Production of the Nissan Micra starts
Nissan Micra Gen 5 is now in production at Renault Flins plant, where Renault was already producing the Clio and the Zoe.
Nissan considers the Micra Gen 5 a revolutionary car and I agree…
First, it’s the only car in its segment to get so many safety features. It makes safety affordable and being good looking it’s also a plus.
Second and more important it’s a car that will have multiple powertrains.
Nissan Europe Electric Vehicle Director, Gareth Dunsmore, in many occasions affirmed that both new generation Nissan Micra and Juke – to be on sale this year – will be prepared for multiple powertrains. Dunsmore sees crossovers and hatchbacks as the most important segments in Europe and that’s where Nissan will be focusing regarding electric cars. Both the Juke EV and the Micra EV fit perfectly in his strategy that is also shared with the CEO, Carlos Ghosn, that repeatedly said that Nissan is going for the “heart of the market”.
From now on, most of the new generation cars from Nissan will have regular gas, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all electric variants. This is exactly why the battery supplier LG Chem is making a huge investment in Europe (Poland) and plans to start battery cell production already in the second half of this year.
Until Tesla builds the Gigafactory 2 in Europe, the LG Chem battery cell plant in Poland will be the closest thing we’ll have to a Gigafactory in our continent.
Back to the Nissan Micra…
The hybrid Nissan Micra will share the powertrain with the Note e-Power – remember than the Note was discontinued and replaced with the Micra in Europe. The plug-in hybrid version will share some technology with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. But the most important version – at least the one we care about – is the all electric, that will share the powertrain with the Renault Zoe.
When I think about it, I see a Nissan Micra EV as a second generation Renault Zoe with a Nissan logo. They both share the cool factor that lacks in the Nissan Leaf, but the Micra is much better equipped, especially in the safety area. I wouldn’t be surprised if Renault decides to launch a second generation Zoe in 2018, with the much expected CCS fast charging socket and modern safety features such as AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking) or LKAS (Lane Keeping Assist System). This way the Zoe and the Micra EV could share not only the powertrain, but also the safety and CCS technologies.
When to expect the Nissan Micra EV?
While it’ll probably be announced this year at an European Auto Show, it shouldn’t arrive before late 2017 or early 2018. It’ll be a direct replacement of the first generation Leaf as Nissan’s most affordable electric car and will allow Nissan to launch a more expensive EV based on the IDS concept with the 60 kWh battery. The Nissan Micra EV with a 41 kWh battery and the second generation Leaf with a 60 kWh battery in 2018 can complement each other very well.
To sum up, I’m much more excited with the Nissan Micra EV than with the minor facelift Nissan Leaf – with the 38 kWh battery – that is just a stop-gap until the second generation arrives in 2018. If I was in charge of the Alliance I wouldn’t even bother to make a minor facelift for the Leaf, I would just replace it with the Micra EV and introduce the second generation Leaf in 2018.
The Volkswagen Golf with its multiple powertrains follows the same strategy, but the Nissan Micra will be much more affordable.
While the electric powertrains for the Micra don’t arrive, I want to see how much better will the Nissan Micra sell when compared to the Renault Clio. I think that the Nissan Micra has all it takes to be on top of the best selling cars in Europe.
What do you think about the Nissan Micra and which powertrain variant would you prefer to have?