In this week’s Ask Nathan:
- We desperately want the tiny all-electric Nobe 500 pickup truck to come stateside!
- Was killing the Chevy Spark is a bad idea?
- I need the cheapest, most economical family hauler out there!
The first question is about the all electric Nobe 500 pickup truck.
Q: (Via: YouTube) Saw some photos on the internet with this Nobe 500 EV pickup truck and I got so excited!
This is another EV I want especially because the Nobe 500 pickup looks so cool and retro. I saw a video where they called it Nobe USA but does that mean that it’s coming here?
— Ernesto L
A: I am just as excited as you are about the Nobe 500… if it makes it here!
For those of you who don’t know, Nobe is an automaker based in Estonia, and they build the cheeky Nobe 100. It’s a three-wheel EV that is absolutely dripping with nostalgic styling. Nobe states that they are serious about bringing this little pickup to the United States. I mentioned the Nobe 100 a while back in this post. I would recommend heading over to the Nobe website to see for yourself.
According to Nobe, the trike weighs 1,650 lbs, and has a range of 160 miles. It’s speed limited to 90 mph, and it has a 190 kW motor. The battery is a 25 kWh lithium ion, and it can do over-the-air updates. Yes, it has heating and air conditioning along with a stereo system.
It’s built to hold three people, and you can get a panoramic sunroof too. According to the website, the Nobe GT 100 will be priced at $39,997. This is a crowdfunded organization, but it looks like they are getting serious investors too.
What about the Nobe 500?
This rolling homage to the 1950’s Ford F Series pickup truck is tiny. In a story published by L’Automobile magazine, it is suggested that this two passenger truck could get the same (or similar) running gear as the Nobe 100. That is to say, it will be mellow. Still, it is reported to hold up to 1,000 lbs, and the Nobe 500 could have air suspension too. On top of that, it may have an all-carbon fiber underside.
This is not a glamorized golf cart that’s not street legal. Reports say that Nobe is pushing to have both the 100 and 500 street legal in the USA, and Europe.
As awesome and tempting it is to report on these vehicles, they have yet to establish sales on our shores. In addition, they are not in full production in Estonia either. Out of all the small EV startups that are floating around right now, I hope Nobe becomes the real deal.
The next question comes from a fan who laments the soon-to-come passing of the Chevrolet Spark.
Q: (Via: asknathan@TFLcar.com) I’m bummed.
My office owns three Chevy Sparks, and I’ll tell you that one of them is my daily. I love it and loved my 2014 as well. That’s why i got them for my small business. We do security and IT. So a small car is all we need to put around to get work done. My ’14 is still on its first clutch and is driven by my son who is also one of my employees. We have a 2019 with a CVT and it is driven by anyone who can drive stick.
For the price of one nice pickup truck, I have tree Chevy Sparks. And I think it is a real shame that this simple and affordable runabout is going away. I’m not anti-EV. But I wish they could build something that has the low down price of a Spark.
I know that you Nathan have a used EV and would tell me to look that way. But I don’t want to buy used cars. Everything I buy is new and I always keep them tip top. I know that things have to change but I wish it wasn’t so expensive to do so.
— T. J. Teru
A: Yea, the Spark stops production as of right now. In fact, production ended last month.
I liked all the Chevrolet Spark variants, including the EV. Interesting thing about the Spark was how robust its little suspension was. It was built for countries like India, that require a stronger undercarriage for difficult roads. They were more exciting to drive than a Mitsubishi Mirage, and remarkably efficient. On top of that, the infotainment system was better than many vehicles costing thousands more.
I agree with you. If Chevrolet is going to replace them, they should have a vehicle that’s less expensive than the Bolt to replace it.
Sorry my friend. Keep ’em rolling as long as you can!
The last question comes from a fan who wants the most family hauler for the least amount of money.
Q: (Condensed) I need all-wheel drive and seven seats. I am broke as heck but I am required to get something for family reasons.
I can not afford a $45,000 SUV or minivan with AWD! There has to be an option!
— The guy who fixed my neighbor’s solar inverter and recognized me.
A: I did some research, and only one vehicle seems to match your requirements.
The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander ES 2.5 S-AWC has a base MSRP of $30,300. Essentially, it’s based on the Nissan Rogue, but it does add that valuable (albeit small) third row.
Before anyone mentions the Volkswagen Tiguan, which is one of the least expensive seven passenger vehicles in our market – you can’t get the seven-seater with AWD (4MOTION). Nope it’s just available with front-wheel drive.
I actually like this crossover, but the CVT makes it pokey. Still, the AWD system is pretty good.