In this week’s Ask Nathan:
- What’s up with that Toyota Mini Truck rumor?
- Will they build a Chrysler Pacifica EV?
- I have tempted cosmic kismet?
The first question is from a fan (his fifth question this month!) about the rumors surrounding the (possible) Toyota Mini Truck.
Q: (via Twitter @NathanAdlen) Andre and Nathan. Anything new on the Toyota Mini Truck rumors?
If they built a Toyota Mini Truck that could take a fight to Ford and Hyundai, I would be so damn happy. I absolutely hate Ford but I have to admit that the Maverick is a damn good idea.
A: Andre and I would totally dig it if we saw a Toyota Mini Truck make it to production for North America.
Recent reports have quotes from the Toyota brass talking about the possibility of a Toyota Mini Truck of some kind. Last week, we talked about the all-electric Toyota EV Cruiser/Lite Cruiser/Yaris Cruiser.. or whatever it will be named. Now, we’re speculating on the possible development of a tiny pickup truck, one that will slate under their top-selling Tacoma.
Here is a report by Motor Trend that foreshadows a new vehicle that Toyota is considering. Bob Carter, executive vice president of sales for Toyota Motor North America said the following: “One of the spaces we’re looking at—that won’t be short-term—is where the compact pickup truck is going. You have Santa Cruz and Maverick on the market, and it will be interesting to see Scout. Today, we have the market really well covered with Tacoma, but that [a compact pickup] could be a possibility and something we continue to look at,” Carter said.TFLtruck.com . Motor Trend
A Toyota insider told me that, if they do develop such a truck, it will (most likely) follow in the Ford Maverick hybrid’s footsteps. Also, it may have standard, all electric all-wheel drive (AWD). Perhaps it will have a similar setup to the Corolla Cross hybrid, or something larger like the Sienna hybrid.
We actually posted a story about the Toyota Corolla Cross pickup rumor (here).
The next question comes from a fan who wants to know if Stellantis is building a Chrysler Pacifica EV.
Q: Hi Nathan! It’s Macy again and I was wondering if you could answer this question.
Is Chrysler building an electric minivan?
Back in May, 2021, I leased a Pacifica hybrid and I love it.
Thank you for the suggestion!
I tried the Sienna hybrid, but it wasn’t as nice as the Pacifica.
I’m so fond of it, I considered buying out my lease, which is up in a year.
Then I thought it might be smart to wait until the Chrysler minivan has an electric option.
Do you know anything about that?
I like the Volkswagen Buzz van too!
Thanks for everything and keep making us laugh!
A: Thanks for the message Macy!
Honestly, I didn’t hear anything about an electric van, but I did some digging. First off, Stellantis showed off an image of what looks like a minivan sitting on a STLA electric platform. The image is below, but it’s a pretty good hint. It turns out that Stellantis has already commented on building an EV minivan. I got this section of a post from TopElectricSUV.com
“Speaking to MotorTrend from CES 2022, Chrysler CEO Christine Feuell indicated that the brand’s future vehicle line-up would include an electric minivan. She told Freep that Chrysler is not abandoning the minivan segment. The Toyota Sienna is the best-seller in this category in the U.S. (2021: 107,990 units), but the Pacifica has fared well, registering 98,323 units, with the hybrid variant enjoying a record year in 2021. Considering that, along with the fact that a significant amount of resources have gone into making it well-known over the years. there is a definite business case for a second-gen model as an electric vehicle.”
Following the upcoming Volkswagen I.D. Buzz, it will be interesting to see what automakers do with EV minivans. In many ways, at least with regular commuting, they could be brilliant. I know that Toyota is working on developing an EV minivan (or something similar to a minivan) as well.
Time will tell. We should start to hear about some of these minivans in the very near future!
The last question comes from a rather lengthy email sent to me about… cosmic kismet?
Q: (Paraphrased) Mighty Nathan! I bid you good day!
I find you and your Fast Lane family highly entertaining with things I love and despise. It’s a funny balance you all seem to maintain when you are talking about what is. coming and what you like. Many years ago I remember both you and Roman were very resistant to the idea of world electrification. Now I see that not only have you learned to embrace it and buy your own electric cars you also have a dedicated channel just for electric cars. Looking at you and knowing your love for power. and sound makes me wonder if you had a moment when you suddenly realized that the resources of this earth are finite?
(I had to cut the middle section)
Maybe you were turned by the voice of many people or maybe it was just one special person who altered your auto mobile vision. I get mad at you Nathan when you extoll the love of Power Wagons. and polluting trash like that. Then I see you lauding the simplicity and economy of your daughter’s Nissan Leaf. I think this is your kismet for cosmic rebirth meant for you Nathan. I see the conflict in your eyes when you know full well that life for squealer boys in their polluting pickups is for naught. You know the future better than most because you get to focus on the world though a journalists and entertainer’s eye. I know its a struggle to overcome the stereotype you are forced to play but you must stay strong and stay the course.
A: Howdy Claud
I am doing my best to decipher your email. You gave me a lot to unload. There’s one thing I gathered, and that’s my perceived change of stance on electric vehicles. You asked me if something triggered my change of heart.
First of all: nothing has actually changed. I still love big, powerful machines, and I always will. My thought process began to change well before Tesla became real fashionable.
Back in August of 2013, I attended a massive press event called Nissan 360. This was something special, something Nissan used to do every four years, in a different country. The automaker would bring examples of their vehicles from all over the world, and put them in one place for journalists to sample. At the same time, we had unprecedented access to executives and engineers.
As I played with Kei cars and sports cars, I met an extraordinary engineer. We hung out over the multi-day event and he was easily the smartest person in the room; every room. He pointed out the pluses and negatives of electrification, and was brutally honest. On top if that, he explained the science of battery usage in such a way, that even an ape like me could understand.
That was nine years ago, but it still left quite an impression on me.
I still believe that internal combustion and electric powertrains are both valid. Why should I dismiss one for the other? At the end of the day, I am an automotive journalist, and it helps to see the positives and negatives of all powertrains.