Electric 1987 Nissan Sunny LEAF Vintage Pickup

I just can’t get enough of Nissan EV news. When I heard from Toyota how they would leapfrog Nissan in solid-state battery production… I thought NO WAY was this the only angle. Nissan typically is way ahead on innovations so I poked around and found this nugget from them at SEMA 2022.

…the electric drive motor and 40-kWh lithium-ion battery pack from a Nissan LEAF. Rated at 147 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque, the LEAF motor has around twice the power and more than three times the torque of the gasoline four-cylinder engine originally equipped in the Sunny.

Tommy Pike Customs (TPC) dropped a LEAF powerplant into a vintage Nissan truck — boosted it with way more power, and way less pollution, than its four-cylinder gas burner — while still running a factory original 56A manual transmission.


A manual EV compact pickup with 3X torque? A low cost zero-emission locally powered (solar) hauling machine?

Yes please.

The Nissan Sunny EV is a true ray of sunshine

Adding power meant upgrading the handling, of course. So they also dropped in a 240SX S13 front suspension — front coilovers, disc brakes and lower control arms.

Have to say it reminds me of the 1998 Electric Ford Ranger, as well as the old Chevy E10 Bolt pickup concept, but still this Nissan has its manual transmission and is drivable today.

In 2006 I worked with a Silicon Valley engineer who commuted from the mountains using solar power for their 1998 Ford Electric Ranger (60 mile range was plenty). They fought hard to keep it as their daily driver and won… one of the few 1990s EV on the road that weren’t erased from existence by the Bush Administration.
Chevy stuffed a Bolt EV inside their E10 pickup concept.

Every time an auto blogger suggests the reliable and smart LEAF is “tired” to them because it was the first EV to be mass produced, I see real hotrod potential. This LEAF conversion kit for old compact pickups might just be exactly what small town America needs right now.

Talk about turning over a new LEAF! In she goes for some Sunny days. Source: TPC

And on that note, Toyota seems to have… nothing (their hydrogen AE86 Collora being about as exciting as breathing amonia). Well done Nissan. Well done.

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