Ask Nathan: Nissan EV Pickup in the USA, Suzuki Samurai Suggestions and The Offspring?

This is not a Nissan EV pickup, but it looks kind of like one. This is the 2001 Nissan Nails concept, and it STILL has lots of potential.
[Image: Nissan)

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Nissan EV pickup in the USA?  
  • Suzuki Samurai suggestions. 
  • Did you meet the Offspring?  

The first question (via: NathanAdlen@Twitter) comes from a Nissan EV fan who wants to know if there will be a Nissan EV pickup truck in the USA. 

That back section opens all the way up like the opening of a tent. [Photo: Nissan]

Q:  You would think that a Nissan EV pickup would be a no brainer. 

They could make a very small and simple EV pickup that totally undercuts the competition and gives us a tiny pickup truck too. 

I wonder if this is even a consideration. My 2015 Leaf has almost 80,000 kilometers on it with absolutely no problems. It’s not bad in snow and I still have over 90% of my range. You must understand that I love my Leaf! I just wish it had AWD. I also wish it could haul a bit of timber or tow a tiny trailer. 


Montreal QC

Check out the Nissan Leaf Pickup Truck - Seriously! - The Fast ...
This first generation Leaf was one of the first Nissan EV pickup vehicles in the USA. Unfortunately, they built just one and it was for transporting parts and whatnot at their research facility. You can read about it (here). (Image: TFLtruck)

A: Hi Bernard! 

You have a great point there. Nissan is a pioneer in building inexpensive, mass-produced EVs and they could do something dramatic. Unfortunately, right now Nissan is trying to regroup and may not be in a position to be too daring. 

Still, they have Nissan EV pickup trucks overseas. On top of that, they have EV delivery vehicles that are fairly well regarded in other markets. With mass production comes trial and error. They are already well-versed in what works for the masses. 

This is the Dongfeng Rich 6 EV which was built in conjunction with Nissan. It has a 250 mile range and costs less than $20,000.

The idea of their accessible tech, a tiny pickup truck/vehicle and a low down price is intriguing. They are planning an EV crossover that will debut soon; curious if that platform would work… right? On top of that, why not build a super-inexpensive base model EV pickup that gives people like you what they want? 

Nissan has said nothing about an EV pickup for our shores in some time, but they hinted at it a while back. You can read that old story here. As such, I won’t say it’s impossible, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. 

Man, I hope they give it a go! 

— N

Image: Nissan


The next question comes from one of many Suzuki Samurai fans. Many have suggestion about my project Suzuki’s suspension. The comment section is full of these suggestions too. 

Suzuki Samurai
This what what my project Suzuki Samurai looked like before I began to fiddle with it.  [Image: TFLcar]

Q: Samurai spring over axle conversion kit for shorter shackles?

This is probably the 50th email on a SOA Conversion kit suggestion, but:
Lots of SOA kits out there starting about $350. All require weld-on spring perches, which indeed can be a minor hassle, but probably worth it in the long run.
If possible leave the lower perches intact. Re-gear too, at the same time. That’s probably all you’ll ever need, without going crazy.
Yup, another $1K+.
Good luck,
This is the same Suzuki Samurai after some real upgrades (brakes, tires, wheels, engine work and – suspension). (Image: TFLcar)

A: Hi Paul! 

Thanks for the great email suggestion! That goes for all of you who recommended a spring over axle conversion. 

I’ve known about SOA conversions for some time, but I had a few concerns. For one thing, to do it properly, it would blow my super low budget. Still, I want to make it work right, so I asked around the Jeep and Suzuki community, many experts told me to try the shackles first and see if the bare minimum works. After that, new springs; then possibly a SOA conversion. 

Here’s one of many things I’ve read that makes sense to me: “In order to get the springs in place, there is some tricky welding that needs to be done to the axle brackets. On top of that, the front and rear caster need to be precisely calculated to ensure that steering problems do not develop. Another problem that can arise from improperly set casters is excessive driveshaft vibration, which can lead to a whole host of problems down the road.  (The) disadvantage is the dreaded axle wrap that tends to plague spring-over axle conversions, particularly those with higher horsepower and a heavy foot. Allowed to progress without proper countermeasures, axle wrap can cause drivelines to bind and snaps drive shafts, yokes, and pinions.” – – Morris4x4center

Trying to be cautious and frugal: 

I’ve seen axle warp firsthand and I want to keep my driving/handling dynamics close to stock. Also, I don’t need a huge lift, I’m pretty happy with its current height and, even with the stock-sized shackles, it would be even higher. As of now, I am holding off on a SOA conversion.  

Right now, I am looking for some inexpensive replacement springs which may partially correct the position of the front shackles. Once again, I am on an exceedingly tight budget, one that I already surpassed (it’s $1,500 – my budget was $1,000) and I must keep the bottom line down. 

I will keep you all in the loop! 

— N

Sometimes, I get off-the-wall questions and comments. This is definitely one of them. 

Q: Are you fly? 

Sop brah?
Thought I saw you in a photo with Noodles from the Offspring. Tru? 
— MixitMike 
(Image: The Offspring)

A: Thanks bro. 

Kind of out of right field with that one. Nevertheless, I appreciate the question. 

I don’t think I ever met Noodles. 

I did see The Offspring in California in 1998 (at The Palace in LA), but the whole thing is kind of a blur today. Strange, but I think a small stab-wound scar on my back came from that show – but I can’t be sure.

It was a HELL of a show – if memory serves.

Look dude, I’m pretty sure I would have remembered meeting him. Noodles is an amazing guitarist. Love The Offspring! 

Thanks for the email – I was never that “Fly” to begin with… but thanks. 

– N

Do you think you would be pretty fly driving one of these? 

Asking for a friend.