The new Nissan Micra concept with scissor doors and race car looks – as boss says it will still go electric in 2030

Nissan has unveiled a radical early prototype of its next generation Micra to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its London-based European design centre – as its boss committed to still going all electric in the UK in 2030.

Packing supercar-style scissor doors and race car looks, the Concept 20-23 hatchback was unveiled by Nissan’s global CEO and president Makoto Uchida.

He confirmed that Nissan will design and make future electric cars in Britain and stick to the original plan of going all electric by 2030, despite the Government pushing the date back to 2035. 

He said: ‘Nissan will make the switch to full electric by 2030 in Europe – we believe it is the right thing to do for our business, our customers and for the planet.’

Celebrating the pioneering Paddington studio, the sporty electric concept car is understood to give an early insight into the new look Nissan Micra after the fifth-generation hatchback ceased production at the end of last year.

But buyers of the next era of one of Britain’s favourite car models – who are likely to be nipping to the supermarket or doing the school run – are unlikely to eventually end up with some of the more extreme features, including those doors.

A hint of the new Micra? Packing supercar-style scissor doors and race car looks, the Concept 20-23 hatchback was unveiled by Nissan to celebrate its London design centre

A hint of the new Micra? Packing supercar-style scissor doors and race car looks, the Concept 20-23 hatchback was unveiled by Nissan to celebrate its London design centre

Nissan: We will design and make electric cars in Britain 

The global boss of Nissan today gave a huge vote of confidence in Britain by confirming that future electric cars will be designed, engineered and built in Britain.

And the boss of the Japanese car maker made clear that it would have an all-electric line up from 2030 – despite the UK’s decision to extend the ban on petrol and diesel cars to 2035.

Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida said bluntly: ‘There’s no going back.’

The car was revealed on a floating barge, moored directly opposite the Nissan Design Europe centre in the capital’s Paddington Basin stretch of the Grand Union canal.

The Japanese car giant described the setting as ‘a distinctive and inspiring location’ which has spawned such award-winning cars as the top-selling Qashqai and Juke SUV crossovers, currently built at the firm’s Sunderland plant alongside the all-electric Leaf.

Nissan said that one of two new electric cars it has already confirmed for Europe will be manufactured at its Sunderland plant. 

Sunderland employs 6,000 people and Nissan has invested more than £1billion as part of a major electrification plan, with plans to build an as yet unseen and separate all-new electric vehicle set to be unveiled at next month’s Tokyo Motor Show.

Young guns: The 20-23 design team included younger members of the Paddington centre

Young guns: The 20-23 design team included younger members of the Paddington centre

Nissan said its latest Nissan Concept 20-23 embraces the move to electrification and autonomous driving technology. 

Nissan said their latest Nissan Concept 20-23 embraces the move to electrification and autonomous driving technology.

It was inspired by the company’s enduring heritage of bold hatchbacks and its participation in Formula E racing.

The 20-23 was designed by a team including younger members of the centre. Nissan said: ‘They had a simple brief – to design a car, with no constraints, which they would like to drive on the streets of the city where they work.

‘It also continues a long Nissan tradition of bringing eye-catching playfulness to the world of hatchbacks and city cars.’

Explaining the new car’s name, Nissan said: ‘The Concept 20-23 name reflects 20 years of Nissan Design Europe’s position in the heart of London, as well as the company’s traditional numbers 2 (ni) and 3 (san), and the current year. The number 23 features on the car’s rear three-quarter.

The 3-door hatchback body-style features extreme aerodynamic styling at the front and rear, with deep skirts to direct the airflow away from the front of the car and through apertures to cool the brakes.

The nose of the car angles up to the top of the hood, giving the front an unexpectedly clean surface.

Distinctive front LED headlights have a thin upper and lower semi-circle which incorporates the turn signal and aim to give the car ‘a friendly appearance’, despite its aggressive styling.

A large single-piece spoiler at the rear helps generate downforce but is designed not to obscure the driver’s rear view.

Nissan said: ‘The full width of the car is emphasised by a horizontal bar below what looks like a soft smile that defines the outline of rear hatchback.’

The exterior grey paint has a textured finish, giving the impression of being hewn from a single piece of metal and is designed to ‘reflect the gritty environment it was designed to inhabit’.

Not your usual Micra: A large single-piece spoiler at the rear helps generate downforce

Not your usual Micra: A large single-piece spoiler at the rear helps generate downforce

Friendly: Despite the car's aggressive racebred styling, the front has been given a smiling face

Friendly: Despite the car’s aggressive racebred styling, the front has been given a smiling face

Designers also created an interior that reflects the extremely sporty nature of the exterior.

