In this week’s Ask Nathan:
- Can there be a successful EV overlanding van?
- Nissan mistakes with their new 2022 models
- Fun automotive ads for the 2021 Super Bowl
The first question comes from a former Nissan Leaf owner who doubts the future of the public getting an EV overloading van.
Q: (Via NathanAdlen@Twitter) Former Leaf owner here. I want your take on the reality of an EV overlanding van.
My Leaf was pretty good. Got rid of it because I needed more range and that is a killer for anyone who wants to venture off the beaten path. How are we going to fix this? A real EV overloading van (or a truck) doesn’t seem logical.
Range and batter degradation just kill the whole idea.
— C _ Kago Roo
There is a bit of a misconception about “overlanding” vs. camping. In my mind, the point of an overland adventure is to get far enough off the grid to have adventures without the crowds. Long distance travel for any vehicle in problematic, and electric vehicles’ biggest hurdle. In order to make an EV cable of long range, you need many pricy batteries. This adds weight, and it takes time to recharge. You’re not about to find a Charge Point in the middle of the High Sierras.
What I mean to say is, I get your point; however…
Mass produced all-electric vehicles are still kind of new for many of us. Sure, a Nissan Leaf, like the one I own, would not be ideal for long distance camping. On the other hand, what if something new came along that had a way to take that range issue away? Would you be intrigued if an EV overlanding van could go much further than a gas or diesel vehicle?
There are a variety of startups and automakers out there that, combining solar panels, wind and modular-replaceable batteries, might be able to sustain themselves off the grid for extended periods of time.
Imagine: driving 300 or 400 miles off-road to a remote location. Once their, you set up a hydrogen/solar charging center that’s the size of a normal gas generator. You not only plug in your vehicle’s battery to charge, but you run your camp on it for days. “Science fiction” you say?
The technology is already out there, it just needs to be shrunk down and mass produced to make it feasible for public consumption. Sure, it may take a decade, but there’s a real possibility of it actually happening.
The next question comes from a recent comment about mistakes made with 2022 Nissan models.
Q: So you think Nissan messed up with the 2022 Nissan Frontier? I think they made a mistake with the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder too.
Tell me. You said the other day that Nissan messed up with the 2022 Frontier, and I agree. I see it as a let down. Now I see the new Pathfinder and I am not impressed. As Roman said, it is a missed opportunity. Why not make it into a truck and give the people what they want?
— C. Little, Boston, MA
A: Hi there.
I think you misunderstood my point on the 2022 Nissan Frontier. I never said they messed up. My point was, they missed an opportunity to give the consumers more selection by offering just one engine and transmission option. This could be a brilliant truck, and I might be off base by doubting their choice, but we won’t know until it’s driven – right? Also, I am a little bummed by its mediocre tow rating, but that may change. You can read about the 2022 Nissan Frontier (here).
Now, lets get to the meat of your statement, and why I disagree with you and Roman.
The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is completely different.
Considering the public’s thirst for crossovers that can haul families, this vehicle makes a lot of sense. It looks like they fixed my two biggest gripes, the looks and (more importantly) the transmission. Nissan is finally moving away from continuously variable transmissions (CVTs), at least in one of their crossovers. I wrote a post specifically about the new Pathfinder.
They now have a ZF nine-speed automatic transmission that should get rid of one of their biggest problems – reliability. Nissan builds good engines, adds excellent tech and their overall design has improved throughout their entire lineup. Unfortunately, the reputation of their Jatco-sourced CVTs isn’t good. By fixing this one issue, they move in the right direction.
On top of that, the new Pathfinder is supposed to be better in the rough. While that remains to be seen, most folks in the “know” understand that if they are serious about heading off-road with the family, a frame-base SUV is a good choice. The new Pathfinder competes directly with soft-roaders like the Highlander and Pilot – not Jeep or Land Rover.
Roman’s point is that folks want a replacement for the Xterra, which is true. Still, the old Xterra was an old-school SUV, built to hold five. This was never meant as a rough-and-tumble off-roader. Maybe we’ll see something like the Xterra again as well, but it won’t be called, “Pathfinder.”
The last question comes from my wife about the 2021 Super Bowl LV ads.
Q: (Via Wife @ SheWhoMustBeObeyed)”Any reason I should sacrifice my day and watch a football game I could care less about?”
I summarized that one…
We have a bunch of fun and inspirational commercials coming if you’re not into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, or Kansas City Chiefs… or The Weekend (who’s doing the half-time show). Indeed – we have a slew of sweet television spots that you should be watching!
*Honey… when I say “should,” I mean, it might behoove you to have a peek at your convenience. Oh, and if you think I’m being obnoxious – – – Roman made me write this. Yep.
Okay, this last one is not exactly for cars, but it is from Uber Eats – which requires an automobile.