Pininfarina has been responsible for some of the most gorgeous looking vehicles to ever grace this planet of ours. That’s not all the Italian design house has contributed over the years, however. It has also been at the head of innovation at its best, consistently adapting to and providing solutions that ensure the continuation of personal transportation. One such innovation was the Pininfarina Nido Concept that debuted back in 2004. Back then, the need for small, city cars was increasing at a record rate, but the problem with small cars is the safety factor. Just imagine what it would be like to get nailed by a Chevrolet Suburban at 45 mph while you’re driving a car just one-quarter of its size. It would be like watching a pitbull take on a Chihuahua. But, that’s where the Nido Concept comes in.

See, the word Nido means nest, and a nest is designed to house and protect the eggs inside right? Well, that was the basic idea behind the Nido concept, and it was a revolutionary idea. Early sketches of the concept depict passengers sitting inside an egg-shaped compartment, being protected by the padding between them and the outer shell – just like the yolk of an egg in a nest. The passenger compartment inside the shell can move with the vehicles inertia, so in the event of a collision, the padding between the compartment and the outer shell will absorb a majority of the shock – similar to the way shock absorbers give your car a smoother ride.

In the end, Pininfarina knew that this new concept, and the production vehicle it would eventually spawn, needed to be as beautiful as it was innovative. And, Pininfarina was right; nobody wants to drive or remember an ugly car. After putting engineers and designers together in the same room, which had to make for some interesting days at work, Pininfarina was able to come up the Nido Concept. And, this concept eventually spawned the Nido EV, which was an all-electric version of the concept. With that said, let’s take a look back at the concept and talk about it in a little more detail.

Continue reading to learn more about the Pininfarina Nida Concept


2010 Pininfarina Nido
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2010 Pininfarina Nido
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2010 Pininfarina Nido
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This concept has to be one of the most interesting city-car concepts that has ever been made. On the outside, the body is about as smooth as a newborn’s bottom. The outer shell, or body, is actually composed of four main pieces, plus the doors. The front fascia and fenders are one piece, the, you’ve got the side skirts, the rear quarters and rear fascia as one piece, and the other major piece combines the front pillars, upper rear quarters, and roof as one piece. The only body lines to speak of are made by the seams between the doors and the body, or between the body parts themselves. There was a piece of black body cladding attached to the bottom of the doors that gave the car a little more character.

To doors were hinged on the inside of the vehicle and featured small moveable windows with a larger piece of stationary glass. The rear glass had a small overhang that supported the high-mount brake light, and the lower taillights were integrated into the rear glass. There is also a locking mechanism at the bottom of the glass that opens to allow access to the cargo storage area in the rear. Down below there is another piece of black cladding that sports the “Nido” name in orange lettering and would ultimately house a license plate if it wasn’t a concept vehicle.

All told, the Nido concept was 113.77 inches long, 65.90 inches wide, and 60.39 inches tall. It has a wheelbase of 81.42 inches, a front track of 53.66 inches, and a rear track of 57.36 inches. The body was made from a composite material while the supporting chassis was made from stainless steel. The idea was that the body and chassis would make up 70 percent of the overall weight while the sled and passengers would make up about 30 percent.


2010 Pininfarina Nido
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The interior of this concept is even more interesting than the exterior. See on the inside, there is a sled that provides seating for two passengers. This sled is attached to a rail mechanism that allows it to slide back and forth in the event of a collision. You can actually make out part of the orange shock absorber between the sled and what would be called a firewall on most front-engine cars. The sled could move forward by as much as 13.77 inches and backward by 4.72 inches. As you can see from the images, the cabin is very futuristic looking, but elegant at the same time. The steering wheel looks more like something you would see on an arcade game and has a large display screen in front to serve as an instrument cluster.

2010 Pininfarina Nido
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Pininfarina hasn’t disclosed what material was actually used on the interior, but it is clearly bright read and looks like it may support a Velcro locking system as you can see several cell phones essentially hovering against the dash and the center tunnel. The seats look rather comfortable with a center insert to provide comfortable padding and a large padding block for a head rest. The Heating and ventilation controls were mounted to the center console, and there doesn’t appear to be an entertainment system of any kind.

To add a little difference of color and some accents to the interior, the front most portion of the interior is painted black as is the roof liner and part of the door trim. The door trim also features a gray color toward the rear, and the console that houses the digital instrument cluster is painted gloss white. It’s not a bad design for a city car and certainly looks more than comfortable. As always Pininfarina went above and beyond on this interior, and this is probably one of the first small cars that I’ve actually found appealing.


