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Every Pikachu Clone We've Seen So Far is a Relatively Small Electric Rodent Pokemon.
Furthermore, most clones, Besides Pikachu, Have to do With New Features or Enhancements Added Into The New Gen:
II. Pichu- Egg Pokémon and Breeding
III. Plusle and Minun- Double Battles and Counterparts
IV. ?Pachurisu- ???
V. ?Emolga- Better Animations... Maybe?
VI. Dedenne- Fairy Typing
VII. ?Togedemaru- Possibbly Totems and Z-moves, However, There Was No Totem Togedemaru until USUM.

I Was Able to Figure Out 3/6. Please Let Me Know if You Have a Better Explanation Than Mine For The Other 3.

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I'm pretty sure the biggest change in Generation 4 was the category split. Pachirisu was the first one whose special attack wasn't higher than physical attack, so maybe it IS related to the category split.
Plusle and Minun also featured abilities, which were added in Generation 3.
First of all, sorry for how long this is. I can change it to an answer if it would make things easier.
There isn't actually an official reason to this that I can find, so I'm going to assume this is another opinion based question (and in my opinion, too many of these are allowed). That said, I'm leaving this as a comment instead of an answer (since this is just my personal take on what the answer could be). To me, the answer as to what these things are for and why they exist is simple...
Nintendo wanted there to be a surplus of small Electric-types with cute cheeks to mimic Pikachu so that they can market even more off of their mascot than they already do. They're using it as a way to appeal to people because they know how much their fanbase likes Pikachu. Ever notice that the little plushie section at the store almost always has these little "Pika-clones" on sale alongside the starters?
It's a marketing ploy, a gimmick made to sell propaganda the same way mythicals exist for the sole purpose of cashing in profit via movies. Nothing else. However, you do bring up good points. They managed to use most of these clones for a unique purpose, which would also be a clever marketing ploy to call attention to the new mechanics via Pokemon viewers are most likely to be fond of. I think that Pachirisu showed off gender differences, which were introduced in Gen 4. It might also be because Pachirisu is allowed in Amity Square. The "theme" for Emolga could possibly be that you can find it in rustling grass. Emolga is also the only Pokemon to have a base-stat total of 428. Togedemaru has a signiture move, Zing Zap. Togedemaru also has access to the most egg-moves of all Gen 7 pokemon.
what about mimikyu
When people talk about Pikachu Clones, they talk gameplay-wise. Lorewise, Mimikyu is a pikachu-knockoff, but gameplay-wise it is its own thing.
Your Excellency mimikyu isn't a pikachu clone it's a pokemon who wants to draw as much attention as pikachu does. im sure you already knew this but i fekt like adding it in anyway.

1 Answer

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Pachurisu may represent the special/physical split with it's stats, but it's more likely to represent the new online connectivity, as it was seen on the global link screen of diamond and pearl along side pikachu

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What about Emolga/Togedemaru?