Ask Nathan: We’re Getting An Electric Toyota, Hyundai Cyber Cars, And Inexpensive Restoration?

Toyota's finally jumping into EVs

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Will will finally get an EV Toyota
  • Hyundai is building transforming cyber cars
  • Inexpensive restoration

The first question comes from a Toyota fan who is delighted that we’re finally getting an EV Toyota.

Q: (Via NathanAdlen@Twitter) Nathan. I am thrilled that the EV Toyota buildup is finally beginning!

I have always loved the brand but I’m tired of waiting for a EV Toyota right? Can we get a EV Toyota that will challenge VW and Ford right away yes? Can’t stand waiting!

Greetings from Norway!

— A. M8855

Toyota’s BEV concepts (Image: Toyota)

A: Hi there!

Thanks for the email.

This is not Toyota’s first attempt at battery electric vehicles (BEVs). In the past, they have pushed limited production all-electric vehicles with minimal success. In some cases, it was as if they were not that interested in succeeding. Most recently, they produced an EV based on a Toyota 4Runner, mixed with old Tesla tech. It was a failure in our market.

Roman and I actually drove one – way back. It seemed like it was a poorly realized product, which is rare for Toyota.

Toyota has been extremely resistant on embracing BEVs. They have spent billions and many years perfecting hybrid technology, with great success. Toyota builds more hybrids and PHEVs than anyone else. We fully expect a hybrid or PHEV version of every one of their production vehicles soon.

Even the top dog at Toyota scoffed at the idea of BEVs. Still, the winds of change tend to blow erratically. Recently, Toyota announced that they would begin to build all-electric vehicles soon. Based on recent announcements, the automotive giant is serious about EVs. Toyota aims to have 40-percent of its U.S. lineup composed of battery-electric vehicles, hydrogen-electric vehicles, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids by 2025. The automaker They hope that number will increase to 70-percent by 2030.

It looks like the first two vehicles we may see could be a sedan and a small crossover.

In time, we may see a fleet that consists of minivans, hatchbacks, SUVs and more.

There are a lot of unknowns about Toyota’s BEV future. We have yet to hear concrete information about what they will do with our power grid and electric infrastructure. We will have to wait and see how they will strategically place these vehicles within their lineup. There’s more – a lot more that we’re waiting to hear about.

Knowing Toyota, they will take the practical and pragmatic approach.

The next question comes from my kid, who hear that Hyundai is building transforming cyber cars.

Q: Is someone (Hyundai) building transforming cyber cars?

(I added this part:) I didn’t read your article, I saw it elsewhere on the internet.

— My kid

A: Well – yes, in a way.

A few incredible things are happening with Hyundai. They have been looking at future mobility in a serious way and now, they are building high-tech concepts. Recently, Hyundai unveiled their newest concept. Hyundai’s TIGER (Transforming Intelligent Ground Excursion Robot) is a all-terrain rover that can take on just about any terrain. TIGER can roll along normally, using its wheels on regular surfaces. When it encounters a major obstacle, the wheels stop rolling and legs extend. It can then step over the obstacle.

Before TIGER, Hyundai released the Elevate concept at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). This much larger machine was based on a vehicle that can haul humans. It too – can extend legs when needed, and climb over obstacles.

Now that Hyundai has a controlling stake in Boston Dynamics, the potential for walking autonomous vehicles seems even more real. Let’s hope our walking cars do not become self-aware.

— N

The last question comes from a fan who’s about to pull the trigger on an old Toyota 4Runner. He’s looking at what it will cost to fix it up.

1990 Toyota 4Runner (Image: Toyota)

Q: (Via NathanAdlen@Twitter)

Hi Nathan. I’m about to buy a 1990 Toyota 4Runner in Huston. It has a LOT of miles but it runs great. It’s not rusty but there are some dents and it has bad pain in spots. The interior is in bad shape bad carpets too. I want to make it nicer. What would you budget to fix it up? I have very little money to work with. Love TFL and all your shows!

— A. Wilson in Huston

(Image: Toyota)

A: Old 4Runners are great – congratulations!

I have a lot of questions: mainly about the mechanical parts.

The absolute most important thing about fixing your old ride is making sure it’s safe. Repairing or upgrading the brakes and tires are extremely important, and should be your priority – if needed. Also, you need to check the frame and connected components to make sure that there is a minimum of rust.

Now, if the running-gear is all in order – and if it’s safe, there are several things you can concentrate on.

You budget is directly connected to how much work you’re willing to do yourself. If you’re creative, even better!

The interior is something that many non-mechanically-inclined people can do on their own. Seats and carpets can be sourced at your local wrecking yard, on online. If you’re creative, you can find replacement seats in good condition from a variety of sources – for little money. Replacing the carpets is tedious, but not that difficult, as long as you’re willing to make an effort.

Some dents can be repaired by yourself, and there are a ton of tutorials online that will help you out. Even a simple paint job can be accomplished on a tight budget. Once again, there’s some great content online about budget paint jobs.

I would be happy to provide more information, as long as you can send me more details!

— N

Speaking of rebuilding a vehicle on a budget…