Vintage Nissan Leaf-powered electric pickup

Nissan showcased a modified vintage electric truck at SEMA 2022 powered by a Nissan Leaf engine. The vintage-looking EV pickup was created by Tommy Pike Customs and delivers considerably more power than the original four-cylinder gas burner.

Nissan Sunny Leaf electric vintage pickup from 1987

As one chapter closes, another opens. A vintage 1987 Nissan Sunny pickup has entered the new age of motoring, getting a little help from the electric Nissan Leaf.

While the all-electric Nissan Leaf isn’t necessarily known for being a speed demon, its engine is on display, showcasing its capabilities. South Carolina-based Tommy Pike Customs converted Nissan’s ’87 pickup into a Leaf-powered machine.

The electric vintage pickup has an electric motor and a 40 kWh lithium battery, courtesy of the Nissan Leaf. The electric Sunny is rated at 147 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. According to Nissan, the electric Leaf upgrades offer approximately:

twice the power and more than three times the torque of the four-cylinder gasoline engine originally fitted to the Sunny.

Meanwhile, the EV pickup retained some of its history with a stock 56A manual transmission, something you don’t typically find in EVs (although a few automakers have suggested adding it).

According to Nissan, the vintage electric pickup is designed to cause:

Inspiration as to how enthusiasm for cars can thrive in an electric vehicle future.

Other custom modifications include:

  • Aluminum battery box
  • LED lighting conversion
  • Skyline “Hakosuka” widebody kit
  • 17-inch Rotiform rims
  • Toyo Extensa tires 205/45/17
  • Heavy-duty leaf springs and rear suspension
  • Custom UI display designed by Clemson ICAR University
  • Custom designed and handcrafted TPC interior with Laedana hardware by Tesca
  • Tommy Pike/Peter Brock collaboration Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE) “46” custom livery
  • Nissan 240SX S13 front suspension conversion including front coilovers, disc brakes and lower control arms
Sunny Electric LEAF Pickup Source: Nissan

Electrek’s Grasp

I’m a big fan of converting older cars like the 1987 Sunny pickup into fully electric cars. And Nissan is right. Converting classic cars to electric vehicles can spark excitement for those who have yet to experience the thrill of riding in an electric vehicle.

There are several companies that are trying to get enthusiasts or enthusiasts of custom vehicles excited. For example, Ford started selling its 281-hp Eliminator electric motor precisely so people could create custom electric vehicles.

Electrek also toured ECD Automotive Design’s new facility, where it converts classic Land Rover and Jaguar models using 450hp Tesla Model S motors and 100kW battery packs. You can read more about it here.

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