Which popular electric vehicle ranked near the bottom for reliability?
Which company made sure its truck’s frunk was useful space?
This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending November 19, 2021.
Several important affordable electric vehicles were revealed this week in U.S.-bound form. Toyota provided some detail about its 2023 bZ4X electric SUV, which will come to the U.S. with some—but not all—of its standout tech. Expect America to get the radiant floor heat, an energy-saving heat pump, and a smartphone-based digital key system; but you might be waiting a while longer for the steering yoke or the solar roof.
2023 Subaru Solterra
At the LA auto show, Subaru also revealed its closely related 2023 Solterra electric SUV. Developed together with the bZ4X, the Solterra’s distinguishing feature might be that it’s only expected to arrive with all-wheel drive. Estimated range is more than 220 miles, with an 80% charge expected in 30 minutes. And Fisker previewed its 2023 Ocean EV. Set to arrive late in 2022, the Ocean will start at just $37,499, with an LFP battery and estimated 250-mile range, stepping all the way up to top Ultra versions with 350 miles of range, a 0-60 mph time of 3.6 seconds, and an NMC pack. The many thoughtful features include a pivoting infotainment screen and a California Mode that can roll down rear Doggie Windows and tailgate windows.
Kia Concept EV9
Among LA show concepts, the Hyundai Seven concept points to a family-oriented Ioniq 7 electric SUV that’s due in 2024. Expect its racy and streamlined yet truncated profile to carry through to the production model, but maybe not the pivoting seats. The Kia EV9 concept SUV—previewing a production EV9—took a different design direction, with a super-boxy exterior, with a minimalist interior that’s a showcase for sustainable materials. But it too featured pivoting seats.
Kia earlier in the week unveiled the hybrid version of its redesigned 2023 Sportage compact crossover. With up to 39 mpg, a tow rating of up to 2,000 pounds, and a choice of front- or all-wheel drive, the Sportage Hybrid looks positioned for wide appeal as part of Kia’s plan for more electrified models. And the brand revealed that it plans a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle lineup in 2028; it set retirement years for ICE vehicles; and it got more specific about cutting CO2 with greener materials and renewable energy—as suggested in that EV9 concept.
2022 Porsche Taycan GTS
Porsche unveiled a new, third body style of its Taycan electric-car family. The 2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo combines the silhouette of the rugged, gear-oriented Cross Turismo with the road-focused suspension of the other Taycan models—essentially creating a Taycan sport wagon.
Hyundai’s Genesis luxury brand this week revealed a fully electric version of its GV70 SUV. The model, called the Electrified GV70, might be built in the U.S., but for now Genesis teased a whole lot of tech, including an active suspension and active noise cancellation systems, auxiliary power bank capability, and a smart-regen single-pedal driving mode.
Genesis Electrified GV70
The 2022 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid—a plug-in hybrid—returns for another model year with the same 17-mile plug-in electric range and 35-mpg fuel economy as a hybrid. It could be a good alternative for Solterra shoppers who can’t plug in all the time.
Electric SUVs were the lowest-rated group in the latest reliability ratings from Consumer Reports—yet hybrids and plug-in hybrids earned the top position. CR singled out the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius as among the best, with the Tesla Model Y as “much worse than average” for reliability. The base price of the Tesla Model Y has broken $60,000—which is now more than the original base price of the Model S in 2012. With no Standard Range model in the lineup, it’s $17,000 higher than just earlier this year.
2021 Tesla Model Y
The Swedish battery supplier Northvolt announced that it has made a functioning EV battery using recycled nickel, manganese, and cobalt. The process can be scaled up, potentially providing automakers another way to help add stability to the supply chain.
Ford told something of an origin story about its so-called Mega Power Frunk in the 2022 F-150 Lightning electric pickup. Especially of note: It wasn’t conceived only to fill out the expected big-rig hoodline; the automaker planned it out with actual Ford truck customers, to be everything from a gear vault to a workbench.
Ford F-150 Lightning frunk
And Ford unexpectedly accelerated its EV plans at the end of the week, with CEO Jim Farley announcing a target of 600,000 EVs a year by late 2023—effectively double its previous target. It also confirmed that it has dropped plans to develop EVs with Rivian, even though Ford owns a 12% stake in the highly valued truckmaking EV startup.
Rivian is also reportedly considering a location in Georgia for its second U.S. factory—although negotiations haven’t yet been finalized.
Hyundai Grandeur Heritage Series concept
Hyundai is on a roll with its concepts, and last week it revealed one with a surprise twist—a 1986 Grandeur restomod concept. Specifically, it’s Hyundai’s first attempt at a luxury car, fitted with the brand’s modern Parametric Pixel lighting and infotainment interface. It’s a great mashup of 1980s design and modern connectivity.