Nissan’s UK manufacturing plant has designed its hottest model yet, a one-off special edition that can go from zero to 350 – degrees Celsius – in under 10 seconds.

The modified Micra (March) has been designed to burst into flames at the push of a button and is being used to train staff at the Sunderland plant in north-east England to deal with a car fire at the plant.

Trainers can start and extinguish everything from dashboard fires to engine block flare-ups by remote control, allowing staff to gain experience of tackling a range of different fires.

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“We have been using a similar live fire training simulator to recreate workplace fire scenarios for a while now,” said the company’s fire safety trainer Kevin Kingston.

“The next logical step was to extend that idea and come up with something that could help people prepare for a car fire.”

The ‘special edition’ Micra comes equipped with an unlikely optional extra, a cylinder of propane. The gas runs through a network of pipes built into the car and is released where the trainers want the fire to start. They ignite the gas by remote control.

Some of the advantages the £5,000 ($US7,000) ‘Micra Fire Shell’ offers over using real cars for fire training include cost efficiency and re-usability and the fact that the intensity and location of the fire can be precisely controlled.

Nissan has already begun using the shell to train security staff and employees working in final assembly and quality control.

“There has never been a car fire on either of the lines here, but we believe in being safe rather than sorry,” Kingston said.

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