Electric Nissan Micra? Next-generation supermini could be an EV
Nissan is considering using technology from its alliance partner Renault to make the next-generation Micra fully electric
Nissan is evaluating whether it’s worthwhile creating a successor to the current Micra supermini with the help of its alliance partner Renault. If it does come to fruition, the new model is likely to get electric power, through sharing technology with the forthcoming reinvented Renault 5, which is set to replace the ZOE in 2024.
Currently in its fifth generation, the Micra has seen its sales in Europe drop significantly in recent years, falling from more than 86,000 in 2017 to less than 40,000 in Covid-hit 2020. In addition, if the recently proposed Euro 7 emissions regulations are adopted, the cost of developing small combustion-engined cars to comply with them are expected to make it harder than ever to turn a profit selling cars of that size.
Speaking to DrivingElectric, Nissan’s European boss Guillaume Cartier said the firm is not yet ready to commit to a Micra successor and admitted that it's investigating which alliance resources might allow it to build such a car.
Cartier said: “The core business today and tomorrow is crossover – Juke, Qashqai, X-Trail, Ariya, and the new car that we’ve spoken about [the Leaf-replacing crossover EV]. That’s already five cars. Then for each car we have to make sure that we have the depth – enough powertrains to match the volumes we have. We want to make sure that this core, in terms of volume per model, is increasing.
“Then we use the alliance. We will work with the alliance for our full line-up of light commercial vehicles. But one topic remains open, and this is the entry point of the line-up. The key point is to say, ‘How can we offer something, potentially with the alliance, that will lure people to enter into the Nissan brand, and then enjoy going model by model?’ That’s the one that we are considering. That’s exactly the question that we have to solve.”
When asked directly if the car in question would need to be electric, Cartier said, “Yes, that’s absolutely key.”
Therefore, Nissan is likely to be talking to Renault about using the 'CMF-BEV' dedicated electric-car platform. This is set to make its debut in the new Renault 5, which is currently set to arrive in 2024 and could cost from as little as £17,500.
However, it's also possible that Nissan could walk away from the supermini market altogether. Cartier did insist that “no conclusions have been drawn yet” on the potential use of the alliance platform, while his overall boss, Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida, said that he believes the firm’s global product portfolio is currently too extensive. Uchida said: “If you ask me if we have a sufficient number of cars for Nissan today, worldwide I think it’s too many.”
Cartier confirmed that Nissan has no plans to invest in engines and vehicles to make them compliant with the new emissions rules that are expected to come into effect around 2025. “Strategically, we are betting on electrification,” he said, “to the point where we are not investing in Euro 7.”
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