Which electric vehicle startup is already reportedly looking around for a second factory location?
Which former executive of an EV startup posted $100 million bail this week?
This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending July 30, 2021.
We presented two drives this week: one for an electric luxury trendsetter, the other for a heart-of-the-market hybrid. In a first drive of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS electric fastback, we found that this big electric flagship takes more closely after the S-Class than the Model S. And will the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid deliver its EPA rating of up to 38 mpg in real-world driving? With a short city loop and a long highway haul, we took a look.
2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS first drive (EQS 580)
Tesla revealed, as part of a quarterly update, that it produced and delivered more than 200,000 vehicles for the first time in a quarter—and topped $1 billion in net income for the first time. In it, CEO Elon Musk provided a better picture of how the company will open up its Supercharger network to other brands’ EVs. The Tesla Semi and Cybertruck have been delayed by the push to produce a revamped Model Y in Texas and Germany; and Musk says that Tesla is facing a “Baskin-Robbins of batteries” situation—to paraphrase, too many battery formats and chemistries.
The indictment of Trevor Milton, the founder of fuel-cell-focused Nikola Motor Company, was one of this week’s big stories and brought the spotlight on the SPAC process now common among EV startups. Milton was charged on Thursday with securities fraud, wire fraud, and more; and with Milton out on $100 million bail, we took a look at the extent of what’s alleged.
The Trump rollback of gas mileage and emissions rules for the 2021 and 2022 model years has allowed the fleet to fall behind. To that, environmental groups this week underscored the Biden rules need to be stronger—with fewer off-cycle credit workarounds. Those rules for fuel economy and emissions are reportedly due to be released as soon as next week and include a potential target for 40% EVs by 2030.
Teaser for next-generation Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
In news of upcoming vehicles: The next-generation version of the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid will arrive in the second quarter of 2022. The Japanese automaker promises more power, more range, and a third-row seat—although it’s yet to be confirmed whether it will again feature DC fast-charging.
Even before delivering the first electric trucks to individual buyers, Rivian is already looking ahead to a second factory, with a new $2.5 billion funding round including Ford and Amazon going to something reportedly called Project Tera.
Rivian R1T pre-production
The Chinese battery maker CATL introduced sodium-ion battery cells that can accept an 80% charge in 15 minutes—or be paired with lithium-ion cells within the same pack. They could be a good alternative to high-energy-density cells in energy storage or delivery trucks.
On the tech front, a project in Indiana aims to deploy dynamic high-power wireless charging—after preliminary testing with Purdue University and the state’s Department of Transportation. One way to boost the highway range and efficiency of EVs is through attention to aerodynamics; and we took a look at how a low coefficient of drag can potentially give a large vehicle less aerodynamic resistance than a small one. And is there a future for iron-air cell chemistry in EV batteries? Perhaps not, but one startup claims that it has reached a breakthrough that might make it a possibility for grid storage or buffering.
Lightyear One wind tunnel testing
Minnesota will be the first state in the Midwest to adopt California Clean Cars standards, and its EV mandate. We pondered whether that will help discourage “compliance cars” that are only offered in the states that call for them.
Hyundai claims it will have the largest U.S. deployment of hydrogen fuel-cell big rigs with more than 30 Xcient Fuel Cell semis put to use in California and offering a range of more than 500 miles.
And a UK firm showcased an all-electric conversion of an icon of French design, the DS—yes, including the clever hydropneumatic suspension.