2021 Ram Dakota Midsize Pickup, Kia Electric Car and Monkey Car [Ask Nathan]

1958 buick road master trip american museum classic

  • More info on the 2021 Ram Dakota?
  • Inexpensive Future Kia Electric?
  • Monkey car?

[Photo: AutoEvolution]
The first question comes from Twitter (@Nathanadlen) regarding the upcoming 2021 Ram Dakota (please note: we have no idea what Ram will name the truck or it’s official production date – but we do know – it’s coming).

Q: (Via Twitter@NathanAdlen) I think the Ram Dakota is based on a Mitsubishi pickup truck like the old days. Is this bad? Also, do you have any other info on this truck? Will it be diesel?

Thanks Nathan! IOI16

Photo: AutoEvolution


While I don’t agree with the Autoevolution article regarding their fears that the Ram Dakota will be based on the Mitsubishi L200 (Triton), their exclusive photos are pretty compelling for other points. I’m not seeing a conventional solid rear axle, like on the Mitsubishi L200. Nope, that looks like an independent rear suspension, like the Fiat Toro, which has long rumored to be the platform they would use.

If that’s the case, they have the new 2.0-liter turbo and the e-Torque system that might work well for this type of vehicle. Right now, it produces 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque in its current form. Those numbers already compete with many V6 engines used on midsize trucks.

I doubt FCA will pursue a diesel for their new midsize pickup as they stated that they are  moving away from diesels (internationally) and are looking into electrification; hence, the 2-liter with the e-Torque system.

Based on the current Fiat Toro’s numbers, payload may be best-in-class approaching 2,000-lbs, but towing may be on the low side. Keep in mind: this is only “IF” this version of the Ram Dakota, or whatever they call it, comes here.

One final note: FCA has no desire to build a truck that saps Ram 1500 or the upcoming Jeep Scrambler sales. That’s why we see the logic in introducing an affordable, lightweight pickup truck that may undercut the competition on price and overall size.

We’ll see in the near future.


The next question comes from an electric car fan who is looking for something that will undercut other “inexpensive” electric cars in the near future.


Listen Nathan. I like Teslas but the idea of spending over $45,000 for the “cheap” one stinks.  

Is there such a thing as a cheap electric coming anytime soon? Even the new Nissan Leaf is too pricey. See electric cars are supposed to be cheaper and easier to build than regular everyday cars. So why are they so expensive still?


Kia Naimo electric concept Photo: Kia

A: Hi NateH!

I totally agree with you. I was led to believe that we would see prices that rivaled economy cars right away. Of course, that was ten years ago when the idea of an electric automotive revolution was laughable – by most. Still, the logic for inexpensive construction seems viable.

The problem is weight. Lightweight vehicles are what’s needed for modern electric cars to get that range everybody wants. Batteries are still very heavy, making the idea of a cheap platform prohibitive. In time, like most technology, production costs will lower and the savings should be passed on to the consumer.

I hope.

The Kia Naimo electric concept above may have one of the keys in its sights for a less expensive electric car option. This 124-mile range electric concept (which is a tad short) uses Lithium Ion Polymer batteries which may be much less expensive to manufacture than lithium ion batteries.

By the way, it’s powered by a permanent magnet synchronous electric motor with a maximum output of 80 kW and maximum torque of 280 Nm. The Kia Naimo will be able to reach a maximum speed of 93 mph. Not too shabby. We may see something like this in our market in just a few years.

As for current inexpensive electric transportation; it depends on your needs and location. There are some autocycle/three-wheeled electric options that are starting to enter the market and they will get you back and forth to work for a lot less than a Nissan Leaf. The question is: are you prepared to make the sacrifices needed to live with one.

Here’s an example.



The last question comes from a email that had a simple question: what would a monkey drive?


Tell me, what would a monkey drive? 
Your friend Aloysius


A:  Hi Aloysius,

Listen, I’m not qualified to comment on cars for monkeys.

Apes on the other hand… no biggie.

Actually, scratch that. I do know what spider monkeys like – Volkswagen GTIs.

Yep, got it from a good source, spider monkeys like the GTI.

Looking ahead, maybe you could be more specific about who this monkey is and what type of ride they might have driven in the past.

Is the Volkswagen Golf GTI Faster than a Ford Fiesta ST? Game show
[Photo: TFLcar]
Speaking of monkeying around – here’s the finale of TFLtruck’s Not so Great Race!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Kx4qWbOMVk

Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: asknathan@tflcar.com.