Home » Nissan Is Reportedly Considering A Small EV Pickup Truck And That Sounds Like An Excellent Idea

Nissan Is Reportedly Considering A Small EV Pickup Truck And That Sounds Like An Excellent Idea

Nissan Ev Truck Topshot

How’s this for a fun possible future? Automotive News reports that Nissan is still thinking about building a small electric pickup truck. Nissan’s dealers want this, General Motors is considering it too, and probably Ford will end up doing the same thing soon, so the Japanese automaker would be in good company here.

No other details about this possible truck are currently available. But let’s face it: this is an intriguing proposition, one that’s on the opposite end of the truck spectrum from the chapter Nissan is looking to close. Let me explain.

Old Titan

All signs point to Nissan sending the larger Titan truck off into the sunset for good, possibly as early as this year. One of Carlos Ghosn’s big dreams, Nissan’s half-ton pickup truck ended up being an expensive albatross that never came close to sales expectations. Hell, in Canada, the Titan is already dead. In fact, it’s been dead up here for a couple of years.

Titan New

For one reason or another, almost nobody bought the damn thing, and that’s not massive hyperbole. During the 2019 calendar year, Nissan sold just 2,807 Titans in Canada, which means that it was outsold by the Leaf. Things are going a little bit better in America where the Titan sold 15,063 units last year, but that pales in comparison to the 104,246 Tundras Toyota managed to shift over the same period. According to Bloomberg, Nissan targeted a 5 percent market share, or 100,000 units sold annually, of the current Titan, yet it never reached expectations.

2023 Nissan Frontier

Meanwhile, the updated Nissan Frontier is a hot commodity, with Nissan managing to sell 76,183 of these midsize trucks last year. That’s not a huge surprise given how the Frontier has long been a slightly cheaper, slightly simpler alternative to a Toyota Tacoma. (The new one also looks really good.) It’s a great size for most hobbyists and auto parts stores, offers fair durability, and doesn’t break the bank if you want a crew cab. An electric alternative sounds like printing money, especially since the compact and midsize electric pickup space isn’t expected to be fairly crowded for a while.

Old Frontier

Domestic automakers are largely focusing their EV truck efforts on the traditionally high-margin half-ton segment, with models like the Ford F-150 Lightning and Chevrolet Silverado EV generating all the buzz. Chevrolet is considering a truly compact electric pickup, but that would be for a very different sort of customer than a Frontier or even a Ford Maverick equivalent.

Nissan Hardbody

A city-sized electric truck would represent a renewal of vows for Nissan, a fresh commitment to what the brand has always done best. From Li’l Hustler to 720 to Hardbody to Frontier, Nissan has decades of experience making right-sized trucks to leverage along with more than a decade of EV experience to draw from thanks to models like the Leaf, e-NV200, and Ariya. While Nissan hasn’t announced any plans to build an electric midsize pickup truck, it sounds like the perfect sort of product for the company.

Plus, one of the biggest problems with wide-scale EV adoption remains affordability. Plenty of people need trucks and many are willing to break up with gasoline as well, but very few of them can afford a Rivian. If automakers are serious about moving the market in that direction, they need to get serious about dropping prices as well as vehicle sizes. So while Nissan has had mixed results in the truck game, a small electric truck seems like a no-brainer if it can be done.

(Photo credits: Nissan)

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43 Responses

  1. The never ending story is getting a new chapter:

    1) Rumors of new small truck appear. <—–YOU ARE HERE
    2) Internet Small Truck Guys excitedly come out from the woodwork (This could be the one!!!)
    3) Truck is released (If not released, just go back to step 1 and wait a few months)
    4) The truck isn't exactly the same as a '90s Ranger or S10
    5) Forums, blogs, articles erupt with rage over cost (why isn't this $19K to start!!??), layout (In my day, no one needed more than a regular cab!!!), technology (I won't buy anything with a touchscreen!!!), drivetrain (Where's the manual???), bed length (why can't I have an 8 foot bed in a 14 foot long truck?) and various other Boomer-ish complaints.
    6) Rinse and repeat

