Nissan Mulling a Small EV Pickup

Will the new Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz pave the way for other compact pickups in North America? It definitely could happen. As evidenced by the large number of reservations the former has racked up since its introduction this spring, many consumers are looking for smaller and cheaper alternatives.

Nissan could be next. The Japanese manufacturer will drop the full-size TITAN in Canada after 2021 (but keep it in the U.S.) and soon begin sales of the completely redesigned 2022 Frontier (pictured here). A compact pickup with some form of electrification is apparently a possibility.

A Nissan official has told Automotive News he "could see [a Maverick rival] coming. The pickup area is kind of interesting. There will be a consumer that's looking more for a lifestyle vehicle that they can put all their gear in and go off-roading."

Photo: Nissan

No decision has been made, but the door looks wide open. Nissan dealers would obviously be among the first to rejoice. So, what could we expect?

Similar to the Maverick (Escape, Bronco Sport) and Santa Cruz (Tucson), a future small pickup from Nissan would likely adopt a unibody architecture shared with an SUV like the Rogue rather than the aforementioned next-gen Frontier. As such, driving dynamics would be closer to those of a compact SUV than a truck.

As for the idea of an electrified powertrain, Nissan currently has no hybrid or plug-in hybrid model in its North American lineup, but it sure could borrow the Outlander PHEV technology from alliance partner Mitsubishi. Another option would be a fully electric system derived from the upcoming Ariya crossover.

Photo: Nissan

The Maverick comes standard with a hybrid powertrain and Ford CEO Jim Farley is confident it will be a hit, even suggesting the company could build a family of Maverick variants including an electric model.

Over at Volkswagen, the executive vice president for sales and marketing in North America, Duncas Movassaghi, recently said that investing at this time into a niche ICE compact pickup would not make sense for Volkswagen, but added that “an electric pickup could for sure be an option.”

Watch: 2022 Nissan Frontier is a Huge Step Forward

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