Published on September 19th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro
Video: Meet Sparky, The Nissan LEAF Pickup
September 19th, 2014 by Christopher DeMorro
Elon Musk may have mentioned one day selling an electric pickup truck in passing, but leave it to Nissan to actually build one. Meet Sparky, the offspring of a Nissan LEAF and a Nissan Frontier pickup truck, built by engineers at the Nissan Technical Center in Stanfield, Arizona.
Sparky was built to help engineers move themselves and various pieces of equipment around the over 3,000-acre campus. Built by Roland Schellenberg and Arnold Moulinet, the project came about because Schellenberg was, for lack of a better word, bored. “I needed a project for a team building activity so we can bring the team together. We had a need for a truck. Something to drive around, a shop truck,” said Schellenberg.
Schellenberg teamed up with Moulinet, who spent days fleshing out design specs, and he eventually figured out a way to fit the Nissan Frontier’s short pickup bed to the rear of a Nissan LEAF. The project was supposed to be kept secret, but visitors seemed drawn to Sparky, and the idea of an electric pickup truck definitely strikes a chord with me and many other Americans.
Just don’t look for Sparky on dealership lots anytime soon. This one-off project is designed specifically for driving around the Arizona campus, rather than to your next job site. Worry not though, as the Nissan e-NV200 electric work van recently launched in Europe, and is beginning test pilot programs here in the US. I mean it’s not pickup truck, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.Perhaps Sparky can serve to inspire the next generation of Nissan engineers who will actually try to make an electric pickup truck for the masses, though hopefully it can carry more than just a spare tire.
“Being a slick truck, and not so tough, I see it as a boy – but a boy with a heart. It’s something that we all put together. We all share. So it has a little bit of everybody in there,” said Schellenberg.