    1. More like:

      1.) Rumors of small Truck appear.
      2.) Internet Small Truck guys look longingly at already existing smaller trucks in other markets and want them here.
      3.) A US market specific unibody 4 door short bed pickup comes out instead of a Truck but the automaker has to use every opportunity to call it a “Truck” because they’re so insecure about sales they can’t afford to just call it a pickup like the VW Rabbit Pickup of old.
      4.) Uproar over this POS they spent ungodly amounts of money making and every employee acts like have to call it a Truck or face summary execution. The automaker did this instead of just importing an existing product that would cost no money to develop, just needs an assembly factory in the US.
      5.) Another bit of the small amount of hope people have in general is lost.
      6.) Rinse and repeat.

      1. A small pickup with a large and functional bed would cannibalize the sale of high margin boulevard queens. The expectation from the automaker is that someone who needs a truck simply takes out a bigger loan. When Mahindra tried to bring a small, affordable 40 mpg diesel pickup with a decent sized bed into the US in 2008, the US automakers lobbied the US government to keep it out. They knew their lunch was about to get eaten.

        Fortunately, Ford finally let the genie out of the bottle with the Maverick. However, the 40 mpg hybrid that most of the people who are looking at a Maverick want, is the one Ford deliberately underproduced because its margins are smaller. They want to upsell you instead, and if you can’t afford it, the expectation is that you take out a bigger loan for a longer term.

        When the US auto industry goes belly up again during the next inevitable energy crisis, there should be NO bailouts.

        1. I imagine so, but with a lot of strawmaning.

          Say for example you need to replace your Dodge Viper and you’d like to get a new one.

          Rumors of a new Dodge Viper appear.

          Then the big reveal is a unibody 4 door FWD 4 cylinder automatic transmission only CUV…

          Wouldn’t you be upset too?

          So when someone says Small Truck when they mean Small Pickup (like the VW Rabbit Pickup) they should expect people who want an actual Small TRUCK to be upset when what they’ve been waiting for was never being made. By calling Pickups like the Maverick and the Santa Cruz Pickups the automakers lose nothing and don’t end up pissing off a ton of gearheads.

          Make your pickup campaigns like the “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” campaigns. But parading around a pickup like a Truck is sad and false advertising, just like how parading a Ram 3500 as a pickup (like the VW Rabbit pickup) is sad and false advertising.

          1. You’re right, I would be mad if a new Viper was a FWD 4 cylinder crossover.

            But if it was a V8 powered sports coupe with an automatic only, I’d understand that they got pretty damn close to what I want.

            It seems to me that a Maverick is 95% of what an old S10 is, and only people who want to argue about “pickups” vs “trucks” think there’s any real difference in practice. Nitpicking over inconsequential verbage or pointlessly and endlessly pining for things that are never going to return (regular cabs, manual transmissions, sub $20K starting prices) invites gentle mockery.

            1. Maverick: Unibody, FWD, 1 cab and bed configuration, No manual transmission option, no 4WD transfer case.

              S-10/Ranger: Body on frame, RWD, Several cab and bed configurations, manual transmission option, has a 4WD transfer case.

              Yes they both have 4 wheels and a pickup bed, but there’s a lot more to a car than just looks.

              I recently pulled a undisclosed shipping company’s box truck out of a snow berm with my 1994 150 HP naturally aspirated 4WD Toyota pickup because I had a solid chunk of frame to hook the strap too, a proper manual 4WD transfer case, and I’m sure the 5 speed manual helped. Considering I’ve seen Mavericks getting totaled from getting rear ended at ~5mph I wouldn’t want to attempt the same feat with any new Maverick because if I did best case I’d rip something very important off, worst case I’d permanently bend the frame to the point of totaling it.

    2. You forgot about those that will complain it can’t haul their yacht. (It doesn’t meet *my* specific needs, therefore no one should have one!)

      1. In my experience from reading angry comments, Small Truck Guys don’t tow, but they do haul an inordinate amount of mulch around all the time, preventing them from just getting the minivan.

