Nissan Needs To Turn The New EV Micra Into New EV Pike Cars

Nissan announced it will be releasing an electric version of the Micra. What's the point of that if they're not going to use it for new Pike cars?

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Image: Nissan/Jason Torchinsky

Just over a year ago, we showed you Renault’s new electric version of the legendary Renault 5, and it looked pretty delightful, with just enough retro charm to be fun. That same platform is going to be used for a new EV version of the Nissan Micra, expected around 2025. Okay, that’s great, but if Nissan is going to introduce a new EV Micra, then there is only one thing they can do after that makes any sense: start a new Pike Factory line, this time all EVs.

In case you’re somehow tragically unaware of what the Pike Factory is, take a moment to be schooled here, and let your quality of life improve as a result.

There was once a time—a wild, magical time of Super Nintendo and grunge and stupid-looking jeans and optimism that we called the very late 1980s to early 1990s—and in this time Nissan wasn’t the stogy company you know today, crapping out silver Rogues by the boatload. No, it was an exciting, vibrant company, taking risks and doing interesting things, and one of those things was the Pike Factory.

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It wasn’t really a literal factory, but rather a sub-division of Nissan that was led by industrial and fashion designer Naoki Sakai’s Water Design group, who took the Nissan Micra platform and re-bodied it into charming, fun, relatively low-production volume cars, just because they could.

These cars were (mostly) basic Micras underneath, but all had wildly different personalities: the Be-1, the Pao, the S-Cargo, and the Figaro.

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Image for article titled Nissan Needs To Turn The New EV Micra Into New EV Pike Cars
Image: Nissan/Jason Torchinsky

The Be-1 started it all, with a friendly, sort-of-retro, alternate timeline cuteness. The Pao was next, with a plucky, comically-rugged/utilitarian look, then the snail-like delivery vehicle S-Cargo, and finally that stylish little charmer, the Figaro.

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I have a Pao and adore it, and I’m convinced that a great way for Nissan to launch themselves out of what feels a bit like a creative rut would be to re-start the Pike line, with cars based on their new Micra.

Here’s what that new Micra is going to look like, according to Nissan:

Image for article titled Nissan Needs To Turn The New EV Micra Into New EV Pike Cars
Image: Nissan/Jason Torchinsky
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Now, the design looks pretty good, and, actually looks so good that I think it by itself covers the general aesthetic space that the Be-1 did, so I don’t think they’d need to recreate that.

In fact, I think the ideal would be for Nissan to look at the goals and spirit of the old Pike experiment and create some all-new designs. Before that, though, I think the original Pike crew could do well with an EV refresh, and to that end I’ve done some very quick sketches of how a modern, ePike lineup would look.

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And now I’m gonna make you look, too, just because. Let’s start with the ePao:

Image for article titled Nissan Needs To Turn The New EV Micra Into New EV Pike Cars
Image: Nissan/Jason Torchinsky
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Strangely, I think the Pao actually lends itself really well to the new Micra’s proportions; the shorter greenhouse and bigger wheels give the little Pao a bit of a more muscular appearance, but not actually agressive, thanks to the Pao’s friendly, eager details.

I’d keep all the Pao design features: corrugated sides, exposed hinges, split tailgate, big roof rack, everything, just updated a bit to a 2020s design vocabulary.

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Image for article titled Nissan Needs To Turn The New EV Micra Into New EV Pike Cars
Image: Nissan/Jason Torchinsky

The Figaro would require a bit more extensive body re-work to get the ragtop/roadster look, but I’m sure Nissan can pull that off. It’ll have similar proportional changes as the Pao, especially in the ratio of wheel size to body, and again I think it works.

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This thing could be a lot of fun! Who else is building an affordable electric roadster, designed more for just casual fun as opposed to raw performance, right now? Nobody, that’s who!

Image for article titled Nissan Needs To Turn The New EV Micra Into New EV Pike Cars
Image: Nissan/Jason Torchinsky
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And finally, the S-Cargo. The hood would be a bit longer, but with a nice high roof body, this could still make a viable city delivery vehicle, with plenty of branding space on the rear quarter. Restaurants and bakeries and coffee places and hell, even stylish plumbers would love something like this.

Nissan, you know this makes sense. Why wouldn’t you do this with your new small EV platform? The original Pike cars sold like hotsushi, and with the similarities of EV drivetrains, design is even more important as a differentiator.

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So, Nissan, wake up. Time to take the padlock of the Pike factory, hose it out, let me pick through the trash, and get started. I’m here if you have any questions.