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What’s next for Nissan? Perhaps a small electric truck


Nissan announced an ambitious and expensive plan for the future called Nissan Ambition 2030. A big part of the plan is a multi-billion dollar investment in electrification with a goal to have 50% of its product lineup fully electric by the year (you guessed it) 2030. That number is a little less when it comes to the North American market, but it still shows Nissan is plowing ahead with plans for electric vehicles.

One such EV could be following the lead of Ford, Rivian, Tesla and GM as Nissan revealed a quirky-looking electric truck concept called the Surf-Out. Nissan already has the EV platform and battery technology (E-Force), which appears in all-electric Ariya, arriving late next year.

What a Nissan electric truck could be

Obviously the Surf-Out is nothing but a pie-in-the-sky concept with unusual looks. However, if Nissan does end up producing an electric truck, we can make some assumptions based on known specs from the 2022 Ariya.

Ariya will initially have four trims, each equipped with an advanced liquid-cooled 87 kWh lithium-Ion battery (usable battery capacity), CCS quick charge port, available ProPILOT Assist 2.03, wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto, a lounge-like premium interior and Nissan Safety Shield 360.

Three of the four trims will have front-wheel drive standard and deliver 238-horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. But the top-trim Ariya Platinum will have all-wheel drive and be assisted by a dual-motor system that will produce 389 horsepower and an impressive 442 pound-feet of torque.

Knowing this, we can assume the global EV platform allows for versatility, so Nissan could (in theory) create both a bigger truck, along the lines of the Titan and a smaller truck Frontier-sized. Then again, given the current small-truck trend pioneered by Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz, we might even see something smaller. With smaller battery sizes and varying range, an EV truck from Nissan could rival the earliest EV trucks of the Ford F-150 Lightning and the Rivian R1T when it comes to range and capability.

Nissan Surf-Out truck details

As a concept, there aren’t really any specs, and any final end product will be significantly different than what Nissan featured with the Surf-Out concept. But, Nissan did provide some vague “stand-out features” for the concept truck.

“The Nissan Surf-Out concept aims to provide a smooth ride regardless of the terrain, enabling customers to go anywhere in comfort and with confidence,” the marketing materials state. “The vehicle’s variety of power outputs, and low and flat cargo space are aimed to help you go wherever you want and amplify your experience when you get there.”

Surf-Out features:

  • Off-road performance
  • Electric power utilization from the vehicle
  • Extended cargo space
  • Advanced e-4ORCE (battery range)

Who would Nissan target with Surf-Out concept?

The quick and dirty answer: everyone. EVs are coming, and trucks play a big part of an electrified future. A lot will be determined over the next 18-24 months when more mainstream electric trucks hit the market. Just how capable will the F-150 Lightning be when it starts towing and what will that do to the range?

Will Rivian succeed with the R1T or will it be a flash in the pan? Whether Rivian has the financial sticking power to last in this arena is not certain. Then there’s always Tesla and the Cybertruck. This goofy, futuristic not-yet-out pickup started the electric truck craze, but there are numerous issues and production questions regarding the Cybertruck. And we have no idea if or when this truck will make it to market.

So, while Cybertruck is currently in the bulls-eye when any automaker produces an electric truck, it’s likely Nissan is monitoring the success of Maverick and Santa Cruz to see if a small, city-type of electric pickup would be more viable.

This seems like the way to go for Nissan, especially since the compact truck segment is creating a high amount of interest in fuel-efficient, compact “activity” trucks.

The bottom line on Nissan’s electric truck plans

Concepts are fun. I thoroughly enjoy looking at them, even the ones like the Surf-Out that seem absurd and unrealistic. Nissan always has interesting concepts, and its designers seem to thrive on pushing the boundaries. That is certainly case with this concept truck.

But looking past the glaring silliness of this truck’s looks, there is real potential there for Nissan to cash in as the EV market develops and evolves.


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Jimmy Dinsmore

Jimmy is News Editor for PickupTruckTalk with an expertise in new vehicles. He is also a Ford Mustang historian having authored the book Mustang by Design (available on Amazon). His second book, about the history of Ford's F-Series truck comes out next year.

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