Skip advert
Advertisement

Nissan Newbird concept blends classic Bluebird body and Leaf electric motor

The Nissan Newbird has been built to celebrate 35 years of vehicle production at the company’s Sunderland plant

Nissan has unveiled a new concept EV, based on the old Bluebird liftback. It’s called the “Newbird,” and it was built to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the brand’s Sunderland plant.

The Bluebird was the first car to roll off the factory’s production lines back in 1986 – but the facility has come a long way since then. Following a few months of uncertainty surrounding Brexit, Nissan recently announced that the plant has started production of the Mk3 Qashqai.

To connect the modern Sunderland plant with its heritage, Nissan took the 40kWh battery pack and electric motor from the Nissan Leaf (which is currently assembled at the factory) and transplanted it into a used Bluebird.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Nissan says the Leaf’s electric powertrain gives the 80s liftback a maximum range of roughly 130 miles and a 0–62mph time of around 15 seconds. The conversion was managed by Kinghorn Electric Vehicles, which is based just 15 miles away from the Sunderland plant.

The battery pack was separated into two pieces and mounted in the engine bay and the boot for optimal weight distribution, while the suspension was upgraded to support the added weight of the batteries. Nissan also replaced the Bluebird’s original power steering, braking and heating systems with electrically operated items.

The charging socket is hidden behind the car’s fuel filler door – and the system is compatible with a 6.6kW charger. Nissan even repurposed the original car’s fuel gauge, so it now displays the battery charge.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

To mirror the mechanical changes, Nissan also made a few cosmetic tweaks, the most noticeable being the lairy eighties-themed graphics. The paint scheme was inspired by the design cues popularised by 1980s consumer technology.

Nissan has also added some backlighting to the car’s front badge – a design feature which has grown increasingly popular in recent years. For example, the pure-electric Nissan Ariya is available with a backlit badge outside of the UK.

However, it’s illegal to display any lights other than headlights on the front of a vehicle in the UK, so Nissan says the Newbird’s badge will work only when the car is parked up.

Since 1986, Nissan’s Sunderland plant has produced more than 10.5 million cars. The number of staff employed by the factory has also grown from 430 to 6,000 within the same period – and there are 19 staff members still working in the factory today who originally screwed the Bluebird together back in the 1980s.

The Newbird is the latest concept promoting Nissan’s Ambition 2030 electrification drive, under which the brand will launch 15 new electric vehicles before the end of the decade. 

It also follows a group of four new electric concept cars that previewed some of the brand’s upcoming EVs. All four are powered by Nissan’s next-generation e-4ORCE four-wheel drive electric powertrain.

Now click here to read about Nissan’s four new EV concepts… 

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

New Nissan Micra, Leaf replacement and Juke among five Nissan EVs due by 2026
Future Nissan models - front
News

New Nissan Micra, Leaf replacement and Juke among five Nissan EVs due by 2026

The Japanese brand plans to launch 30 new cars globally within the next three years but the UK will ‘only’ get 5
27 Mar 2024
Nissan and Honda might join forces on EV batteries and autonomous driving tech
Makoto Uchida and Toshihiro Mibe
News

Nissan and Honda might join forces on EV batteries and autonomous driving tech

Two of Japan’s biggest car makers, and rivals, could be about to collaborate on EV and autonomous driving technology
15 Mar 2024
New Nissan Interstar large van revealed with Interstar-e electric version
2024 Nissan Interstar - front
News

New Nissan Interstar large van revealed with Interstar-e electric version

Hot on the heels of the new Renault Master comes its sister van, Nissan’s Interstar
7 Feb 2024
£3bn for Nissan Sunderland to build all-electric Juke, Qashqai and next-generation Leaf
Nissan Sunderland
News

£3bn for Nissan Sunderland to build all-electric Juke, Qashqai and next-generation Leaf

The UK’s largest car plant will receive huge investment to build Nissan’s next generation of EVs
24 Nov 2023

Most Popular

New Kia EV3 is a £30k electric car with a 372-mile range
Kia EV3 - front
News

New Kia EV3 is a £30k electric car with a 372-mile range

Kia expands its electric line up with the EV3 – taking plenty of inspiration from the flagship EV9
23 May 2024
Renault Scenic review
Renault Scenic UK - front
In-depth reviews

Renault Scenic review

The Renault Scenic takes a pragmatic and polished approach to zero-emissions motoring
21 May 2024
Citroen C3 review
Citroen e-C3 - front
In-depth reviews

Citroen C3 review

A clever rethink of the small, affordable car theme, the C3 and its all-electric e-C3 twin have the potential to really shake up the market
22 May 2024