Which automaker announced it will include “mega casting” in future EVs?
Which one had to put its “boombox” on mute?
This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending February 11, 2022.
Details were released this week for two upcoming plug-in hybrids. The 2023 Kia Sportage Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t quite keep up with the Toyota RAV4 Prime or Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid with its 32 miles of range, but it promises a sportier look and driving experience. And Alfa Romeo introduced its first hybrid of any kind. The 2023 Tonale plug-in hybrid will go 30 miles all-electric, and the motor drives the rear wheels—hopefully yielding a more engaging personality to go with the racy look.
2023 Kia Sportage PHEV
Ford CEO Jim Farley recently said that the company is planning to “reengineer” its Mustang Mach-E incrementally, much like Tesla and its Model Y, to more quickly tap into product improvements and cost savings—and then bring that knowledge back to other EVs. According to a separate, unconfirmed report, Ford is also broadening its plans for Lincoln-brand electric vehicles, to include the potential replacements (or supplements) for the Lincoln Corsair, Nautilus, Aviator, and Navigator.
Teaser for electric Ram 1500 due in 2024
Stellantis’ Ram truck brand revealed teaser images of the fully electric Ram 1500 pickup due in 2024, with the futuristic, aero-sided design it’s shown before—incorporating hints of the Chevy Silverado EV’s “midgate” layout. But it made clear it doesn’t want the new truck to alienate its buyers.
Volvo announced plans for a joint-venture battery plant with Northvolt, near the Swedish automaker’s headquarters and flagship factory.The facility might make cells for up to 500,000 EVs annually, and Tesla’s former Giga Berlin executive is leading the effort. Volvo also announced that a revamp for its largest assembly plant, in Sweden, will include a “mega casting” method for making electric vehicles—boosting efficiency and sustainability—that sounds a lot like Tesla’s approach that it’s phasing in for Model Y.
Tesla Model S Plaid thermal and heat pump
Two Tesla recalls were confirmed this week by the NHTSA. An issue with heat-pump operation and foggy windows affecting 26,681 vehicles was already rolled into an over-the-air update, as was an issue in which Tesla’s “Boombox” feature drowned out the federally mandated pedestrian alert sounds, potentially in more than a half a million vehicles. The question remains: If these aren’t recalls in the traditional sense, how should they be tracked?
Faraday Future continues to not only survive but plan models beyond the FF 91 luxury crossover that it still hasn’t delivered. This week it announced that its “luxury mass-market electric vehicle,” the FF 81 will reach “high volume production” in 2024 at a South Korean plant formerly owned by GM, and last known as the likely assembly point for U.S.-bound Byton M-Byte SUVs.
Faraday Future FF 91
Global EV sales in 2021 doubled versus 2020 and tripled versus 2019, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), with global sales of plug-in vehicles at about 9% in 2021. And the “blue” states that voted for President Biden in 2020 carried 76% of U.S. EV sales in 2021, according to a Bloomberg report citing state state registration data. Will these dynamics change with the arrival of more electric trucks?
According to a report, Nissan might become the first of the major Japanese automakers to announce the end of internal combustion engine development—albeit with a few exceptions for pickups and e-Power hybrids. We took a look at how this might fit in with the company’s recently announced Nissan Ambition 2030 plan and the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance.
Airstream eStream electric camping trailer
Airstream revealed more about its eStream electric travel trailer concept that could boost EV range or mpg for the tow vehicle, add stability and traction, and even park itself into a camping or charging space. Although a concept for now, a production version could upgrade the whole RV experience.
The right-to-repair movement recently got its biggest boost in years—in the form of a bill introduced by Representative Bobby Rush that would give vehicle owners and independent shops equal access to tools and data—affecting not just the vehicles but remote services and details like battery life.
Selma Hayek as Hera, presenting BMW iX to Zeus - 2022 Super Bowl ad
And this could be the biggest Super Bowl Sunday ever for EV-related ads. With Arnold Schwarzenegger, Selma Hayek, Mike Myers, Seth Green, Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, and others already confirmed in previews or pre-released commercials, it’s going to be a star-studded one.