Nissan’s Electric Leaf Pickup Truck
We’ve got electric cars, and an electric SUV on the way (thanks Tesla!), but there hasn’t been any serious talk about an electric pickup truck. Tesla half-heartedly mentioned the possibility of an electric truck for the Texas market. VIA Motors is adapting full size GM trucks with plug-in hybrid conversion kits.
While it’s not any more likely to come to the production stage anytime soon, if ever, Nissan has built a one-off electric Leaf pickup truck. Half Leaf, half Frontier, it’s a dream vehicle for tree hugging pickup lovers.
Nissan cut open an existing Leaf, raided it’s parts bin, and came up with the Nissan electric Leaf pickup truck. Starting with a Leaf nicknamed “Sparky”, engineers grafted on a bed from a Frontier midsize pickup. They used whatever parts that worked, just like an aftermarket customization job. Once the rear doors and roof were cut away, they found that the bed from the Frontier was the perfect length. It did require narrowing however, to fit the former hatchback’s track.
From the front, Sparky still looks like a regular-issue Leaf. From the rear though, taillights have been rearranged, and a third brake light and the stock rear spoiler were incorporated into the tailgate. Between the vehicle’s bed and cab, is a bulkhead swiped from a full-size Titan, which still retains it’s power rear window. The roof was cut in half, the rear seats removed and the rear doors sealed. Three wood slats were added to the floor, giving it a retro look.
“We tried to keep it a secret,” said Roland Schellenberg, Nissan durability and reliability manager. “But we have visitors and they come and they see that truck and they go straight to “what is it?” and they start looking at it, and it makes great conversation.”
Since there are so few electric vehicles on the market, the Leaf has been adapted to fill various roles. It has been used as a police car, taxi and stretch limousine. Generally, these modifications have not required cutting it’s roof off. The Leaf is the world’s best-selling electric car.
Nissan uses Sparky to haul parts around it’s 3050-acre Arizona hot-weather testing facility. Nissan says that it is only a one-off project vehicle. Despite this, the company did offer a limited run of it’s twin-turbo, AWD GTR powertrain modified Juke after people discovered it as an engineering project; so there might be a tiny chance. For those seeking an electric truck from Nissan, you’ll need to content yourselves with the e-NV2000 electric van for now once it launches in North America soon.
By Linda Aylesworth – car-news.ca