pan, and bottle of alcohol/fondue fuel)
    Coffee, tea, whitener, sugar, hot chocolate, instant soup, crackers, juiceboxes, granola bars.
    1 gallon water jug, full.
    1 gallon water jug empty (For “waste-water”)
    Paper towel, kleenex, dollar store wipes, sanitiser.
    4x 5W “battery maintainer” solar panels.
    12dBi USB wifi panel antenna (Less “scary” looking than a cantenna)
    Blankie for warmth or coolth (shade)
    Every 12v power/lighter socket splitter I can scare up… got a couple of 2s and a 3, to connect panels and..
    75W Inverter, 2A 3 hole USB power.
    7″ tablet.
    Also got some silvered windshield shades that attach with suckers. Maybe I’ll see if those work as corner reflectors or halfass parabolas if I position the wifi antenna right.
    Clean socks probably a good idea too, if you go out somewhere hikeable and slough off a bunch of dead skin, it’s icky sitting there with gluey socks on, or if you get your feet wet.

    I think I can muddle along at about break even on power, chromebook lasts hours on it’s own battery, sucks only a few watts on wall power. Tablet takes half a watt. I’ve got a “battery saver” so could wire up a “house” battery, so I can go nuts until that depletes and still start the van. Also I could drag along an inverter power pack that’s got about half a kilowatt hour in it, then I can run a small drip coffee maker a few times per charge.

    Setup would be to reverse a captains chair in the back and sit rearward or forward facing on the back seats as fancy took me. Other chair would be folded down for side table.

    (Sorry if this is double posted, got absolutely no indication it worked, no post awaiting moderation message, nothing.)

    1. Pretty much along the lines I’d go for, other than using different electronic tech bits (I’d take my toughbook/toughpad not some nasty fragile chromebook and tablet!), and beefier solar – why not put a 100-300W on the roof most vans have the space?

      Plus I think you really want double the amount of fresh water – a gallon doesn’t last all that long, and add a basic first aid kit…

      1. Point taken on the chromebook it’s an x131e semi-rugged, only suitable for beating up kids, old ladies and spetsnaz, not Seals, Delta or SAS like a toughbook. ;-)

        300W might be pushing it a bit, unless you find a panel the exact right shape. Or have a Sprinter or something. I’m just using what’s already around. I really should get round to getting a decent set of panels for camping though.

        Gallon seems like plenty to me for being out up to 8 hours, though not if I’m roasting my butt off in summer I’d admit, but that would bring weather contingent supplies into play, probably some gatoradey type stuff and extra water. Not really gonna want enough to wash and boil spuds or launder me kecks. Though really I’d have about a gallon and a half of fluids, when you count the 1 litre-ish bottle I use for drinking from and the boxed juices.

        Guess I should have mentioned I already have first aid kit, fire extinguisher, spare fuses etc in the glovebox. But beyond the emergency stuff if you’re spending time in it much, you’d probably want things like rolaids, tylenol, anti-histamines extra.

        Bug screens, if you want full ventilation in summer, you can manage with, and I quote Colonel Jack O’Neill “Magnets!”

    1. I see she has her wrists right on the edge of her work surface because the work surface isn’t deep enough, the chair doesn’t move, and the arm rests are not functional. That’s an ergonomic nightmare for any serious work.

  7. Looks like Nissan independently rediscovered #vanlife. I must complement them on storing their fishing tackle in a Pelican case, though.

    On a more serious note, I think I remember there were folks in Japan buying Nissan Cubes to use as an extra room. I don’t know where they parked them. I thought a Kei van would be a better choice, and evidently Nissan did too.

  8. Lol, kinda obvious why they used an Asian model for this, because most people from the rest of the world wouldnt fit on a office-chair in the back of a van… (no offense etc, its just that im almost 2meter and so are most people i see on the street each day, this aint gonna work in my country for sure)

    1. Those support struts are the first thing I thought the new model needed.
      After that, the layout could take some ideas from aircraft seating (business class). A diagonal layout to increase legroom, and a chair that converts to a lie flat bed.

  9. I love the concept but am also not sold on it. I keep wondering “Where would I poop” because without that this is for day trips at most but commuting to the wilderness each day to work is also a bit strange, commuting is one of the worst aspects of working in a traditional office in my opinion. If I had a mobile office I think I’d prefer a week-long trip at a time which requires a more capable vehicle like a motor home with a bed, shower and big batteries/storage tanks.

    1. I now understand the rush on TP for the lockdowns… everybody poops at work. :-D

      However, there are ways…

      If you’re not deep in the sprawl and get out to at least semi natural in 5 or 10 mins, there’s probably dog poop bins at the nature areas, parks, just use the same bags… or if you’re not that far out of civilisation they maybe have washrooms. They’re maybe even open between May 24 and Labor Day.

      Camper prices have got a bit unsane here, with everyone wanting to vacation close to home. So if I was serious about having a motorhome, I’d get a retired ambulance, telecom van, cube van or used Sprinter and do my own conversion.

      1. Well it’s not something anybody aims to do since at least in my experience workplaces are at the forefront of nano-scale manufacturing for their TP (my current place is down to 5 nanometres thickness and moving to 3nm in the next couple of years!) but it’s nice to have the option.

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