Reports of Nissan's answer to the popular Mazda MX-5 are starting to heat up once again. The latest news is Nissan is now developing a small sports car to rival the MX-5 which will reportedly feature an electric powertrain.

Nissan Urge Concept

(image of Nissan Urge Concept for illustration purposes only)

Nissan currently has a plan in place to launch 52 new vehicles by 2016. To help the company achieve this, progress on a small-to-medium sports car is apparently back on the priority list.

According to a recent report by Auto Express in the UK, Nissan was planning to re-introduce the popular Nissan 200SX back in 2008, but those plans were shelved. Word now is that kind of thinking is back.

Reports suggest thanks to a deal made with Daimler recently, which will bring an all-new platform to Nissan, the new sports car will feature a Daimler-designed chassis. On top of this, word has it Lotus will also massage the layout for optimum handling and rigidity.

This new platform is said to be capable of underpinning various segments, from small four-cylinder cars to higher-torque V6 models, and will not only provide the framework for the MX-5 rival, but also for the future 370Z and Infiniti G.

Engine details of Nissan’s MX-5-hunting sports car are a little sketchy but rumour has it the new car will feature an electric-based setup, possibly even a tuned version of the motor that powers the Nissan LEAF.

As mentioned, the details aren't really that concrete at this early stage, but it's good to know Nissan is putting technology and development into a ultra-fuel efficient sports car. The new model is expected to debut sometime in 2013.