In this week’s Ask Nathan:
- Is the Fisker Alaska EV pickup truck for real?
- An inexpensive Buick EV crossover that’s not available in the U.S.
The first question comes from a viewer who wants to know if the Fisker Alaska EV Pickup truck is going in to production.
Q: (Via: AskNathan@TFL.com) Is the Fisker Alaska EV pickup truck vaporware?
Hi there Nathan and thanks for answering my previous question about the Ram Rampage TRX. I know it was a silly question and I thank you for taking the time to thoughtfully respond. This time I am curious about your take on the Fisker Alaska EV pickup truck. I thought Fisker was out of business and this whole pickup truck thing came out of left field.
The images I’ve seen look pretty sweet, and the idea of having a mid gate that lowers for huge cargo is real cool! Is this something I can look forward to seeing or is it a hurry up and wait thing like the Cybertruck? Do you think it will be cheaper than the Rivian and Ford Lightning? Please let me know!
A: I would not count the Fisker Alaska EV pickup out – but some of the details may change.
I recently read their press release regarding the Alaska, and it’s kind of vague. According to Fisker Inc.: there will only be one size Alaska, that comes as a crew-cab. It’s 17.4-feet long, which is on the smaller size of midsize pickups, but it’s nearly the same as a Honda Ridgeline. Two battery sizes will be available, including a 75 and 113 kWh battery. The smaller battery should be capable of a 230 mile range, and the larger is rated up to 340 miles.
Details are pretty thin right now. I know Fisker wants the Alaska to be the lightest pickup in its class, which is hard to conceive of with those big batteries. In addition, the company is pushing a clean/low carbon production schedule with this truck. Overall power, payload, towing, off-road numbers and whatnot are not available.
For me, there are three points that I want to spotlight. Mainly, the price:
“The Fisker Alaska is a highly advanced, all-electric, four-door pickup truck that is incredibly versatile and powerful. The Fisker Alaska’s design makes a bold and strong statement starting at $45,400¹ before any incentives.“Fisker Inc.
How do you sell an electric pickup made in Graz, Austria for $45K? Simple: build it in the United States.
Yup, the second point is that Fisker Inc. announced that it will build the Alaska EV here (somewhere) in the United States. Their EV SUV “Ocean” is built in Austria. While no U.S. location has been given, I bet they could get a killer deal on a used factory in Lordstown, Ohio. Still, even if it’s built in ‘Merica, I have a hard time swallowing the $45K-ish price tag.
Currently, Magna plays a huge part of the manufacturing process with the Fisker Ocean (which the Alaska’s FM31 platform is based on), so it’s fair to guess they will be heavily involved with the Alaska.
Finally, there’s that terrific “Houdini” partition, which is a folding rear bulkhead. It makes the small-ish 4.5-foot bed into a very useable 7.2-foot bed. Drop the tailgate, you can haul up to 9.2-feet of cargo. I loved the Chevrolet Avalanche, and this idea takes that theme to the next step. I’m a huge fan of Harry Houdini.
Speaking of Houdini, Fisker Inc. is doing its best to stay afloat, and may need a magician to keep them alive. Fisker’s (NYSE “FSR”) stock price fell -7.87% to $5.85 on August 4, 2023. That was around the same time as consumers’ began to receive their lauded Ocean. Hopefully, the (thus far) positive reviews and remarkable entry-level price of the Fisker Ocean will mitigate the hemorrhaging.
Regardless, I believe that the Fisker Alaska EV pickup will go into production soon. Fisker is aiming at a 2025 production timeline, which seems optimistic if they hope to build them locally. Still, the company has surprised many in recent history.
If you want to see more of their models, or order a Fisker Alaska, you can head to their website (here)
Speaking of small trucks…
The last question comes from a few YouTube comment about a cool Buick SUV that’s not meant for our market.
Q: (Via: Twitter@NathanAdlen) ‘Ole El Guappo!
You seem to be knowledgeable about Chinese cars and Buick so I want to know what the hell!?!?!?!?!?! I just saw a Buick SUV that is all electric for less than thirty grand!!!! This makes no sense considering I paid almost forty grand for a Nissan Leaf!
A: I think you’re talking about the Buick Velite-6, which is pictured above.
The Buick Velite-6 has been around for a few years, and recently it got a battery and motor upgrade. It now makes 174 horsepower, and it hooked up to a 61.1 kWh battery. It’s basically the same platform as the Chevy Menlo EV, which is also built and sold in China. The battery/platform was developed by SAIC-GM. In China, prices run about 159,900 CNY, which is about $25,000 USD.
It’s more of a wagon, or hatchback than an SUV. it’s front-wheel drive and has a range of up to 330-miles, which I believe is measured WLPT. The interior is very nice, with the design most modern Buicks enjoy. In addition, the rear seating area is very spacious.
Like many other Buicks and Chevrolets built in, or sold in China – it is specific to their market. Sometimes, we get a vehicle that is either built there, or was introduced in China. One of my favorite examples is the Buick Envista, which I still think is a killer deal for what the car offers.
As for electric vehicles, you have to keep in mind that electric vehicles (and their batteries) that are not sourced in the United States, can be hit with the 25-percent Chicken Tax penalty. That’s before factoring in other import expenses. In addition, the investment for passing the various United States Federal Government safety and emission requirements are a huge financial undertaking.
Bringing an inexpensive car to our shores, especially an EV or a pickup truck, is monumentally expensive.