Nissan Unveils a Datsun Sunny Pickup EV With a Modern LEAF Powertrain

Photos: Nissan

First released in early 1967, the Datsun Sunny was a light commercial pickup model that’s become an increasingly popular platform for customization. Recognizing this trend, Nissan has opted to deliver its own one-off take on the compact pickup, combining the model’s vintage appearance with the firm’s latest EV technology in order to deliver what Nissan has dubbed the Sunny LEAF Truck Concept.

Photo: Nissan

Built by South Carolina-based shop Tommy Pike Customs, the Sunny LEAF Truck Concept began life as a 1987 Sunny pickup specimen, though has since been extensively modified both inside and out. Under the hood, the truck’s stock four-cylinder petrol engine has been replaced with the electric drive motor and 40-kWh lithium-ion battery pack from a Nissan LEAF. Mated to the pickup’s factory-original 56A manual transmission, the EV powertrain is good for 147hp and 236ft-lbs of instant torque, which is three times the torque of the stocker’s original four-banger. Moving inside the cabin, the build also benefits from a TPC custom-designed and handcrafted interior with Laedana material by Tesca, as well as bespoke race seats and a custom user interface display designed by Clemson University ICAR. 

Photo: Nissan

Modern performance upgrades come in the form of a front suspension package — complete with coilovers, disc brakes, and lower control arms — from a Nissan 240SX S13, along with heavy-duty rear leaf springs and suspension plucked from other modern Nissans. Other up-specced components and modernized elements include an LED lighting conversion, a custom driveshaft, an aluminum battery box, and a custom CNC-machined motor-to-transmission bell housing adapter. Riding on a set of aero-disc-style 17” ROTIFORM wheels wrapped in Toyo Extensa rubber, the Sunny LEAF Truck Concept has been gifted a “Hakosuka” Skyline widebody kit with a custom hood, front splitter, and flared fenders at all four corners. The concept has also been dressed up in the iconic white, red, and blue Brock Racing Enterprises livery — a paint scheme worn by countless high-profile Datsun racers including the BRE 510 and 240Z. 

Built specifically for the annual Las Vegas automotive trade show, the Nissan Sunny LEAF Truck Concept is just one of several one-off projects that the Japanese marque will be displaying at this year’s SEMA Show.