Ask Nathan: The EV Pickup will FAIL, 2021 Chevy Suburban Vs. FordExpedition Max And Politics?

This week's questions and answers are a mixed bunch

This is a teaser of the 2021 GMC Hummer EV pickup. (Image: GM)

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Dude, the EV pickup will fail! 
  • 2021 Chevrolet Suburban vs Ford Expedition Max
  • Why don’t you discuss politics?  

The first question comes from a viewer who dislikes EVs and feels that the EV pickup truck will be DOA. 

Rivian R1T
Rivian R1T EV pickup. [Image: Rivian]

Q:  Dude I know that Roman is a full-on EV fanboy. You have to admit that the idea of EV pickup trucks is stupid and they will fail. 

I know the whole EV world is like “Oh look at how fast I can go in a straight line!” and they prance around like (——) saying how green they are but it’s all a lie! Ok I see the torque in one type of driving and I understand EVs for city folk. But the idea of towing and hauling with something that will die on the highway because of excessive drain makes me laugh. 


Even you guys showed how terrible the power loss is when they tow light loads. What the hell are people going to do when they putter and stop on Highway 10 in the middle of nowhere? Wait for a tow truck with a generator? Wait three hours to get enough charge to make it to the next charger station!!?? Makes no sense!

This is gonna hurt the regular truck sales in America! But once people realize how much these things suck, sales will tank and the (——) stupid EV pickup truck thing will die a slow death. I promise you! 


This is a clay model of the upcoming GMC Hummer EV pickup. We will see an SUV too. [Image: GM]

A: Hi there. 

Thanks for the email. I can understand your confusion, but let me address a few of your concerns. This is based on what I have seen from Rivian, Tesla, GMC and Ford so far. 

Personal use pickups 

First of all, I believe most of these vehicles are for personal use, not full blown work trucks or HD trucks. That is to say, like most pickup trucks sold in the U.S., they will be commuters and work vehicles. Dedicated tow/haul vehicles will still be the domain of big diesel HDs for a while. 

Every automaker who is building an EV pickup knows that it has to meet or exceed the abilities of an equivalent gasoline-powered truck. It would be silly to sell something that would be totally inferior – right? That means, they are working out range issues to make these vehicles handle a load and still come close to (or surpass) gas trucks. 

Range and power 

Many midsize and full-size trucks cruise the highways will little to no load, and that’s a fact. They are commuters that need to have a 200 to 400 mile range – right? Considering the amount of charging stations are (finally) going up, range issues will be less stressful. In fact, there will soon be two cross-country EVs routes – with more planned.

Power packs and modular battery systems are being planned by many tech companies. Some propose replaceable battery packs that can be carried along to extend range. Kind of like battery Jerry cans. Others propose using deploy-able solar packs that work with hydrogen technology for remote charging. 

There’s a ton of tech that will address these issues. That’s because these automakers do not want to fail — not after billions worth of research. In time, these vehicles will become even more capable as the science catches up to the promise. Until then, we still have millions of trucks with gas and diesel engines being sold here.

That won’t change much for quite a while. 

— N

The next question comes from Twitter (@NathanAdlen on Twitter). A fan is looking at the 2021 Suburban vs 2021 Expedition Max.

Q: (Via: NathanAdlen@Twitter) Question: Growing family, doing long cross country road trips.

Towing a tear drop sometimes. Looking at 2021 Suburban vs 2021 Expedition Max? 4×4, top trim High Country vs Platinum or XLT vs LT better value?

— Jay

2021 chevy tahoe suburban 4x4 4wd z71 comparison review
Image: TFLtruck

A: Thanks for the question!

We cannot comment on the driving impressions on the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban until August 10th, but I can talk about value and other numbers. The Chevrolet has a base price of $52,995. The Expedition Max is expected to have a slightly more expensive base price.  Both vehicles will easily exceed $70,000. Some of the models you refer to may surpass the $80,000 mark. 

The 2021 Chevrolet Suburban High Country runs $84,000 – that’s with the 4X4 option. On the other hand, the current (2020) Ford Expedition Platinum Max with the 4×4 option runs $82,450

The main differences between the two is power-train and size. Some prefer Ford’s EcoBoost V6, others want a GM V8. It’s one of the biggest differences that, I feel, is based on personal preference. 

The cargo volume of the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban is much greater than the Ford Expedition Max. The Expedition Max can tow more than the Suburban. 

It all comes down to personal tastes as they are pretty closely matched. 

The Expedition Max is mostly a carryover for 2021, the Suburban is all-new and has a new suspension (independent rear) to boot. Engines appear to be carry-overs from the previous year. Chevrolet will offer a diesel at a later date. 

We have not driven the 2021 Ford Expedition Max, but we are told that it’s mostly the same vehicle as last year’s model. 

Honestly, both trucks are much closer in capabilities and prices than you might think. The only way I can cut the difference between the two, with your preferences, is to show you the numbers. Exterior and interior design are subjective, but the Chevrolet is all-new for 2021. 

Here are some numbers: 

2021 Ford Expedition Max

  • The Expedition still uses a 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 that makes 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. It will be hooked up to a 10-speed automatic transmission.  
  • It has a 30-gallon fuel tank.  
  • The Expedition Max has 36 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third-row seats, 79.6 cubic feet behind the second row, and 121.5 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded.
  • With a max tow rating of 9,300-lbs, the Ford Expedition Max has best-in-class numbers. 

The 2021 Chevrolet Suburban 

  • Just like the Expedition, the engine of the Suburban is a carryover from the last model. If you get the smaller engine, it’s a 5.3-liter V8 makes 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. The 6.2-liter V8 makes 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, and both are hooked up to a 10-speed automatic transmission. 
  • A similar I-6 turbodiesel that’s used in the Silverado 1500 will join the lineup soon. It’s estimated to make 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. It will have a similar 10-speed as the gas engines. 
  • The Chevrolet Suburban has a 28 gallon fuel tank. 
  • The Suburban has 41.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third-row seats, 93.8 cubic feet behind the second row, and 144.7 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded.
  • With a maximum tow rating of 8,300 pounds, the Expedition Max out-tows the Suburban by 1,000 pounds. 

In a nutshell, the Suburban holds more, the Expedition Max tows more and they are competitively priced with each other. Tech and style set these two apart, as do driving dynamics. That’s why I highly recommend you drive these models back to back and compare. 

Remember: we will be releasing the driving impressions video and posts on after August 10th, once the embargo is up. You will be interested to see what we have to say about the Suburban’s driving feel – I promise you. 


The last question is from a fan who wonders why we don’t talk politics. 

Q (Via NathanAdlen@Twitter): You guys seem to avoid political topics. 

Are you seriously saying that you at TFL are apolitical? Come on man you must have an opinion. All of you should! Don’t cop out and say you have no opinion!  

— A. Go

A: Sorry – I have no opinion.  

Let me put it another way: why MUST you get our opinion on anything other than the automotive world from me? I mean, do you want my fashion, hair-care and cooking tips too? I doubt it. 

You’re asking this ape for his intellectual input? Thanks, but I’ll stick to one main topic, which is all I can muster. This is the third time I have responded to your request on this. My position will not change.   

Early on, we (TFL) all agreed that we would try our best to give you the facts from the worldwide automotive industry. We want our material to be for everyone. Politics belong somewhere else. Sure, political issues can directly influence the automotive industry, and we report on that. Still, our own personal beliefs are just that: our own. 

Most of our fans seem pretty content to be free of constant political overload on our channels and websites. I think that, if you truly need to find an automotive media outlet that caters to politics, you should look elsewhere. 

— N