Ask Nathan: Plug In Hybrid Pickup Truck, Anti-EV Journalists and Jeep Wrangler in Snow?

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Who’s building a plug in hybrid pickup truck?
  • Some journalists still hate (and spread their hate) of EVs, and I agree.
  • Should I get a Jeep Wrangler living in snow country?
(Image: Stellantis)

The first question comes from a viewer who wants to know which automaker is (or will) build a plug in hybrid pickup truck.

Q: (Via: Twitter@NathanAdlen) Just saw your series re: fuel efficient pickups and I wondered if there will be a plug in hybrid pickup available soon?

You know how expensive diesels are with purchase pricing and maintaining right? Now I was thinking about the Jeep Wrangler 4xe and thought that it would be a perfect powertrain for a Ram pickup right? I know you mentioned it already and I agree with you. But I see nothing concrete about any plug in hybrid pickups coming to this market. Do you?

– Mitch S

A: I agree, a plug in hybrid pickup truck makes a lot of sense, and there’s a lot of rumors about Stellantis and Ford.

I caught wind of a potential lead with this story regarding a possible plug in hybrid pickup (PHEV) may hit the European market in 2024. It’s supposed to be based on the next generation Ford Ranger, and it may come here after it hits Europe. There has been no official announcement one way or the other.

Now, we do know that Stellantis will most likely be the first to the PHEV pickup party with their upcoming Jeep Gladiator 4Xe, which is expected to debut soon. We have stories from TFLtruck and TFLoffroad regarding the Gladiator PHEV, and we’re just waiting for the official announcement from Jeep.

Based on a little logic and a lot of speculation from those in the “know,” the main difference between the Gladiator and Wrangler 4Xe may be the battery size. Then again, it could be the same 17.3 kWh battery found in the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee 4Xe.

Either way, it’s possible that this powertrain will filter through many other vehicles built by Stellantis, which we may see soon. It’s possible that we


– N

The next question comes from a friend who dislikes EVs, their drivers and loves to quote journalists who hate them as well.

Q: I noticed that a few journalists on your (fill-in-the-blank) social media page send out a ton of negative responses to going electric.

Snarky, almost angry responses to folks who are curious or champion going electric. In a funny way, I agree. One person expressed glee showing a highway traffic jam that forced a lot of drivers to sit for hours as their batteries depleted. She pointed out how easy a gas can quickly fills a gas car, but a diesel generator is a pain to fill an electric car.

This other guy calls out “EVangelists,” talks about lifestyle changes and points out how tremendously expensive electric cars are. Just wiring your house for level two charging can cost thousands. He’s snarky, but he’s right! And another journalist who noticed that every Tesla owner is in the Elon Musk Cult. Other EV owners are out of luck if they want to power up at a Tesla station. Which means they have no alternatives.

Nathan, you will never convince me that going all electric is a smart idea. I know that TFL is leaning that way and I’m sure you guys have experience, but so do these other guys.

– S.Ev

A: Yea, some people are completely against all electrification.

Others will go through great lengths to prove that all electric vehicles are the devil – sometimes omitting facts. Fortunately, some are willing to see the other side. Rather than regale you with reasons why electric vehicles may be a good choice for some, I will use my current situation as an example.

My kid drives a used Nissan Leaf, it has a 30 kWh battery and about an 80-mile range on warm days. It cost us less than $10K, with low miles. Nearly all of her charging is done at home using a 110-volt outlet. We usually charge at non-peak hours. She/we put on 300-400 miles monthly, and we average less than $30.00 each month. In two years, I’ve spent less than $100 on maintenance – which was mainly tires and a checkup.

I do have a level 2 charger, which hooks up to my dryer’s 220-volt outlet, and it cost me $350.00. It’s a simple, portable hookup, not a wall-mounted unit. The funny thing is, I’ve never had to use it. Still, it’s good to have around. I may have a proper charger installed, but only if we add a second EV to the family.

Maybe a plug-in hybrid will help some people enhance their calm?

That leads into my second personal example. We use my kid’s EV for errands, and use our internal combustion vehicles for longer commutes. I own a woefully inefficient Jeep Grand Cherokee, which I love. It laps up unleaded like a greedy hound, so I try to minimize my in-town driving to save money. When it’s available, I take the Nissan Leaf, and it seems like a good strategy.

My point is: for some people, having an electric vehicle makes a lot of sense. Having more than one option is the best for my family, as we have alternatives. During the current gas crunch, we’re using the Nissan Leaf even more – and it’s a nice appliance to have on hand.

As for some of the other things you brought up, TFL is only focusing a little more on EVs because more EVs are being built. We still focus on every other type of powertrain that’s accessible. Also, you may want to double check on some of those reports you see from journalists. I talking about the Tesla supercharges and highway calamities you referred to.

There are opinions, and there are facts. I recommend you find the facts and hold all of us accountable.

That’s including me.

– N

The last question asks is the Jeep Wrangler is a good vehicle for snow.

(Via: Twitter@NathanAdlen) I am thinking about getting a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport S.

There’s one waiting for me and it’s a pretty good deal and I always wanted it. I want the manual with the hard top and the upgraded audio and cold weather package. My question is if this Jeep is actually good in snow. I just moved up to Reno Nevada and I want a good snow car. If this isn’t good I may go with a 4Runner.

– RJRainbow

A:  Yes, the Wrangler can be quite good in snow, so is the Toyota 4Runner. You must keep in mind one important point: tires.

If you have tires that are made for snow, nearly any vehicle will become a snow-beast. At the very least, get a tire that has a snow-flake on it. A three-peak mountain snowflake rating on the side of the tire is key. This rating states the tire is approved by the Rubber Manufacturer’s Association as meeting the minimum requirements for performance in severe snow conditions.

Simply having 4WD or AWD is okay, but the right rubber makes all the difference.

You mentioned the Toyota 4Runner as a option, which I’ve had excellent snow experiences in as well. The Wrangler and 4Runner are both 4x4s, and are kind of chunky. Maybe it’s how the weight is distributed, every 4Runner I piloted through snow has been exceptional. You won’t go wrong with either, but don’t forget my suggestion about having the right rubber!

– N

Now, if you get stuck in the powder – maybe one of these devices can get you un-stuck. Or, maybe not…