Ask Nathan: Positive Nissan EV Pickup Plans, Mocking The Mitsubishi Mirage, And No Time to Die?

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Nissan EV pickup might actually happen?
  • You were just mocking the Mitsubishi Mirage!
  • No Time to Die?

The first question comes from a conversation I had with a Nissan fan, about a possible Nissan EV pickup, while I was at the dentist.

Nissan Nails concept (Image: Nissan)

Q (Abridged via Dental Hygienist): I heard there’s been serious talk about a future Nissan EV pickup.

The timing could be perfect for an affordable, small Nissan EV pickup. There’s no way I can afford a Rivian or a Hummer, but I want an EV pickup. I have owned a Leaf for five years and I love it. I just need more cargo capacity; imagine something like a Nissan Leaf powertrain, but with a pickup bed in the back. It could be the size of a Hyundai Santa Cruz.

I bet it would sell.

Initial Nissan Gobi sketch by the talented Jerry Hirshberg.

A: I’ve covered this topic before, but there’s some new data about a (possible) future Nissan EV pickup.

Recently Automotive News, and Motor Trend reported on this very subject. There are folks at Nissan, including Judy Wheeler, Nissan Division Vice President of Sales and Regional Operations in the U.S. who made some interesting comments. She couldn’t confirm or deny the rumors, but she did say that she wouldn’t be surprised.

Other Nissan insiders are said to be mulling over the potential of using the Leaf and/or Ariya powertrains for this possible pickup.

Honestly, it makes a ton of sense. Smaller, lighter duty pickups are beginning to creep their way into the United States. The Ford Maverick hybrid is a HUGE value proposition, and the Hyundai Santa Cruz is a fun lifestyle vehicle – one that could get a hybrid, or even EV powertrain in the future.

The current Leaf + has a 62-kWh battery good for about 226 miles. It makes 214 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque. That setup is for front wheel drive. The Ariya has a 90-kWh battery pack option and a maximum range of 300 mile. It makes 389 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque and can work with an AWD system. Could you imagine these powertrains hooked up to a tiny king-cab pickup?

If Nissan could produce a light duty EV that had about the same cargo capacity of either, they would be way ahead of the game. I think that, if it could tow a small 4×7 box trailer weighing 1,500-lbs about 100 miles on a charge. That would be outstanding. More importantly, if it could hold a few bikes, or a small palette in the bed – that would be great for urbanites.

There are real indications that Nissan is truly looking into this, which could be epic!

— N

The next question comes from a Mitsubishi Mirage owner, who feels that we mocked the little car in a recent video.

You guys are just like Doug mocking the Mitsubishi Mirage with no thought for its owners.

Have you ever understood what people are going through when they buy a car like this? Do you guys even care about people who make less than $50,000 per year? I bought my Mirage in 2015 and it was my first new car purchase. I know it’s slow but that is no problem in traffic. It parks anywhere and I never worry about it being a target. My 2016 Mirage has over 150,000 miles on it and I never had a major problem. It’s a five speed and my only warranty repair was for the air conditioning system. I paid it off last April and it just sips gas. Say what you want about poor people’s cars. But I am grateful to drive something this inexpensive. I tell you Nathan that I am proud of my little car and I have no regrets.

— Dale from Long Beach, CA

A: Hi Dale.

I’m sorry if we came off as one-sided with the Mitsubishi Mirage. In the video, I do say more than once that it is the least expensive, and most efficient non-hybrid in the United States. Also, I don’t hate the car. Far from it. I understand its value as someone who counts his pennies.

This was a rental, and we should have done an MPG loop to see how the altitude affected the efficiency. There wasn’t time, and we had one opportunity to show how different the least expensive EV and gas car in the U.S. perform under load. The rest, as you know, was meant as entertainment.

Here’s what’s happened in the past: Mitsubishi simply refuses to send a Mirage to Colorado for testing, probably because of the elevation – which kills horsepower. I offered to test the five-speed (which has more performance gusto), but have not gotten an affirmative answer on that.

Hell, I even offered a cross-country trip in a Mirage. I thought it would be cool to shoot a round trip from Denver to Daytona Beach, FL. I wanted to do it for less than $300 – round trip. That’s about 2,700 miles. At the time, that price was less than the cost of a regular airline ticket. The gag would have surrounded my need to sleep in the car at free locations, along the way.

I still want to do it, but this time, L.A. to Orlando and back for $500 in gas. That would be epic!

Anyway, I still see the value of such an inexpensive runabout. I’m happy you are seeing the value in this car too.

Thanks for reaching out Dale!

— N

The last question comes from a reader asking about my early access to the James Bond movie: No Time to Die.

Q: How did you see the movie so early, Nathan? I thought it wasn’t getting released until next week.

Goostrey • 

A: Every once in a while, we get to go to special events that have heavy automotive sponsorship.

In this case, an organization that works with journalists came to and asked for our review of the film. I’m thrilled that they asked, because I’m a huge fan. You can read the full review (here).

Without giving too much away, I will say that this was huge film. Amazing in size and scope, and James Bond car fans will not be disappointed. Also, it’s worth your while to see it on the big screen.

… and here’s something that has absolutely nothing to do with the awesomeness of James Bond.