        1. The new Toyota Sienna doesn’t let you remove the second row seats, and likely in future years minivans will lose their ability to be a van like the Sienna.

  2. I keep on saying that Chevy should have made the Bolt into a pickup. El Boltamino with 2 seats, or 4, with a 5 foot bed for around $25K. There are a lot of people around me who drive the bolt as a commuter and I am sure would have no issue buying the pickup version instead. Everyone said that a small fuel efficient pickup would never sell, then the Maverick comes out.

    1. IDK if trunk bed jump seats are still legal from the factory, but a 2-seater Bolt-based El Camino with optional drop in jump seats would be fantastic. Add an optional soft top and a bed/cabin pass through…. and now I’m breathing heavy

  3. Everyone and their mom is _thinking_ about making a small EV pickup, but we’ll see if anyone actually decides to build one when they could just build a $60k full size, king cab, Big-Mac deluxe corn-caucus hauler

    1. Definitely not, though the fact that they are still in the “considering” stage and not the “releasing designs” stage still means it could look more like that than the Frontier. It probably won’t, though. Their current EVs certainly show little to no sign of “EVs must be weird-looking” design philosophy.

  4. If they made it affordable and not a $40K luxury(-ish) EV then I am all for it.
    They stopped selling the NV200 so… they are looking to go into the city vehicle market again?
    An EV NV200 would seem like a good idea.

    1. They already make them, they’re called the e-NV200. Sadly however they do not sell them in the US.

      When I was in Norway a while back I saw three or more of them over the month I stayed that and I nerded out over these otherwise mundane electric vans.

      If Nissan brought them to the US I’d buy 2 at the minimum.

  5. Frontier size would be great, though specs will really have to make a case for it. I think that the massive batteries in full-size EV pickups and the associated range will make it hard to compete. If they can get decent range at a low enough price, though, it will be great.

    1. (I am afraid that we’ll see a low enough range that people don’t want it, then poor sales will be used to suggest people don’t want medium or smaller EV pickups.)

  6. Looking from afar (australia) I was always puzzled why the Titan never sold well compared to the Tundra, the previous model Tundra was absolutely ancient and still well outsold the comparatively newer Titan by a significant margin.

    Do you have the same phenomenon in the USA where the Toyota badge fools people into thinking that it must be good because its a Toyota? We have that here in aus, this is the only explanation why the Landcruiser 79 series (a vehicle that came out in 1984, and has only minimally changed since then) outsells much more modern vehicles.

    1. No offense to you but I think you’re taking the Landcruiser 79 series for granted. I’d much rather have one of those than any other ICE pickup or SUV currently sold in the US because at least I could get it with a manual and it would be more durable, simple, and reliable than the other options here. That being said I’d only get a non-diesel one.

      If I had the ability to buy a modernized 80’s or 90’s car today brand new from the manufacturer with a warranty I’d buy several of them. We don’t have anything like that in the US except for low volume production cars from boutique automakers.

      1. I’ve driven plenty of 79’s, they have tough underpinnings for sure, but are very agricultural and the VDJ isn’t as reliable as everyone claims. Fuel economy is pretty poor considering the engine is understressed from the factory and not to mention how overpriced they are.

        A GU Nissan Patrol ute is streets ahead in terms of comfort and has even tougher underpinnings than the 79. Wish Nissan still sold those brand new here like they do in middle east.

        1. We don’t get the GU Nissan Patrol ute either.

          Definitely taking them for granted. Hell, basically every other country can get a new Suzuki Jimny but we sure can’t in the ‘good ole’ USA.

  7. Just bring the e-NV200 to the US and work on building a pickup off of it. Cheap, easy, no development time or cost needed. Just set up a factory here for assembly at the minimum. I’ll buy two minimum.

  8. All these manufacturers “thinking about it” do me no good.

    Mid-size extra cab 4WD, 6 ft bed w/ extender, manual seats and windows, minimal touch screen, as low as 120 miles range, for $30K or less. Now. 🙂

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