Ask Nathan: Hyundai EV Pickup, Used Nissan Leaf Questions, and – Classic Minivan Battle?

Hyundai EV pickup concept by: Alejandro Llisterri

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • What’s up with the Hyundai EV Pickup truck?
  • Used Nissan Leaf questions
  • Used Chevrolet Lumina Minivan APV vs used Nissan Quest

The first question comes from a fan who wants to know about the Hyundai EV pickup that is supposed to go into production.

Q: (Via: Twitter@NathanAdlen) Did you hear about the Kia and Hyundai EV pickup announcement?

I see how they already brought the best EVs to the party but a Hyundai EV pickup would be so cool. I think that the EV6 and Ionic are so awesome and I bet the EV truck would too. Has Nathan heard anything about the truck?

— Berkley J

A: Ah yes, that announcement about the Hyundai EV pickup took a lot of journalists by surprise.

Here’s what we know about Kia, (and possibly Hyundai), have in mind:

Kia is planning two all-electric pickup trucks. One will be a dedicated pickup truck that they want to sell in emerging markets. This truck is expected to be simple, efficient and robust. Perhaps it will have a ladder-frame and rear wheel drive. The other Kia EV pickup is expected (by some) to fall along the lines of an entry-level, activity-style vehicle, similar to the Hyundai Santa Cruz. If that is the case, it’s possible that the Santa Cruz itself could be the host for a Hyundai EV pickup platform.

It’s possible that the Kia and Hyundai EV pickup could be based on a smaller platform/battery that underpins vehicles like the Hyundai Ionic 5.

Recently, Kia said their pickups will be built in the United States starting in 2024. The bottom line (for now) is that we know Kia is serious about building EV pickup trucks. The question of Hyundai following suit may seem nebulous to some, but it’s obvious to others. In time, we should see a cousin to the Kia pickup(s) built by Hyundai as well.

— N

The next question comes from a few fans asking questions about used Nissan Leafs.

Q: (Nissan) Leaf Follow-Up Thoughts

Hi Nathan,

My daughter doesn’t have her license yet (she’s now in college but COVID delayed drivers ed just when she needed it). So I have been driving the 2016 Leaf I got for her and I really like it. It’s a pretty ordinary car but I really like not polluting or buying gas. Electricity here is 70% hydro/solar/wind so it really is pretty clean. I’m thinking that I might want a long range Leaf SV Plus, for myself, so that I have enough range for a long drive I do pretty often. The air cooled battery system works OK for me up here in the northeast and I like the old-school switches and simplicity of the Leaf controls. 

The center console/leg space thing we discussed earlier is the main drawback. I’m thinking of ordering the offending plastic part (I’ve tracked down the part number) and having it scanned to make a new design (without the intrusive side wings) to be 3-D printed. It seems straightforward enough. If I can get that to work I may get a Leaf for myself someday. If I do that, and if you end up with a newer Leaf yourself sometime, I can send you the 3D file for the new part. 

— Sean

2019 Nissan LEAF Plus (e+)

Q: Excited and scared to buy a used Nissan Leaf

A friend of mine is moving back home to Italy and he wants to sell me his 2018 Nissan Leaf for a great deal. It is way cheaper than what I’ve seen on-line and I do need a car to replace my now destroyed Toyota Echo. I loved my Echo. It was amazing and odd at the same time. I know it was ugly, but it was so faithful and efficient that I learned to love it. After 10 years of ownership, the poor thing got destroyed by a teen texting. My partner was driving it at the time and wasn’t injured.

We live near Santa Fe, New Mexico and I have an easy commute. Each week, I average about 120 miles or thereabouts. We have two small dogs and sometimes go biking along the Santa Fe River Trail. That’s a thirty minute drive each way.

After the accident, my partner suggested going electric and showed me your videos and articles. I love that you bought the Leaf for your daughter and use it for work. I agree with your logic about having a gas car for long trips and a second car that’s electric. My partner has a Dodge Journey that works well for road trips.

I have a few concerns that I wanted to run by you Nathan. My house is primitive and I don’t want to spend a fortune setting it up for level two charging. I am also worried about battery degradation. This Nissan Leaf has the 40 kilowatt hour battery that is supposed to be good for over 150 miles. This one never shows a range above 140 miles. Does that mean it will drop to 100 miles in 2024?

We have a one car garage. Will it make a difference if I store it in the garage, or not? Not a lot of charging options in my area and that worries me.

