An Affordable Electric Pickup Truck, the Next Fiat 500e and 1999 Honda Civic? [Ask Nathan]

affordable electric pickup truck - Tesla pickup

Let’s face it, an affordable electric pickup truck isn’t on the docket – yet.

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 full name will be omitted – leaving your first name, initials or nickname, your preference. 

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • An affordable electric pickup truck?
  • The next Fiat 500e?
  • 1999 Honda Civic?

Q: Via Twitter (NathanAdlen@Twitter) Could never afford a nice pickup now. Never could afford an EV pickup truck in the future. 

Is there any hope?

Andy W

Quasar Terragen Concept [Image: Tomas Sarnovsky]

That’s something I have pondered since Tesla teased the idea of an EV pickup truck a few years ago. Since that time, not a single legitimate contender has come forward with a unique “affordable” counter idea. Sure, a few upcoming automakers say they will build affordable EV pickup trucks, but that’s still just words until an actual product reaches the market.

Here’s my take: EV technology is getting less expensive by the week. Each time a new EV comes out, each time new EV tech is mass produced, it lowers the overall expense. At this rate, in time, EVs will be cheaper to build than gas vehicles.

That’s based on consumer consumption. If people don’t buy them, all bets are off. Still, if the market is moving in the right direction, things should be far less expensive in the next few years. Hopefully, that will cover affordable electric pickup trucks too.

The vehicle I featured is an old hydrogen concept from 2006. It’s the
Quasar Terragen Concept by Tomas Sarnovsky and it was featured at the
Michelin Challenge Design

To me, it looks like what an affordable electric pickup truck could look like in the near future. Minimalist, simple, utilitarian, lightweight yet rugged – built for the masses, not just the rich.

Right now, the least expensive pickup truck you can buy in the United States is a base model Nissan Frontier. If you’re under $25,000 – you’ll be driving a minimalist truck by today’s standards. I hope something like this can be built for the same price.

By the way, I still think we have a ways to go before EV pickup trucks are embraced by the real public. Check out the video below.


The next question comes from a Fiat owner who’s curious about the next Fiat 500e.  

This is the Fiat Centoventi EV concept. [Photo: Fiat]

Q: Via Twitter (NathanAdlen@Twitter) Hi Nathan. I have a 2015 Fiat 500 with 75,000 miles. Only replaced the brakes and the car’s been great. Love it!

Thinking about an EV in a few years. Curious about the next Fiat 500e. Will they make one?


Fiat Centoventi EV concept. (Photo: Fiat)

A: Good question!

There are a lot of rumors about Fiat’s future here. For now, many at FCA say that Fiat will become an all EV company soon. FCA chief marketing officer Olivier François told TopGear that, not only will the 2020 Fiat 500 be electric – he hinted that it will be rear-drive.

Their old Fiat 500e wasn’t a terrible EV. It had a low range of 80-ish miles and it was a loss for the company for each one sold, but it proved they could do it. Now, it’s time to take some serious steps for Fiat.

Many feel that, if they can build several products that can rival the Leaf and Bolt’s range for a lower entry price, they may find market salvation.

Our friends at CarScoops spied a Fiat 500e test mule running around, all but confirming its upcoming production. Regarding the next Fiat 500e –
FCA’s chief marking officer, Olivier François, said “It’s kind of an urban Tesla, with beautiful style. Italianess, dolce vita in an electric car.”

Sounds interesting – no?


The last question comes from a 1999 Honda Civic Si owner.

Q: I know you’re a Honda fan Nathan. Especially older ones. So I have a 1999 Honda Civic Si.

I have owned it for 10 years and it’s the best car I’ve ever had. One clutch and two sets of brakes are all its needed until now. With almost 200000 on the clock, I’m having serious timing issues and pressure problems.

There are two choices. I can buy a basic Honda Civic Sport like the one you reviewed or I can invest that money in a new engine. Man I would rather get a new engine. Not that I don’t like the new Honda. I just don’t want to make payments.


A: Hi Tim!

I am lacking details to help you much. Do you intend to do a heavy daily commute? Are you in need of a warranty? Do you want something you don’t have to work on for a while?

If you’re attached to the old Si – by all means, fix it up and keep driving it. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a modern car with all the bells and whistles, maybe have a look at the new one.

I like both, but only you can answer if you truly need a new car or not.

Good luck.


Want to see me nearly throw up in the back of an Acura?

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: