Ask Nathan: French Automotive Innovation Here, EV Scooters And Used Buick Cars?

This is the 1992 Renault Raccoon concept. (Image: Renault)

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • How will French automotive innovation help our market? 
  • Should I buy an EV scooter?
  • Would you buy a used Buick sedan?

The first question comes from a fan who wants to know about what I once called, “French automotive innovation.”

The Renault Raccoon Concept was so innovative, it combined a fully adjustable suspension, off-road capability, sports-car-like handling, futuristic styling and it was amphibious!

Q:  (Via: Twitter@NathanAdlen) You’ve talked about French Automotive innovation in the past.

You’ve talked about French Automotive innovation in the past (02/16/07). I don’t see how it will help FCA. French cars died in the USA decades ago. Am I right or wrong?


The wheels retract and the large openings on the back are outlets for the jet-boat drive system.

A: Howdy and thanks for the Tweet!

You are referring to an article I wrote back in 2007 for (which is no longer around). In that article, I specifically mention French automotive innovation. At the time the publication was addressing concerns some U.S. consumers had about the Nissan/Renault partnership. Back then, I pointed out how these automakers can and have benefitted from each other. I also pointed out possible weaknesses.

FCA and Peugeot’s partnership, Stellantis, is still not an iron-clad conclusion, but it looks like it will happen. If it does, this partnership will constitute the fourth largest automaker in the world. Not only will this change the face of vehicles sold here, it will change the worldwide automotive industry.

In the past, I noted how amazing French designs are – and some of them are outstanding. The 1992 Renault Raccoon concept I posted above is a prime example of their potential. I mean, who wouldn’t want a Blade-Runner-like sportscar/SUV that’s amphibious?


In terms of innovation, (in the past) the French have set high standards for small engine development, EV-tech, suspension, technology and overall design. Consumers in the west tend to think of French cars like the few that were sold in the U.S. many decades back. That’s a shame. Modern day French vehicles have a ton of potential, and I think this partnership may capitalize on that fact.

2021 Peugeot e-2008 EV. (Image: Peugeot)

Currently, French vehicles (specifically Peugeot) have a fleet of vehicles that, in some cases, would compliment FCA’s fleet nicely. One standout is the Peugeot e-2008 EV crossover. Right out of the box, it would be competitive with the upcoming Volkswagen ID4 and Nissan Ariya. In fact, Peugeot’s EV, hybrid and small engine tech would be a major benefit to FCA’s offerings.

The rest of the benefits have to do with corporate structure and finances. No one can predict the future of FCA, Peugeot or the Stellantis group. Hopefully French automotive innovation, Italian automotive passion and good-ol’ ‘Merican know-how will make for an amazing automaker.

Time will tell.

— N

The next question came from an EV fan who is thinking about getting an EV scooter.

Cycle Board Rover (Image: Cycle Board)

Q: Hi Nathan. Do you guys review scooters?

I hate electric bike but I love scooters. Along time ago I had a Honda Ruckus and it was amazing. Now I thinking about a electric scooter because I need it to get me to work. I don’t have a drivers license and I need to be good for two more years to get it back. So I need to go about four miles to work and back and I need it to be rugged like a dirt bike. I hate bicycles and don’t want to pedal.

It needs to be under $2,500 dollars but I want it to be as new as possible. Maybe a warranty or guarantee would be part of it to? I would apricate the help Nathan. My name is Kalvin and I live in Odessa, Texas. Thank you!

A: Hi Kalvin!

You’re in luck! We just began to publish videos on our new TFLbike channel! Yep, yet another TFL channel – and this one is dedicated to motorcycles, bikes and scooters.

They haven’t done much with EV scooters yet, but over at, we published a story about the Cycle Board Rover – which might just fit the bill.

The Cycleboard Rover can travel (up to) 40 miles, haul (up to) 275-lbs and goes from 0-20 mph in five seconds. It can tackle grades of up to 30-percent and has a top speed of 25-mph.

They cost less than $2,500 and come with a one year warranty.

Hope that helps!

— N

The last question comes from a viewer asking if they should buy a used Buick sedan.


Q: Would you consider a used 2018 Buick Regal a good used car to buy?

It’s a shame that Buick is stopping their sedan production. I was wondering Nathan, would you consider owning a used Buick? I was looking at a 2018 Buick Regal and enjoyed my test drive. It’s a Turbo Premium with a $21,000 price tag and less than 30,000 miles.

My friends, family and associates say that I would be better off with a used Toyota Camry or Honda Accord. I feel no attachment to either vehicle. But this Buick makes me smile. Is that reason enough to consider a purchase?

I enjoy your videos and hope you can respond to my question.


— V. Nguyen

2018 Buick Regal Sportback

A: That’s a great question.

Yes, if the car is in good shape, I say go for it.

You said the one thing that I always hold true; you said it made you happy. In my mind, if a car makes you happy, it’s the right car. Sure, logic says a Toyota or Honda are more sought after and have better reputations, but Buicks are pretty solid. I seriously considered a used Buick Regal GS as a commuter a while back. If it weren’t for the small back seat, I may have pulled the trigger.

Hopefully your Buick is a CPO, or has a remainder of the factory warranty on it.

As for Buick quality in general? You might be surprised to see that they often out perform many competitors, including Cadillac.

The Buick Regal is a great car – enjoy!

— N

Speaking of Buick…