Ask Nathan: Electric Volkswagen Pickup, Is VinFast EV for Real, and 2006 Manual Toyota Camry (Forever Car)?

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Is VW serious about the electric Volkswagen pickup truck?
  • Is VinFast EV actually going to be sold here (& are they for real)?
  • I found a 2006 Toyota Camry manual and I think it may become my forever car – maybe?

The first question comes from a VW fan who wants to know if the electric Volkswagen pickup truck is happening here.

Q: (Via: Twitter@NathanAdlen) Second question, is the electric Volkswagen pickup truck going to happen?

You would think that it would be a no brainer for VW to sell an electric Volkswagen pickup truck. They have the tech for it and there is a huge need for small cheap pickups. Why not?

Hill 7Seven

A: Yes, there is a chance that we will see an electric Volkswagen pickup truck of some sort.

First, I have to mention that the images I added are of the Amarok and Tarok – both vehicles certainly look like they could be electrified, but they aren’t – yet. We have very little information on what the truck would be like. Sure, Volkswagen and Ford have an agreement to build the next generation Amarok on the Ford Ranger platform, but that’s not what we think will underpin an EV pickup.

Scott Keogh, CEO of the Volkswagen Group of America, stated that VW is “actively looking” at bringing an electric pickup truck to market. He also said it would be a “chance of a lifetime” for the brand to gain an advantage in the U.S. market. I agree; IF you actually sell something before every other automaker brings something to market. The time to produce is now.

I have a theory: the battery electric MEB platform that the new Volkswagen ID Buzz is currently built on can support over 1,400 lbs of payload. That’s already competitive some with mid and full-size pickups. Why not use this platform and build a simple pickup? Perhaps something akin to the Honda Ridgeline in size?

Seriously, other than a statement from the VW bigwig, and a few rumors running around, I got nothing.

If you want more information on the (possible) electric Volkswagen pickup, check out TFLTruck’s story.

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The next question comes from a fan who wants to know if VinFast EV actually going to be sold here.

Q: I was wondering if VinFast EV is actually going to be sold here – and if they are the real deal?

Nathan. I am with you when it comes to auto makers building vehicles that are stupid expensive without thinking about the little guy. I am a blue collar guy and my family income is about 100K. 20 years ago that was good money. Today with five kids a mortgage and two car payments, we barely get by. I like the fact that you always push for economy with buying a car. I especially like you sentiment about buying a used EV for a first car. My eldest is about to turn 16 and used electrics are pretty cheap in Georgia.

That got me wondering about my future and the way this country is going. It looks like everyone will be given lots of incentives to buy at least one EV per household. I can’t get rid of my pickup truck yet. But maybe my wife could commute in a EV. The problem is as you’ve said, new EVs are WAY TOO EXPENSIVE!

So I looked around to see whats coming. I saw this company out of Vietnam called VinFast and I was wondering if they are for real? I know nothing but I am guessing that they are inexpensive right? They must be coming to our market with new cars that will undercut the rest am I right? Maybe they will be like Hyundai back in the day. They might offer real cheap cars with big ol warranties?

Let me know when you can. I love watching all million TFL channels and I love the expangine you guys are doing.

God Bless!

  • Stan – GA

A: As far as we can tell: VinFast is very real, despite being shrouded in mystery.

Yep, I say shrouded in mystery because they have yet to give TFLCAR or TFLEV access to their vehicles. As such, I can only go on what others have said. I will say this, the photos look promising. They build some good looking crossovers. I hear Pininfarina helped with their designs.

Unfortunately, they are not inexpensive. First of all, their vehicles are styled by Pininfarina, and are loaded with high-tech equipment. In the past, they built vehicles based on BMW architecture, so they are not aiming for discount pricing. On top of that, they have a subscription service for their batteries.

First of all, their base vehicle, the VinFast VF8 has a base price of $40,700. That’s not too shabby considering the 82.7 kWh battery is estimated to have a 260 mile range. there is a bigger battery, and a larger VF9 SUV too. Now, after you buy a VinFast, it appears that you have to pay for the battery separately – in a lease/subscription program. Monthly costs depend on the battery size and plan. Prices start at $35.00 all the way up to $160.00 per month.

On top of that, if you get the base mileage plan, you may have to pay between $0.11 top $0.15 per mile – over a certain amount of miles.

As you can see, it’s not all ironed out. In time, we hope to hear about concrete plans and see if you can actually own the batteries.

I hear that they are serious about setting up production in the United States. In time, we’ll report on future developments!

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The last question comes from a fan who wants to I found a 2006 Toyota Camry manual and I think it may become my forever car – maybe?

Q: Hello mighty man!

I was thinking about what you and my man Scotty have said about older four-cylinder Toyota Camrys. I think I want to buy one and keep in going for the rest of my life. There aren’t many manuals out there, especially with a manual transmission. But I found a couple in Dallas that I like. It’s an LE with kind a low miles, it looks great and it runs as smooth as silk. Never been in an accident and it has new tires and brakes. $6,995.

What do you think of the 2006 Camry? I know the price is about in the middle.


A: The 2.4-liter, four-cylinder that Toyota built has a well earned reputation for being tough as nails.

There are a lot of factors that make older Camry’s outstanding. The model you’re looking at has a 154 horsepower engine that makes 160 lbs-feet of torque. Toyota equipped the Camry with a manual transmission option until 2017. The one you’re looking at is the sixth-generation Camry, which many feel was one of the best combinations of comfort, efficiency and competent handling.

Honestly, the only flaw I’ve experienced was the output of the four-cylinder engine. Still, the manual transmission may help move it out of its own way. If the car is in as good condition as you indicated, the pricing isn’t too bad – considering all of the current price hikes – on all cars.

As for a “forever” car? Sure, there are folks out there who will drive these engines and transmission into the ground, and they simply replace the powertrain and keep on going. One of my oldest friends has a 2012 Camry with a four-cylinder and stick. She bought it new, and is nearing 200,000 miles without a problem. Other than replacing the brakes, battery and tires, along with re-stuffing the driver’s seat, she hasn’t had any major issue.

That’s saying something.

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Speaking of “saying something.”