Nissan converted a 1987 Sunny into an electric vehicle by fitting a Nissan Leaf powertrain inside, but with significantly reduced power. It is one of Nissan’s official concepts displayed at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas, as per InsideEVs.
South Carolina–based Tommy Pike Customs modified the truck for Nissan.
“I bought the Sunny Truck because I thought it was such a cool piece of Nissan history and heritage – especially when I saw it was a right-hand-drive model,” shop owner Tommy Pike said.
“Taking the unexpected step of converting the Sunny to electric power while wrapping it with the Brock Racing Enterprises livery felt like the perfect way to pay homage to Nissan’s heritage and modern innovation.”
It utilizes a base Leaf S’s 40 kWh li-ion battery, a single motor with 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. That might not seem like much but remember that the Sunny is a compact car. It produces around three times as much torque and about twice as much power as the car’s gas engine.
The Sunny’s squared-off appearance is emphasized by its wide-body kit. It also features a livery inspired by the white, and blue Datsuns raced by Brock Racing Enterprises in the 1970s.
On the other hand, the 1980s icon now looks contemporary due to its LED headlights. At the same time, the 17-inch Rotiform wheels are influenced by classic motorsports.
Nissan may be hinting at a crate electric motor
According to Car and Driver, Nissan does not specify where Sunny’s electric motor is installed. Hopefully, it drives the back wheels. Furthermore, Nissan does not determine how the electrified truck’s old manual transmission works, but it appears to be present. It gets heavy-duty rear leaf springs and the front suspension from a first-generation Nissan 240SX.
Notably, Nissan may be teasing the possibility of a crate electric motor by offering the Sunny pickup, powered by a Leaf. Such a product is already available from Ford and Chevrolet. There are also many different motor options from smaller businesses like EV West or Swindon Powertrain that often focus on EV swaps.
In retrospect, Ford developed a considerably more potent truck using two of its Eluminator crate motors for SEMA last year. The crate motors produced 480 horsepower and 634 lb-ft of torque (860 Nm).
Nonetheless, the Nissan Leaf-powered Sunny is still a one-off for the time being. Still, the company may start selling electric crate motors as Ford did with the Eluminator powertrain.