From Nissan ICE Pickup To BEV With Nissan Leaf Heart

First run of the motor with battery pack still externally connected.

Last year [Jimmy] got a request from a customer ([Dave]) to help convert a 1998 Nissan Frontier pickup into an electric drive vehicle, with a crashed 2019 Nissan Leaf providing the battery and electric motor for the conversion. He has documented the months-long journey with plenty of photos, as well as a series of videos over at the [EVSwap Conversions] YouTube channel. While the idea sounds easy enough, there’s a lot more to it than swapping out the ICE with an electric motor and sticking some batteries to the bottom of the car somewhere with double-sided tape. The pickup truck got effectively stripped down  and gutted, before the 110 kW (150 HP) motor got installed using an adapter plate.

The donor Leaf’s battery pack came in at a decently sized 40 kWh, which should give the converted Nissan Frontier BEV a range of easily 100 miles. This pack was split up into two packs, which got put into a custom aluminium battery box, each mounted on one side of the driveshaft. The charging port got installed on the front of the car, next to the logo, discreetly behind a panel. The front of the car had much of the openings that were needed for the ICE’s radiator sealed up for reduced air friction, along with the new low-friction tires that got installed. Although this converted car still has a radiator, it only needs to assisting cooling the motor stack (including inverter and charger) when driving slowly or charging, making it far less demanding and thus allows for a more sleek front.

As a bonus, the car still has the manual 5-gear shift, just without a clutch, and the pickup bed can now also tilt, albeit with hydraulics (so far). Considering that it started with a decent 1998 pickup and totaled Nissan Leaf, this is among the cleanest conversions we have seen, not to mention a good use of a crashed BEV.

Thanks to [JohnU] for the tip.

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Using Super-Efficient Solar Cells To Keep Your Electric Car’s Battery Topped Up

Who hasn’t thought of sticking a couple of solar panels onto an electric car’s roof to keep its battery at 100% charge while it’s parked out in the sun? While usually deemed impossible due to the large number and weight of PV solar cells required to get the necessary amount of energy, this hasn’t kept Toyota’s engineers from covering one of their Prius cars with 34+% efficient solar cells.

Some may remember the solar roof option which Toyota previously offered years ago. That system produced a mere 50 W and was only used for things like running the AC fans, indirectly extending the battery charge. In 2016 Toyota brought back this system, in a much improved version. This upped the power output to 180 W, allowing it to power all secondary electronics in the Prius, even allowing it to add a few extra kilometers (roughly 6.1 km/day) to the Prius’ range if one were so inclined.

This newest prototype pretty much goes for broke, reminding us of the cars used in the World Solar Challenge, such as the Dutch Stella and Stella Lux positive-energy solar cars by the team at the University of Eindhoven. Who coincidentally have done a spin-off, setting up a company to produce the Lightyear One, which at least on paper sounds amazing, and potentially may never have to plug it in.

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