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Nissan celebrates all-electric pledge with sporty hatchback concept. Image by Nissan.

Nissan celebrates all-electric pledge with sporty hatchback concept
The Concept 20-23 is designed to add a sporty edge to zero-emission urban motoring.
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What's all this about?

Nissan has confirmed every new car it develops for the European market will be electric, and to celebrate the occasion, the brand has revealed a new concept. Designed here in the UK, at Nissanís London design studio, the Concept 20-23 is a sporty urban electric car intended to bring fun to urban motoring.

Why does it look like a Funky Cat went on a steroidal bender and joined a gang?

An excellent question, and one weíve been asking ourselves a lot. Apparently, itís essentially because both the Funky Cat and the Concept 20-23 were designed to be cute in a cuddly animal kind of way, but Nissan wanted to give its car a much sportier feel, hence the massive arches and the big wing.

Riiight. But seriously, is it cute?

Sort of. We guess. Thereís definitely something adorable about the way the bumper is designed to look as though the car is smiling, and the way the thin lights hint at doe-eyed cuddly toys. But then we look at the huge arches, the vents in said arches and the outrageous sills that all look as though they came from a mean, lean, rallycross machine, and then we arenít so sure either. Thereís that huge wing, too, and all the other aerodynamic features that combine to make this feel more like a track weapon than a fun and friendly family runabout.

What about the inside?

Thatís definitely not cute. If the outside is supposed to look sporty, it has nothing on the interior, where Nissan has gone full track car. The design is minimalist and light, with a kind of off-white colour selected for most of the fixtures and fittings. And Nissan hasnít gone too tech-heavy, either, with small screens reserved for vital information.

The steering wheel, however, looks pretty complex. For starters, itís more of a plane-style yoke, but itís dotted with various buttons, presumably in a bid to make it feel like a Formula 1 car. And just to hammer the race car feel home, a simultaneously very reassuring and very unsettling fire extinguisher acts as a kind of centrepiece of the cabin, nestled between the two bucket seats.

What do we know about the running gear?

Not much, but we do know it will be all-electric. Presumably it has plenty of power, but we donít really know. We donít even know whether itíll move under its own steam, as it was unveiled on a barge floating on a London canal...

RiiiiiightÖ Why are we waffling about this when it isnít going on sale anytime soon?

Fair point. Mainly because this concept isnít so much about the car itself, but what it represents. The Concept 20-23 isnít just a design study, but itís a celebration of 20 years of design at Nissanís London studio, and itís a statement of intent for the future.

Thatís because at the reveal of this concept car, Nissan pledged to ensure every new car it develops for the European market will be completely electric. That doesnít mean a self-imposed ban on petrol engines - those that exist will remain on sale for the rest of their natural lives - but the brand will not bring out any all-new petrol-powered vehicles in Europe. And by 2030, it says 100 per cent of its European new car sales will be electric.

James Fossdyke - 26 Sep 2023

2023 Nissan Concept 20-23. Image by Nissan.2023 Nissan Concept 20-23. Image by Nissan.2023 Nissan Concept 20-23. Image by Nissan.2023 Nissan Concept 20-23. Image by Nissan.2023 Nissan Concept 20-23. Image by Nissan.

2023 Nissan Concept 20-23. Image by Nissan.2023 Nissan Concept 20-23. Image by Nissan.2023 Nissan Concept 20-23. Image by Nissan.       - Nissan road tests
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- Concept 20-23 images

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