Ask Nathan: Ram Rampage PHEV, You HATE Nissan and the Best Deal on EVs?

Second Place – Rohan Seiber, 10th Grade, Portola Valley, California

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Will they build a Ram Rampage PHEV to compete with the Maverick hybrid?
  • Nathan hates Nissan!
  • What is the best deal for an affordable EV?

A fan wants to know if Stellantis will build something like a small Ram Rampage PHEV pickup to combat the Ford Maverick hybrid.

2023 Drive for Design first-place sketch from contest winner Rocco Morales, 12th grade, Northville, Michigan

Q: ( I think they should build something like the Ram Rampage PHEV and take the fight to the Maverick.

Do you like the idea of this Ram Rampage PHEV? I think it’s more realistic than the return of the Dakota. I have seen many sketches recently from Ram and it got me thinking. This is my first time sending you a note, but I’ve been a fan for about five years. My family has been all about Mopar for three generations.

My mom’s Dodge Journey is one of the most hated cars in the USA. I don’t care, because it just passed 150,000 without any big problems! Dad and my brother both have Ram 1500s and I have a 2009 Jeep Wrangler. We are all happy with our vehicles and I have high hopes that Stellantees figures out how to leave American vehicles to the American designers.

After Tommy’s disasterous Hornet video, I think that many fans are concerned. It got me thinking about how the power train can be shared the way 4-xE systems are in so many Jeeps. You’ve even mentioned it. That power train would be pretty awesome in a small pickup. And I think the one in the Hornet would be pretty cool in a very small truck.

Let’s bring back the Ram Rampage in a package that will be a real competitor to the Ford Maverick hybrid! What do you think Nathan?

– Debby KD – Iowa

A: Thanks for the email Debby!

I think you’re on to something, and I totally agree that Ram could/should be the first to the punch with a PHEV pickup truck of some sort. The idea of a plugin hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) that’s rugged enough to be used in a pickup has already been exploited by Stellantis. The popular Jeep Wrangler 4xe is proof that this type of setup can work with a heavy 4×4. It weighs over 5,000-lbs, which is about 1,300-lbs more than a Maverick hybrid.

There’s a lot more to it, including the engineering of such a pickup truck, and the return on investment for Stellantis. The sketches I included are from the first and second place winners from the Drive for Design contest. This is an annual contest for young designers, sponsored by Stellantis.

Still, the fact that Ram is the only player without any midsize pickup in this class is a shame. To me, the Gladiator doesn’t count as it sits at a premium that is far higher than most of its competition. With that being said, I find it odd that Jeep has yet to debut their Gladiator 4xe. We know it’s in the works, and they said it was coming. Odd.

Anyway, we do know that Stellantis is interested in the small and midsize segment, we know that there are many irons in the fire. Sadly, we are still waiting to hear what they are going to officially build.

Stay tuned!

– N

The next batch of questions/comments comes from YouTube, Twitter and… there are a few people who feel I dislike Nissan.

Image: Nissan

Q: (Via: YouTube, Twitter@NathanAdlen, Best next-gen truck is Nissan Frontier and you don’t even mention it. Such losers.

I’m sure Chevy gave it to them for the propaganda as does Toyota with their last generation pretending to be new! – Bill Washburn, via Twitter

Nathan, you obviously hate all Nissans if all you ever do is cry about their CVTs! – Marcus JJ73, via Twitter

I never have seen a The Fast Lane people own a single Nissan car or truck. I think we know the reason! – Tuck3R

There are a few more, but you get the idea.

A: Whatever you guys are smoking, it isn’t helping.

Before I defend myself, you may have missed the videos I produced about my beloved and missed Nissan Pathfinder. It was a third generation that I owned for three years. I absolutely loved it, until it was totaled.

Like many, some of you are reacting to me (or us) not constantly fawning over a vehicle you like. Better still, some are upset that we neglected to mention their favorite vehicle during a video. As such, that simply means I hate it – right? In addition, if I reiterate that a component is a weakness for the automaker – that makes me a “hater.”

While I would normally argue that you’re being narrow-minded, I’ll simply say that you’re right.

When I wrote the story complimenting the Nissan Kicks (which has a CVT), it was a lie. I obviously hated it. I mean, that’s what you’re saying. On top of that, all of the accolades I’ve thrown towards the new Nissan Frontier… well, that was a clever deception by me. By saying it’s an excellent truck – I was actually saying it wasn’t. Right?

The paragraph above was sarcasm. In case you didn’t understand.

Give me strength. Better still, get your heads out of your nether regions.

– N

The last question comes from a neighbor regarding an inexpensive EV.

Q: (Paraphrased) I am thinking about replacing my old commuter with an inexpensive EV. Are there any deals?

I have an old Scion xB that is on its last legs. It seems like a good idea to switch to an electric car for my 40 mile round trip commute. We have a newer Expedition that is good for road trips. So that’s not an issue. We just want something that will be cheap to buy and cheap to run.

– Nice neighbor who walks her Jack Russell terrier

A: That’s a good question and I have two answers for you.

If you’re looking at a brand new electric vehicle, I recommend the Chevrolet Bolt and Bolt EUV. They are about to be discontinued, and are a bargain. Some dealers may want to get rid of them sooner, rather than later. They also could qualify for a clean vehicle Federal tax credit.

I’m not a fan of the looks, but the range and capability of both EVs is impressive.

The other recommendation is a used Nissan Leaf. As long as it has a battery that’s larger than 30 kWh, it should provide a very inexpensive buy. One of the best things about these Nissan Leafs is their easy care, and inexpensive maintenance.

The Hyundai Kona Electric also makes a good used electric choice, but they’re hard to find.

Hope that helps!

– N