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:
- Chevrolet EV Pickup Truck?
- Ford C-Max Energi vs BMW i3?
- Should I keep my dad’s 1982 Porsche 924?
The first question comes from a pickup truck fan who wants more information about the proposed Chevrolet EV pickup truck.
Q: Via Twitter (@NathanAdlen): Is it true that there will be a Chevrolet EV pickup truck to go up against Ford?
Is that even a good idea? I mean it should be done eventually but I don’t see the point right now. Cant even be legal to sell in California right now right?
— Loggens R
A: Howdy Loggens!
There’s a lot of buzz about future pickup trucks. That’s one of the reasons we bought a Tesla Model X at TFL. It’s (currently) the closest thing we could buy that could have some of the capabilities of a pickup truck.
Recently, General Motors offered a settlement with the United Auto Workers Union. In this settlement, General Motors said it would build an all-new battery-electric pickup at their Detroit-Hamtramck plant. This will provide new jobs, save old jobs and create a new segment at GM.
The settlement has yet to be accepted, but many expect the EV pickup truck to be part of any future agreement. We may have news about an official settlement soon.
The Chevrolet EV pickup truck will go up against the already announced Ford EV pickup, along with the Rivian and Tesla pickup trucks. Rumors of plug-in hybrid and EV pickups from Ram and Nissan are floating out there too.
An EV Silverado – or something else?
Like the Ford EV pickup truck, many expect the GM/Chevrolet EV pickup truck to be based on a “skateboard” platform. Basically a flat battery pack doubles as a platform and is structural. No frame needed. This also means no need for transfer cases and drive-shafts.
Size-wise, we know that General Motors has quite a bit of experience working with a Chevrolet Colorado-based hydrogen vehicle that’s powered by electric motors. So far, this vehicle has proven itself in military trials and it could be the backbone for an all-new military transport in the near-future.
Still, the Rivian and Ford EV look like full-size pickup trucks. Ford indicated that the Ford EV pickup will be about the same size as a current F-150. It stands to reason that the Chevrolet EV pickup truck would compete directly against the Ford truck. So, it may share a similar footprint with the Silverado.
How much power?
According to Rivian, their new EV pickup truck will have a 180 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery which will provide about 800 horsepower. It’s supposed to tow up to 11,000 pounds, and get an over 400 miles range. It’s a pretty good bet that the competition will try to gun for the same numbers.
That is IF Rivian can deliver on those numbers.
In a recent tweet, Tesla guru Elon Musk stated that we will get a glimpse of the Tesla pickup truck in November of 2019. This is after Ford teased their EV pickup and over a year after Rivian and Bollinger showed off their prototypes.
It looks like the competition is gunning for a late 2020 or early 2021 release. That’s what GM is expected to do as well. Still, plans can change based on a fickle market and EPA numbers.
We should be hearing a lot about this truck within the next six months or so. Hopefully Chevrolet will avoid naming it the S-10 or something…
The next question comes from a fan who is looking at cross-shopping a used Ford C-Max against a used BMW i3.
Q: Hi Nathan, My wife and I want to dabble in EV cars, as a second car, and used – as they seem to depreciate so severely, that there are some great deals…just to test the EV waters.
The BMW i3 rex and Ford C-max are the top choices (with battery degradation + used, might be wise to have a gasoline backup option). VW e-golf is 3rd, but EV only…
I’ve watched tons of reviews about these cars NEW. Where factors like ‘high price’ and ‘not as good as a Prius’ always lead to negative reviews. But what are your thoughts on these, thinking about them objectively as just $10-15,000, 30-90k miles, around town 2nd car choices? (Our current 2 cars are 2009 VW jetta sportwagen (manual) 5cyl gas, & 2007 Volvo v50 t5 AWD (auto) – but when one of these dies, we want to go EV-ish.)
Both these seem quite reliable, but is the idea of buying used EV-ish cars foolish? Any thoughts or advice is greatly appreciated!
A: Hi Seth!
Both are interesting choices, but they are very different cars. I think it depends on your needs and driving style. Let me explain.
The BMW i3 is a fun little runabout. It is not my first choice for driving cross country, nor is it something that I would pick for passenger comfort. It’s built for four and the back seats can be a bot cramped for tall passengers.
It is also a total hoot to drive. First of all, it’s rear-wheel drive and it has a lot of pep off the line. For such an upright/tall vehicle, the BMW i3 drives very sporty. It is somewhat toss able, easy to park and a breeze to commute in.
I would recommend the model with the range extending generator. It’s a smart bet, one that will mitigate range anxiety.
What about the Ford C-Max?
The Ford C-Max hybrid and the C-Max Energy plug-in hybrid are more conventional in their setup. Both are hybrids that are built for good economy – but not fun. They are, in many ways, Ford’s answer to the Prius lineup.
As for comfort, the Ford C-Max is much more passenger friendly than the BMW. It has room for five and good cargo space (by comparison). It is quieter on the road and it has a much nicer highway ride. In many ways, it a more conventional feeling vehicle.
Personally, because I am a fan of driver enjoyment, I would prefer the BMW i3. In fact, I considered one for my spouse (“She-who-must-be-obeyed”) – but thought otherwise as we need AWD.
Check into the cost of maintenance for both vehicles. I suspect the BMW will be pricier. Still, both vehicles are mighty good choices.
Best of luck!
The last question comes from a fan who’s dad left him a 1982 Porsche 924.
Q: Via Twitter (@NathanAdlen): Hi Nathan! I have a Porsche 924 left to me from my dad.
Don’t know what to do with it. It’s sitting in my garage. It runs and it’s a 1982. My brother wants it. Should I sell it?
I don’t have too many details to go on.
The Porsche 924 is beginning to gain some value in the collector’s world. I’ve seen them go for $5-$10K for nice examples. Some people are charging crazy money for the Turbo versions.
As cars go, the Porsche 924 was a fun little ride. It was Porsche’s first front-engine machine and it was partially responsible for Porsche’s growth during hard times. They built them in fairly large numbers, but many have rusted to pieces or have been destroyed over the years.
Considering the fact that your brother wants it, maybe that’s the way to go. I don’t know if you have an emotional attachment to it, but I’m guessing your brother may. If that’s the case, maybe sell it to him for a few bucks?
Speaking of Porsche…
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.