The Leaf's batteries and a drone platform make this pickup stand out in Sao Paulo.
The Nissan Frontier Sentinel concept was worked up by the Japanese automaker's Brazilian design team with a number of upgrades – not least of which is the two sets of batteries from the Nissan Leaf. They don't replace the conventional engine, though – that remains the 2.3-liter turbodiesel offered on the Frontier for the Latin American market. Instead the EV's batteries are used to power auxiliary equipment, like the drone stationed atop the cargo bed.
Underneath the launch pad are special drawers housing a toolbox, lanterns, hooks, helmets, gloves, and other rescue equipment. The Sentinel also sports a snorkel air intake integrated into the A-pillar for fording rivers, beefed-up wheel arches housing 16-inch wheels and knobby off-road tires, LED auxiliary lighting, a yellow-accented cabin, and a special Blue Thunder paintjob inspired by the locally indigenous hyacinth macaw.
The show truck is based not on the aging Frontier we get in North America, but on the newer version sold in other markets, where it's also known as the NP300 or Navara, and serves as the basis for the Renault Alaskan and Mercedes X-Class.
While Nissan manufacturers the US version of the Frontier (introduced in way back 2004) in Tennessee, the foreign-market version is assembled locally in locations around the world – including Thailand, China, Spain, and Argentina, where it recently invested a whopping $600 million to bring its Cordoba plant up to date to handle Frontier production for 38 countries in the Latin American market.
It's big business for Nissan, one in six of whose vehicles sold around the world are light commercial vehicles like the Frontier. To date it's sold over 15 million pickup trucks worldwide in 180 countries across the globe.