Ask Nathan: The Rivian R3 MUST be Built Soon, Renault/Nissan EV Potential, and Pseudo Off-Roaders?

In this week’s post:

  • Doubters be damned: the Rivian R3 (and R3X) looks epic!
  • Can the Renault 5 E-Tec be rebadged as a Nissan?
  • You’re encouraging “fake” off-roaders!

The first question is actually a collection of (mostly) positive, snark and some ambivalent comments about the Rivian R3, and R3X.

Q: (Via YouTube: TFLEV) RE: The Rivian R3 looks like a Dodge Omni*!

(* = at least five comments about the Dodge Omni)

  • The R3x looks like a Russian Lada Niva. I want one! – Sea_Jay
  • During the event, I placed a deposit for an R2. Then I cancelled it as soon as the R3 was revealed. It reminds me (in the best possible way) of my first car – a Subaru Justy. Which was an off-roading beast for being such a tiny underpowered vehicle. – AnomonyousFreakYT
  • My first thought when seeing the back of the R3 was Dodge Omni – johnglenf8611
  • R3 is an electrified AMC Gremlin with a Rivian front end. – icare7151
  • looks like a lifted Yugo – 6eightss
  • Looks like they stole the idea from Dodge and shrank an R1 nose. Pass – JillCE80
  • The EV version of Soviet Union LADA? – YAOZYVIDEO

… just a few examples

In addition, my wife “She-who-must-be-obeyed” became EXTREMELY curious about it – and wanted details.

The Rivian R2, R3 and R3X. Images: Rivian

A: Howdy folks!

First of all, I agree with many of you and I believe the the Rivian R3 and R3X stole the show. I’m a big fan of Rivian design, and they absolutely killed it with the R3s. Sadly, there is very little information to go on right now. In addition: Rivian is in a financial crisis. No, not as bad as Fisker, but they just laid off 10-percent of their workforce.

These models were put out there to entice consumers, but to also solicit more investment in the automaker. Makes sense.


That being said: I also want to show our very own Tommy some love. While others had quiet time with the vehicles, he managed to cover both the R2 and the R3 amid a scrum of social media “influencers.” Kudos.

By the way, the R2 looks great too, but I’m one for small vehicles – and that R3 looks sweet. While you can reserve your R2, the R3 and R3X cannot be reserved right now.

One final point: Rivian did not indicate if there will be a pickup truck version of the R2 or R3, but we think it would be an outstanding idea.

What do you think?

– N

The next question comes from a fan who wants to know if Nissan will rebadge and import the upcoming Renault 5 E-Tech.

Q: (Via:

Hi Nathan,

I recently saw the Renault 5 E-Tech on YouTube and I truly want one. This is what many EV fans want in their car. They want something cool and unique that makes sense. I just love it and I think it would be a great replacement for my 2018 Nissan Leaf. That’s of course, if they make it charge faster! LOL!

Nathan. Do you think that Nissan can bring this over as one of theirs?

– SamSW89

A: Hi Sam!

Well, Renault currently has a 43.4% voting stake in Nissan, and they still have vehicles that share components. In addition Nissan holds a 15% non-voting stake in Renault. So, for now, Renault holds all the cards. I agree, it would be exciting if Nissan could bring something like this over to our shores – soon.

As you saw with my previous story, this type of retro-futuristic design turns heads. I think that, for the right price, this car would be huge.

When it hits the European market, the Renault 5 E-Tech will have either a 40 kWh, or 52 kWh battery. The WLPT range goes from 186 miles, up to a maximum of 248 miles with the bigger battery. 118 to about 148 horsepower is available. In addition, it looks like it will have a 100 kW charge rate. Renault says it can charge from 15-80-percent in about 30-minutes.

While none of these numbers are “best-in-class” they are competitive with the new Mini and Fiat 500 EV. The Renault also features a slick system that pays you to put power back into the grid via a bidirectional charging system. I don’t think we have something like that over here.

On another note: the Renault 5 E-Tech’s interior is made entirely of recycled material. Renault says that Renault 5 E-Tech will start at €25,000 ($27,349) for the base model.

Should the Renault 5 E-Tech come to North America?

Absolutely – yes. With that being said, it might be difficult to build and sell this vehicle and make a big profit. Like the Leaf and ARIYA, the Renault (most likely) wouldn’t be eligible for a federal tax credit. Still, Nissan is cutting prices and adding incentives to their current EV sales.

Even if they figure out a way to build something like this at one of their U.S. plants – it will probably have to carry a Nissan badge. Honestly, if it looks this cool, that will be fine with me.

What do you guys think?

– N

The last question comes from a viewer who is sick and tired of our various channels pointing out how capable some crossovers are.

Q: (Via: X/Twitter @NathanAdlen) Every time you show off a cross SUV going off road, it makes the world a worse place.

What do you think will happen if a bunch of people jump into a fake SUV and go off road? Like a Renegade or a Bronco Sport? Subarus are the worst! I see them getting hung up on trails because they were stupid enough to go where only Wranglers should go. I have no problem chewing them out and forcing them back off the trail if they get in the way.

Stop encouraging them!

– WaDogTrainingByShane  

2024 Hyundai Tucson XRT
The Tucson XRT tackle The Trenches at the onX Offoad Course at Tumbleweed Ranch. [image: TFL]

A: Sorry. No.

.Hi there Shane.

One of the things we do is test vehicles. Why would we take a vehicle that was built for LIGHT off-roading and not test it? Some of these vehicles are quite capable and we owe it to our viewers to see what they can do. That’s the job, that’s what we do.

Suggesting that we encourage consumers to go on to paths that are beyond their capabilities is asinine. We never do, and usually suggest light off-roading or dirt roads. Of corse, that depends on the vehicle. We SHOW as much as we can, edifying the driver.

Even people in Jeep Wranglers, and large Broncos make massive mistakes on trails, and some drivers shouldn’t be in the dirt.

Rather than be a jerk on the trail, why not be an ambassador and politely educate these people you encounter? Help them learn about safety on the trail, as opposed to aggression. Not only would you be a help to them, you could help something (or someone) they encounter later.

You never know when you’ll be in a position where good, or bad karma comes back to you.

– N