2010 Pininfarina Nido
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Pininfarina never disclosed any information about the powertrain for the vehicle. Even in the history section of the designer’s website, the only thing mentioned is that it has a rear engine and is rear-wheel drive with an automatic transmission. In all honest, I don’t think the concept was actually functional and may have lacked a drivetrain at the time. When the concept first debuted, however, it screamed of being an electric vehicle.

That idea was also reinforced by the fact that the interior had no gear shifter to speak of, and let’s not forget that this concept paved the way for the brand to make the 2010 Nido EV, which was an electric vehicle. If one had to put his eggs all in one basket, it would probably be safe to assume the Nido Concept was designed to be an EV from the beginning.


2010 Pininfarina Nido
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It’s always fun to look back at older concepts and innovations from the past, but looking back at some of Pininfarina’s work is more pleasurable than most. Obviously, the people behind the scenes put a lot of work into making this concept, and according to Pininfarina’s website, they even performed virtual simulations of the egg-like structure. Furthermore, the research spawned two development models that were used for testing to verify the findings of the virtual testing. Ultimately a life-size prototype was built, and an industrial feasibility study was conducted. For the feasibility study, the target output was set to 20,000 units per year. Obviously, the Nido never got that far as being mass produced, but the Nido may still become a reality down the road. Plus, with the way electric and autonomous technology is expanding these days, maybe Pininfarina will revisit the idea and design in the future.

With the Nido project, Pininfarina has chosen to rethink the current methodology of the car design process, resulting in an innovative concept, which reexamines safety in small automobiles.

Press release

2010 Pininfarina Nido
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The Nido concept builds upon Pininfarina’s grand tradition of continuous investment in research and development programs in each of the Company’s areas - Design, Engineering and Manufacturing - to quickly and methodically tackle contemporary problems as they arise in the automotive industry.

For example, during the 70’s energy crisis, the industry looked towards aerodynamics and alternative energy sources to cut fuel consumption. Pininfarina responded by developing the CNR Energetica 1 prototype, an ideal aerodynamic body and the electric powered Ecos. In the 80’s Pininfarina’s pioneering research into lightweight material application bore the Audi Quartz and Lancia Hit prototypes, which the use of new light metallic and composite materials. The 90’s witnessed to heightened environmental awareness, spawned research into recyclability of materials, improved ergonomics and more efficient vehicle packaging. Pininfarina offered solutions with the Ethos macro-project, a family of three cars with aluminum chassis, recyclable plastic bodywork
and innovative, low emission internal combustion engines, highlighted by the 1995 Ethos 3EV zero emissions vehicle.

2010 Pininfarina Nido
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More recently Pininfarina turned their attention to hybrid vehicle research in the Eta Beta and Metrocubo projects which, with reduced dimensions and modular cabins, also answered the problems of both urban and medium range usage.

Today the industry is concerned with a problem that Pininfarina had already anticipated with the Sigma,Alfa Romeo P33 and Sigma Grand Prix prototypes: safety.

The Nido project dives into the concept of total design: coherent integration of all aspects of the design and engineering of the car. This concept was in fact conceived through an intense collaboration between design and engineering, two poles often opposed, with the singular goal of creating an attractive, small and safe vehicle.

2010 Pininfarina Nido
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By focusing and redefining their respective approaches on a singular goal from day one, new innovative solutions were discovered in the overlap between the aesthetic and the technicalview points.

Nido demonstrates Pininfarina’s ability to combine user’s desires with the technical feasibility that allows the project to be built. It marks Pininfarina not only as an innovator today, but shows how Pininfarina is providing solutions for a better tomorrow.

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Press release
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  (596) posted on 03.2.2012

I really agree with micheal_bacardi and Omarion_Steve! Look, doesn’t it remind you of a three-dimensional thing?

  (463) posted on 08.4.2011

The car looks alive. It is like a huge mammal! HAHA. On the other hand, I like the spacious interior of the car and I do love the other features of it, but I think it is too big. Much better if they make a smaller version of this.

  (570) posted on 03.2.2011

Pininfarina has elected to use a nickel-salt Zebra battery that has good energy density but high operating temperature .That is a pretty cool looking small car. The wheels pushed out to the corners give it a very nice stance. Looks like the Proton EMAS concept to me with a slightly different exterior

  (379) posted on 08.26.2010

This car, I know that these have great features but the best thing about this one is the design that looks like a bubble.

  (806) posted on 02.24.2010

well it’s kinda cute, this is a good answer to the growing Oil Price hike and Global warming, i think this is smaller than the toyota IQ.

  (511) posted on 02.14.2010

The "go-green" slogan has hit even sporty brands form Italy like Pininfarina. The company has established a 50-50 joint venture with Bollore Group to manufacture an electric car.

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