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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I been lurking here observing and trying absorb some information and knowledge.

My electric car experiences are limited to an e bike (just posted it) and removing and recharging the main battery in my 2009 Ford Escape hybrid after leaving it un touched in Kauai for 7 months.

I am noticing 62kWh Leaf totals most with rear end damage.
Instead of taking an old chassis and transplanting bits I want to repurpose the whole Leaf with all the modern safety and conveniences and create my own small single cab truck with a 6' aluminum bed with fold down sides and some reinforcements as required for a 1000lb capacity and be able to tow.

Any input or discussion would be appreciated because this will happen.
Thanks in advance, Gary
 

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I've dreamed of doing the same... hard to imagine how it would look. Perhaps a bit strange with a long bed on a short wheelbase. Do it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
After spending some time looking at car auctions today the Chevy Bolt is also a strong contender.
The Bolt wheelbase is 4" shorter (106.3 vs 102.4") overall length is 13" shorter (174.4 vs 164") the width is similar both around 70" but the car has almost no overhangs unlike the Leaf. The Bolt may drive better than the Leaf with more power and range than even the 62kWh version. A 6' bed is +-80" long and 62 to 72" wide.
The whole electric pickup thing seems workable and the Bolt platform looks better?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
An important detail I live In Santa Monica CA.
Best to fully repair the salvage electric vehicle first get it DMV inspected fully registered and insured before it morphs into a compact truck.
I am going to keep an open mind be it Bolt, Kona or Leaf value is the name of the game they all have 200+hp and no lookers in the crowd so it will be a challenge just backwards from what most are doing with conversions.
 

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I love this idea, Gary. I'm having a hard time combining image #2 with 1 & 3, but even 1 & 3 would drop my jaw if I saw it.

I don't know anything about the viability of lopping off the back of these cars, but the Kona's interior is awesome.
 

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I think it's a great idea. It struck me as a great utilitarian vehicle. I'm going to build a LEAF pickup for my mom who needs a small pickup for yardwork and wants to drive an EV to work... whenever I get some free time from all my other projects.

I like the idea of a rear tray but I think I'm just going to use the stock sheet metal and make a bed out of it. Probably with a 30kwh salvaged LEAF with rear damage.

Here's a couple civics for inspiration.

122887


122888
 

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This would be a coupe utility. They have been common (as factory models) for a long time, so there are many examples if you know what to look for... but only some manufacturers do them, and that generally does not include Nissan. Factory coupe utilities typically have a body like that Leaf conversion; a tray back is common on commercial vehicles, but less common on vehicles of this type sharing the front with a passenger car.

The challenge is entirely structural: keeping the required strength with no structural panels above the tops of the rear tires in a vehicle designed for full body. This is simpler if you keep the original wheelbase, but the vehicle would likely be more useful (depending on how you intend to use it) with a wheelbase stretch. That Rampage has a wheelbase 194 mm (7.6") longer than the Omni/Horizon on which is based; one of the few other similar vehicles familiar in North America was the Rabbit Pickup (Caddy elsewhere) which was 225 mm (8.8") longer than the Rabbit (Golf).

Both the Rampage and the Rabbit Pickup used an entirely different rear suspension from the corresponding hatchbacks - the same design would have worked fine but they needed more capacity and stuck in the cheapest possible hardware (beam axle on leaf springs) because that's good enough for a truck. It makes sense to keep the Leaf suspension, but within the load capacity of that hardware or whatever can be easily swapped in (the Leaf shares chassis parts with some other Nissan models).

Of course all of this has nothing to do with the Leaf being an EV... although if you have enough load capacity and stretch the wheelbase, you could possibly add more battery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
The bed I see is more like the VW type 2 with fold down sides and storage under.
Not sure how this will translate yet or which vehicle will present the best starting point.
Those civics are well done. The internet images of Bolt and Leaf pick ups are not very attractive.
I am a big fan of both the Comanche and the Rampage. Taking a new salvage vehicle and injecting some history is where my thoughts are.
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The bed I see is more like the VW type 2 with fold down sides and storage under.
The Transporter Pickup (of the rear-engine generations) is based on a van; the van floor is essentially still there, with the roof replaced by a lower cargo deck. The storage is between the van floor and the cargo deck, accessed by hatches roughly where the original side rear door would be.

All of that translates reasonably to the conversion of four-door sedan or hatchback/wagon, with the original floor in place, the roof replaced by the new deck, and the rear passenger doors replaced by cargo hatches. In the usual lower-floor pickup, there's no useful space left for under-bed storage compartments.

It's too bad there's no common compact EV which is a wagon - the extra body length and perhaps even wheelbase would be good for the pickup conversion.
 

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Adding the e golf.
This company 3d prints the parts for this conversion and many others.
View attachment 122899
That looks really nice, and the kit is thorough. I wouldn't want a vehicle with dissimilar materials riveted together and the rivets covered with body filler, but it works. The first parts installed are structural vertical side panels, and something like that would be needed. The Smyth Impreza kit has horizontal side beams as well.

As far as I know, the e-Golf started in 2012, on a much newer generation platform than that kit fits. Of course a similar thing could be done with a newer Golf, but not with the kit. Smyth offers a kit for the slightly newer Jetta (up to 2010), but that's still not an e-Golf.

Unrelated to the conversion of an EV, the Smyth New Beetle conversion looks interesting, with the stepside box. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
All of that translates reasonably to the conversion of four-door sedan or hatchback/wagon, with the original floor in place, the roof replaced by the new deck, and the rear passenger doors replaced by cargo hatches. In the usual lower-floor pickup, there's no useful space left for under-bed storage compartments.

Thanks Brian,
Yes those were my thoughts exactly use as much original stuff as possible but top it off with a bed.
I emailed Smyth yesterday inquiring about kits for full electrics, let you know what they say.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Talked to the owner @ Smyth on Friday he's a big fan of the Volt.
His company is having a recovery year but likes the feasibility of an electric truck so maybe next year.
Found this image.
https---bucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-437e-9518-adb32be77984.s3.amazonaws.com-public-images-3a55617...jpeg
 

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Talked to the owner @ Smyth on Friday he's a big fan of the Volt.
His company is having a recovery year but likes the feasibility of an electric truck so maybe next year.
That's encouraging. :)

Well, at least we know that it can be done.

The better starting point for a compact Nissan EV pickup would, of course, be the e-NV200 van which is built on the same platform - and just leaving it as a van would work for many things that a pickup truck is used for - but of course those are basically non-existent in North America. The NV200 has a 225 mm (9") longer wheelbase than the Leaf; it even uses the same battery, but only 40 kWh and still with a 80 kW motor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Cadillac CT 6 PHEV cousin of the Volt though a hybrid not a pure electric. Found a couple salvage vehicles for sale this photo is from the salvage yard. Start with a nice well engineered vehicle and end up with a beautiful truck with no excuses.
vid46851870_uid60a146895caf1.jpg
 
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