“An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”

Thank you Nathan and the Fast Lane team. And thank you for your educational and fun videos too!

— Elle

A: Great questions!

I never thought I would become a champion of the Nissan Leaf; especially used ones.

Sean, I’m psyched that you got your daughter a used Nissan Leaf!

Honestly, I think it’s a great starter/first car – and I’m curious to hear how you feel about it over time. It sounds like you are enjoying it at the moment. We use my daughter’s as often as we can for in-town errands, and it’s save us a bundle on gas.

I was looking at the Leaf SV Plus for a possible replacement of my kid’s Leaf in the future. It’s more than double her range, and I bet they will be cheap-as-chips on the used market… once this gas crunch is over.

There are a few Leaf fan-pages and boards out there that talk about 3D-printed upgrades. Some are pretty inventive. I am curious to see how you solve the center console issue. My brother has a 2019 Leaf, and it seems to have a similar layout. The leg-space is tolerable, but it could be better (he’s a tiny person, so it’s no biggie for him).

— N

2019 Nissan LEAF Plus (e+)
[Photo: Nissan]

Elle, I’m sorry to hear about your car’s demise, but I’m happy to hear about no injuries.

You’re in an ideal situation for an electric commuter. You have a vehicle for longer trips, and an EV for commuting. It’s the best of both worlds, and I believe it’s a good compromise in today’s world.

If you keep the Leaf in the garage, and simply charge it with your 110v outlet, it should make things fairly easy. Keeping the Leaf in the garage is a good idea as cold and hot temperatures can hurt the battery’s longevity. Also, avoid fast charging when possible. If you use fast charging too often, it can also hurt the battery.

If you must have a level II charger, you can use one that works with many 220v outlets (like the ones often used with dryers). I bought a portable charger, splitter and switch that allows me to use level II, or my dryer. I only used it once as a test. In two years, about 80-percent of my Nissan Leaf’s charging happens at home, on 110v power. The rest happens at my office, or at various charging places, when needed.

My brother does about 90-percent of his charging at home and has a 30+ mile commute.

Different things can cause degradation for the Nissan Leaf’s battery. I mentioned over-charging and climate, and regular wear and tear. On top of that, your driving habits can influence charge loss as well.

Fortunately, Nissan’s battery tech has improved over the years, and they back their new products with a warranty. If you battery drops below a certain percentage of charge capacity, Nissan will either service or replace it. The details can be looked up in the warranty booklet.

Bottom line: you will have to make some adjustments in your life to make the most out of owning an EV, but the payoff is worth it for many. Good luck!

— N

The last question comes from a young fan who is considering two old minivans

1992 Chevy Lumina APV: the official car of... : r/regularcarreviews

Q: Hi Andre and Nathan, can you help a brother with a minivan question.

I am thinking about buying a 1993 chevy Lumina APV that has 98,936 miles on it. The seller is the second owner. It has a rebuilt transmission and lots of new parts. It also has the smaller 3.1 v6 and a little bit of surface rust. The other van is also a 1993 van but it’s a Nissan Quest. It got a rebuilt engine back in April 2020 and the owner took great care of the interior but not the outside. It has yellowed headlights and a lot of little dings.

I want a van as a extra vehicle that I can haul my projects in. Almost every weekend I fly model or RC airplanes. I need good cargo and sometimes a people carrier.

What do you guys think of these two? I know Nathan grew up a junkyard dog and drove everything in the 90s. So which one would you spend $2,000 on?

— Anton B. from Danbury, CT

A: Wow, you found an APV!?

It is getting hard to find the famous “Dustbuster” vans like the Lumina APV and its brethren.

You’re right, I have driven both, and they are very different vehicles. Honestly, if they both were well maintained, I would opt for the Nissan Quest as a “beater” and the APV as a sort of collecter’s runabout. The Quest is more powerful, handles better and has a utilitarian interior. It’s the most car-like out of the two.

The Lumina APV is bigger, and has a softer highway ride. Some people do not like driving them because of the massive front and side glass. Ironically, I think outward visibility on the Quest was better. Power comes to 120 hp V6 in the Chevrolet Lumina APV. There were larger displacement, more powerful GM V6’s that came later. The Nissan Quest, has a 151 hp V6 that comes out of the Maxima.

I think those GM vans looked cool, and were pretty comfy, but I would go with the Nissan as it offers more bang for the buck.

— N

Speaking of minivans: the all-wheel drive system on this new Toyota Sienna minivan is outstanding in snow!!