Nissan’s ‘Newbird’ Bluebird conversion

Riley Riley

Nissan has converted an old Bluebird to run on electricity in the UK.

The ‘Newbird’ marks 35 years of production at the Sunderland plant, where the Bluebird was the first car off the line in 1986.

It’s powered by the 100 per cent electric drivetrain from the pioneering Nissan LEAF.

The Bluebird was extensively modified to integrate LEAF’s electric drivetrain.

The original petrol combustion engine and gearbox were removed and a LEAF motor, inverter and 40kWh battery pack installed.

The battery modules are split between the engine bay and boot for optimised weight distribution.

Updates and modifications were made to the power steering, braking and heating systems, enabling them to be electrically powered.

A custom suspension was also installed to support the additional weight of the battery packs.

As a nod to the car’s electric updates, the original Nissan bonnet badge has been backlit by LED (for when the vehicle is static).

The car is recharged through the original fuel flap, which provides access to the charging port.

The battery can be recharged at up to 6.6kW, while the original driver instrument panel has been connected to the EV system to enable the fuel gauge to show battery charge.

Although not homologated, the vehicle’s range from a single charge is estimated at around 210km (subject to environmental factors and driving style), with the dash from 0-100km/h time taking just under 15 seconds.

For the exterior, Nissan Design Europe, based in London, created a new graphic motif inspired by design cues of 1980s consumer technology.

The conversion was project-managed by Kinghorn Electric Vehicles, a family-run company based in Durham — just over 20km from the Sunderland plant.

Kinghorn EV specialises in the conversion of classic cars to full electric using second-life Nissan LEAF motors, inverters and batteries.


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