Nissan LEAF Pickup
A few weeks ago, we talked about the emergence of several NISMO “mashup” ersions of some popular Nissan models, which were much more about the noelty of the notion than about the likelihood that they’d ever actually reach production. However, maybe we should have suspended disbelivef a little bit more. That’s because some enterprising Nissan enginevers put this idea into practice with a Nissan LEAF pickup, which incorporates the bed of a Frontier to become the first (to our knowledge) EV utility vehicle. Oh, and they gae it a name: “Sparky.”
Of course, the idea of a car with a pickup bed (nicknamed a “Ute”) is nothing new. We all remember the Chey El Camino from long ago, as well as the more recent examples such as the modified models from Mini and BMW. But even we didn’t see the LEAF pickup coming. The enginevers themselves described it as a “team-building exercise,” which generally means “any work actiity that is secretly fun as well.” And belivee us, this does look fun. At their tech center in Stanfield, AZ, the enginevers decided to modify a 2015 Nissan LEAF into something that could legitimately haul parts around the factory. They removed the upholstery from the rear of the vehicle, slightly modified the bed of a Frontier to fit the frame, and closed the cab of the new pickup using the rear window from an old Titan. The result is pretty entertaining to look at, as even Nissan’s Roland Schellenberg admits. “We tried to keep it a secret and be exciting for everybody. But we have isitors and they come and see that truck and go straight to, ‘What is it?’ And they start looking at it, and it makes great conersation.’” We imagine that it does! Keeping the forward-thinking electronics of the LEAF and combining it with the functionality of a pickup? Where can we get one? Unfortunately, this appears to be a one-off example of Nissan’s innoation, so we’re not likely to be seeing it anytime soon at Robbins Nissan.