Rivian R1T electric pickup concept
Which automaker made a commitment to end gas engine production (eventually)?
What electric car may finally have gotten a name?
This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending Dec. 7, 2018.
This week our news came mostly from follow-up insights from the LA Auto Show as well as mainly disheartening climate reports being released in conjunction with a summit of world leaders on climate change convening in Poland this month. Along the way, there were details to report about upcoming electric cars, and encouraging news about batteries.
From behind the scenes at the LA Auto Show, we learned that new startup electric pickup-maker Rivian plans to sell its upcoming truck and SUV directly to consumers, similar to Tesla, but will have dealerships to provide service and support.
Toyota laid out the reasons why some of its hybrids still use nickel-metal hydride batteries while others get lithium-ion, and why the small rear-drive electric motor in its new Prius AWD-e only makes just 7 horsepower and operates only up to 43 mph. Toyota also announced pricing for the new model.
2019 Toyota Prius
A report in The Wall Street Journal revealed why the long-range Nissan Leaf turned out to be a no-show at the LA auto show.
Automakers battled the Trump administration over expiring electric car tax credits, with the automakers seeking to extend them, while the Trump administration says it wants to end them altogether.
A few disparate announcements, taken together, hinted at how soon the tipping point to transition from gas to electric cars may come. Chinese battery manufacturer Envision Energy, which bought Nissan's AESC lithium-ion battery division, says it will be make battery packs for less than $100 per kilowatt-hour—the price considered equivalent with gas cars—by 2020.
2017 Nissan Leaf showing battery pack (Source: Nissan)
Volkswagen announced it is already developing what will be the last new internal combustion engine, set to roll out in 2026. The company's new U.S. CEO said the tipping point for the switch to electric cars is already here. Meanwhile, the company may have found a place to build its upcoming electric cars for North America.
And the largest charging network in the U.S. just got a round of big investments to help it expand to make electric car charging more commonplace around the world.
Smokestacks [CREDIT: Global Climate Budget 2018]
As world leaders gather in Poland to discuss next steps toward addressing climate change, a new report shows that emissions of carbon dioxide rose 2.7 percent to record levels in 2018, after staying relatively flat for the previous few years. Another study suggests it's already too late to mitigate the worst effects of climate change.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron put off a planned gas-tax increase after protesters rioted in the streets for three weeks.
2019 Audi e-tron first drive - Abu Dhabi UAE, December 2018
Some news involved actual electric cars, too. Patent filings revealed a possible name for Ford's upcoming electric SUV. And we finally got to drive the long-awaited Audi e-tron quattro SUV.