In this week’s Ask Nathan:
- How about some info on the electric Taco (Tacoma) pickup?
- Lots of random PHEV (plug-in electric vehicle) hybrid questions.
- Should I take my ex’s sexy Mitsubishi Eclipse?
The first question comes from a comment sent to email@example.com, regarding an electric Taco pickup truck (the EV Toyota Tacoma).
Q: (via AskNathan@TFLcar.com) My last question is about the electric TACO that Toyota teased.
I saw the image a while ago and I wonder when Toyota is going to put pone on the road. They made it seem like the electric Taco was coming soon and with those other electric cars. Is there any word on this pickup?
A: Yes, Toyota teased an “electric Taco,” or EV Toyota Tacoma, but there has been no word on production.
I suspect that they will have to build up their production of electric vehicles soon. Recently, Toyota had issues with their all-electric bZ4x, which resulted in a stop-sale notice. You can read about that here. This is not a grand entrance to the world of EVs, to say the least.
Now, Toyota has been resistant to the idea of all-electric vehicles for some time. They build outstanding hybrids and PHEVs, which seem to appeal to drivers on both sides of the EV debate. Still, they made a promise, and it appears that an all-electric Tacoma might be part of that promise.
Toyota has not released any specifications about the electric pickup truck, but we know something about their BEV technologies. The company recently unveiled the production 2023 Toyota bZ4X electric crossover. This RAV4-sized crossover is equipped with a 72 kWh lithium-ion battery. The bZ4X has an estimated driving range of 250 miles. Will Toyota go after a similar driving range for the EV truck? We will have to wait and see.TFLtruck
Right now, Toyota is working hard on the next generation Toyota Tacoma, and there’s every indication that it will have an internal combustion powertrain of some sort. That’s not to say an all-electric (or PHEV) model will be far behind. Right now, we simply do not know.
The next question comes from a Jeep fan who has a few questions about PHEVs.
Q: (Nathanadlen@Twitter) Hi. I have a few questions about the PHEV system Jeep is beginning to use in their vehicles.
I’m very curious if they are water tight and can handle off road ing. Can’t we get the system on cheaper Jeeps? They still haven’t shown a real electric Jeep. And what about the smaller Jeeps like the Compass? Will they get the PHEV system the Wrangler and GC use?
— Dry Roaster 99
A: Thanks for your question, and I have a few answers!
Vehicles like the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe and Jeep Wrangler 4xe have a similar powertrain which is centered around a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, that works with an electric motor system. They work in a similar way, using an eight-speed automatic transmission that (initially) feeds power to the rear wheels. They are meant for different kinds of drivers. As such, their power numbers are very different.
The Wrangler 4xe makes 375 hp and 470 lb-ft, combined – and the Grand Cherokee 4xe makes 270 hp and 375 lb ft of torque. Range is a different story, the Wrangler 4xe has a maximum of 21 miles, all electric, and the Grand Cherokee 4xe can go 25 miles on electricity alone. Both Jeeps have a 17.3 kWh battery, but their different weights, drivetrains and overall design make for different efficiency numbers.
I’ve had a ton of experience with the Wrangler 4xe, and it’s exceptional off-road. It’s main drawback is the sheer heft of the machine. Still, it can go anywhere a regular Wrangler can go, more efficiently.
Soon, we will be getting a very different kind of 4xe system. One that was built for front-wheel drive-bias vehicles – like the Jeep Compass. Right now, Stellantis unveiled the Dodge Horner which has a plug-in hybrid option. This system will work with a small turbocharged engine AND an electric motor to make power.
I suspect this system will find its way into a variety of Jeep products. With that in mind, I can answer your question about affordability. Once these smaller, more economical PHEV Jeeps hit the market, they should be a lot more affordable.
The last question comes from a fan who wants to buy their ex-finance’s Mitsubishi Eclipse
Q: Hi Nathan. My ex-fiancé has a 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse convertible that he’s giving to me in exchange for money he owes me.
Don’t get me started. It’s such a LOOOONG story, but it ends with with us calling it quits a month before the wedding. So I moved back to Tucson and that was that. Then I had to go after him for money. He owes me over $6,500 for all the pre wedding planning and dinners. There may be more he owes me, but that’s all I have receipts for. Anyway he has tried to be mature about this whole fiasco and is willing to give me his 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse in exchange for what he owes me.
It’s a convertible and I think it is kind of sexy. Maybe I liked the car more than him? Anyway I looked online and the price for his car seems to be in line with what he owes me. So I am going to say yes.
My question to you is this, should I drive the car daily or should I trade it in or sell it and buy something newer. My Ford Focus is nearly dead and I want it gone, so it makes sense to drive something better. Am I right?
He took amazing care of it and the Eclipse looks and drives like a new car. It has 98,089 miles and new tires. He’s had the brakes redone and replaced the exhaust pipe too. It also has some sort of extended warranty that will last me a few years I think.
So do you think this would be a good daily driver for me? Or should I buy something else and forget my ex altogether?
Thank you Nathan!
A: Hi there!
First of all, I’m sorry to hear about your difficult situation.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Spider was not too shabby, even with the mellow four-cylinder option. If you have the V6, you’re making about 100 more horsepower, and it’s properly quick. Both powertrains are pretty reliable, and the car itself is a very comfortable ride (unless you’re crammed in the back seat). They get a bad rap because they can’t compete with the batch of athletic competitors on the track. On the other hand, the Eclipse was much easier to drive daily, and it was more comfortable than most.
I would like to include one point: this is a dreadful time to buy a new car. If that Eclipse is as good as you say, I would keep it for a while until the market calms down. You’ll save a lot of money and drive something that’s kind of unique nowadays.
One more suggestion regarding it reminding you of your Ex. Try a few things to personalize it, making it more yours. Stereo, decals, seat covers, even new paint (or a wrap) – these things can completely change your perspective on the car your drive.
Give it a try, and good luck!
Speaking of convertibles…