Ask Nathan: Modular EV Truck, Using Tires for Disaster Recovery, and Wrenching on Our Own Cars?

Ask Nathan: Modular EV Truck, Using Tires for Disaster Recovery, and Wrenching on Our Own Cars?

Images: XBUS

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Will this cool, modular EV truck come to the United States?
  • Can we used recycled tires for disaster recovery?
  • Why don’t you do videos like engine teardowns?

The first question comes from a fan who spotted a modular EV truck called the XBUS, and wants to know if it will sell here.

Q: (Via: [email protected]) RE: Modular EV truck “XBUS.”

Okay Nathan I have one more question! I came across this totally modular EV truck and I think its called the Xbus when I was looking at other EV pickup trucks. This thing is so cool because it can be configured a ton of different ways and it can be two or four wheel drive. It also looks a lot like a VW bus and it has a swappable battery system!

My question is if they will bring it here. The bus looks like its built to be cheap and I bet its affordable. It is so cool and a way better idea then the Tesla! I promise this is my last question! 😀

– Juan TT

A: Indeed, that modular EV truck you refer to is the German-built XBUS.

The reason I stated that it will (or should be) built in Germany is important. As of now, the company has yet to produce a production model, and they appear to be European-only. The Europeans use a different CCS charger and something that simple can keep it from coming here. On top of that, if it’s not built in the United States, it’s going to fall under the “Chicken Tax” rule. That means it will be a lot more expensive given shipping, tax and federal costs.

I’ve seen it before, and it’s very interesting. The platform can be swapped to make it into a pickup, crew cab pickup, camper and even a mini dump truck. Unfortunately, I hear that there’s new management, and that the production prospects are not 100-percent. If a vehicle like this manages to make it to production, and it’s popular – perhaps there’s a case for U.S. production.

Honestly, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

– N

The next question comes from a fan who wants to know if used tires can help with disaster relief housing.


Q: (Via: Twitter@NathanAdlen) Can used tires help rebuild places like Turkey?

When I see rubbish tires, I know that there’s talk of recycling them. In places like Haiti and Turkey, where they desperately need housing, I wonder about those tires. Do you think they can be reconstituted to build housing?


Via: Earthship Biotecture

A: That’s an outstanding question, but I’m not an expert.

Based on what little I know, tires can be recycled with components reused from them. Mulch, granulated rubber and wire (among others) can be recycled from many. There is a whole industry that’s gaining momentum with recycling tires, but I am assuming they require a large processing plant to sort, extract and distribute the recycled material. I can’t find anything online about a portable tire recycling station. On top of that, I’m not sure if these materials can be made to help in times of disaster.

Still, you idea of reusing tires got me thinking: there is another way that tires can be repurposed to build the walls of a dwelling. Now, I’m not an environmentalists – obviously, but some of their ideas seem logical to me, over time. I know that tires can house toxic materials, which is something to keep in mind. I still think it’s worth looking at. The example I posted in the video below is somewhat far-reaching. With that being said, repurposing tires and other materials in an area that needs housing, might be worth exploring.

I think the idea of using/repurposing the ruins of a city or town to build something more substantial than a tent would be fantastic. I’m sure there are people far brighter than I working on that very problem.

– N

The last set of comments comes from a few viewers on YouTube who wants to know why we don’t do many videos on the mechanics of automobiles.

Q: Why bother buying a lift if you guys never wrench on a car?

  • How about some videos showing you replacing the head on a engine or exhauset system or brakes? You always use mechanics and you call youselves car guys. – Shaq788
  • Maybe they are installing it for David because the rest of them don’t seem to have a mechanical bone in their body. – Bandon
  • Like you guys would ever bust a knuckle. Maybe Nathan but he’s never featured and doesn’t even show up on TFLs banners – Gassy Peanut
  • Now you can change headlights on your vehicles – Kenneth Jinkins
  • I highly doubt you guys are going to be doing any real work no offense. But you’re gonna wish you got a two post. Drive on lifts do nothing but get in the way. Also if you got a 2 post you could have used it to take beds off trucks and such. – Austin Heft

A: Yes, we do not create content of engine rebuilds. We never did.

From time to time, we’ll shoot a video featuring quick fixes, or modifications, but none of us are experts on builds. We prefer to go to the experts who enjoy working with us. Sometimes we get greasy, but that’s not our thing on camera. With that being said, a few of us wrench on our private vehicles off camera. This is especially true with Alex and Kase. Both of those guys go hog wild on their projects off-screen. I spent years at a wrecking yard and a few as a bush mechanic – and I like to occasionally work on my stuff too.

The truth of the matter is: there are plenty of channels that feature garage repairs, flips, restorations and teardowns as their sole product. We don’t. The lift we bought will be used for projects on and off camera. It’s also a way to increase our storage, if the need ever arises.

I’m excited to see the undersides of some of the vehicles we feature. Now, we can do it whenever we want – without bugging our mechanic friends. I think that’s a real plus!