Entry is by two scissor doors which hinge upwards, though these are highly unlikely to make the production model of the Micra. Nor will many of the more race-bred ideas within the car.

Nissan adds: ‘A brace bar runs across the door openings covered in foam padding to protect elbows, requiring the driver and passenger to step over it in order to reach their seats’.

Two deep white-trimmed bucket seats with racing-car style head support offer tight but comfortable support.

The driver is greeted by a long extended steering column with a rectangular sports steering wheel displaying multiple controls and adjustments. Paddles to adjust the electric powertrain performance and additional switches are within fingertip reach behind the wheel.

The steering column is supported by a carbon-fibre mount bolted into position from the base of the centre console. Two metal beams positioned between the occupants hold the centre console in position and are bolted to the spine of the car rising from the floor. A fire extinguisher is mounted between the bars.

Nissan said: ‘The interior is a futuristic interpretation of a racing car’s bare functionality. with just a couple of screens displaying vital information with minimal distractions – a reflection of where real racing cars – such as Nissan’s Formula E entrant – inspire online racing simulator set-ups’.

The Concept 20-23 ‘brings a 21st century twist to this small-car tradition’ and follows others such as the Be-1, Pao, Figaro and S-Cargo, it added.

Nissan’s European hotbed of design in London 

Nissan's Paddington Basin location is home to a team of interior and exterior designers

Nissan’s Paddington Basin location is home to a team of interior and exterior designers

The Nissan Design Europe centre in Paddington is home to more than 60 exterior and interior designers, clay modellers, digital artists, as well as a specialised colour and trim team and has played a central part in creating the Japanese car company’s modern models.

The studio opened its doors in the Grade II listed building on the banks of the Grand Union Canal at Paddington Basin in 2003.

Close to Paddington Station, it had previously been an engineering workshop for British Rail but had fallen into disrepair and was a location for raves during the 90s.

Nissan said: ‘Its graffiti-lined walls have been preserved but are hidden behind the walls that were installed as part of the Nissan re-fit.’

It is equipped with a 5-axis full-size milling machine, as well as rapid prototyping machines, virtual reality tools which allow simultaneous design reviews between colleagues in different countries, the latest visualisation equipment, and three full-size ‘plates’ where clay models of proposed news cars can be painstakingly honed.

Paddington fare: Nissan’s London cars 

Cashcow: The Nissan Qashqai proved a massive hit with buyers... as did this colour

Cashcow: The Nissan Qashqai proved a massive hit with buyers… as did this colour

Nissan’s Qashqai was the first project tackled by the Paddington team in 2003 and was presented as a concept car at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show and unveiled as a production model in Paris in 2006, before going on sale in early 2007. 

Its engineering development was led by the team at Nissan Technical Centre Europe at its sites in the UK, Germany and Spain.

Nissan said: ‘The reaction far exceeded Nissan’s best estimates, with the Sunderland plant in the North East soon switching to three shifts a day to meet demand.’

Marmite motor: The Nissan Juke - seen here with a high-jumping publicity stunt - was a love it or hate it car

Marmite motor: The Nissan Juke – seen here with a high-jumping publicity stunt – was a love it or hate it car

The Nissan Juke, Qashqai’s little sibling, followed in 2009 when it was presented at that year’s Geneva Motor Show.

The compact crossover with exaggerated muscular lines looked like a futuristic beach-buggy and divided opinion between those who loved it, and those who hated it.

Its distinctive face featured split headlights and an unconventional grille while its interior details were inspired by a motorcycle. Within the year a production version was unveiled in a former wind tunnel in the suburbs of Paris.

Designed to create waves and a new segment of the market, Nissan admitted: ‘It was designed to polarise by generating a strong emotional reaction – a rare thing in a vehicle designed for the mainstream.’

The Sunderland factory was again working at maximum capacity to fulfil demand.

More recently, the Paddington team designed the high-performance Ariya Single Seater Concept, a variant of the all-electric electric Ariya road car.

Other notable cars which began life in Paddington include:

The NV200 Concept which spawned Nissan’s successful NV200 light commercial vehicle, adapted to become one of the world’s first compact electric vans.

The Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo created to celebrate 15 years of the PlayStation game. Its extreme futuristic looks created a global buzz from the moment it was unveiled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2014.

The Gripz concept car of 2015 created to pay homage to the Nissan 240Z which won the gruelling 1971 Safari Rally. Its design was clear wink to the forthcoming second-generation Juke, which was unveiled in 2019.

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source: dailymail.co.uk