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Classic Nissan Sunny electric pickup truck with Leaf engine

Nissan doesn’t make an electric pickup, but a South Carolina tuner may have created the next best thing — for Nissan to show off.

Tommy Pike Customs (TPC) took a 1987 Nissan Sunny Truck and implanted the Nissan Leaf powertrain. The finished truck will be on display at Nissan’s booth at SEMA 2022, the annual automotive aftermarket trade show in Las Vegas.

The powertrain conversion includes a 40 kWh battery pack and an electric motor that produces 147 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. That gives it about twice the horsepower and three times the torque of the factory-leaved Sunny 4-stroke petrol engine, Nissan said in a press release.

1987 Nissan Sunny truck with leaf drive

1987 Nissan Sunny truck with leaf drive

The motor is connected to a stock manual transmission. It’s a common switch in EV conversions, for the sake of simplicity – and drivers will likely never need to shift or think about the left pedal.

The Sunny Truck was never sold in the United States, although the related passenger body style was sold here with the Datsun 1200 badge. This truck, which retains right-hand drive, is eligible for entry. import because it exceeded the 25-year limit of exemption from most U.S. regulations.

Aside from the electric conversion, the rest of the truck has been reworked with a lot of reference to Nissan’s legacy. It wears a body kit inspired by the 1960s Nissan Skyline GT-R “Hakosuka”, with paintwork based on the one used by Brock Racing Enterprises on its Datsun 240Z and Datsun 510 race cars.

1987 Nissan Sunny truck with leaf drive

1987 Nissan Sunny truck with leaf drive

Other modifications include an upgraded suspension, which combines the setup from the S13-generation Nissan 240SX at the front with load-bearing leaf springs at the rear, along with modern 17-inch wheels and tires.

This isn’t the first pickup truck based on the Leaf. Engineers at Nissan’s Arizona proving ground converted the first-generation Leaf into a Nissan’s first electric pickup truck to ship parts around the facility eight years ago. Combining the front end of a Leaf with the headboard of a Nissan Frontier, it’s not quite as pretty as this attempt.

Nissan Surf-Out, Max-Out and Hang-Out concepts

Nissan Surf-Out, Max-Out and Hang-Out concepts

Although it’s just a show car, the electric Sunny Truck hints at some interesting possibilities. Reports that Nissan is considering a compact electric pickup has been in circulation since last year, when such a car was likely to be previewed by the Max-Out concept, one of the concepts teasing Nissan’s target was 15 EVs by 2030, globally. Meanwhile, a potential partnership focused on electric trucks between Nissan and Detroit EV starts Hercules never appeared to go anywhere.

Any Nissan electric truck can be made in the US. American-built electric vehicles in Canton, Mississippi, starting in 2025. To date, Nissan has assembled the Leaf hatchback for the US market in Tennessee; The Mississippi plant currently builds the Frontier and Titan pickup trucks, as well as the Altima sedan.

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