Which American automaker celebrated a German factory this week?
And have gas prices prompted Americans to drive less?
This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending March 25, 2022.
This week we got a preview drive of the 2023 Nissan Ariya electric crossover and found that it essentially reboots the brand’s EVs moving forward, with a distinctive look, tidy handling, and roomy, quiet cabin. It’s promising to be a standout both for its $40,000 base price and top-tech dual-motor e-4orce all-wheel-drive versions. We also revisited the clever e-4orce system, bound for the Ariya later in the year, and how it plans to do more with two motors than just improve traction and stability. Your passengers will thank you.
2023 Nissan Ariya - preview drive (Euro spec)
This week, we also got up close with the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX concept, which previews a generation of lighter, more efficient compact and mid-size electric vehicles—possibly with air-cooled battery packs—from the German luxury automaker. And we brought you some first ride-along impressions of the Mercedes-Benz EQE 350+ electric sedan, which will likely beat the Porsche Taycan and Audi E-Tron GT in range.
Yes, the GMC Hummer EV is mammoth, massive, and inefficient versus other electric vehicles. But, considering carbon footprint, lifetime greenhouse gas emissions, and other priorities, we argued that despite all the excess, the Hummer EV is a vehicle we should be welcoming.
2022 Polestar 2 single motor
The Polestar 2, which could be seen as a hatchback alternative to the Tesla Model 3, now undercuts the base Model 3 on base price while offering a similar driving range.
Ford has confirmed that the F-150 Lightning will be EPA-rated at 320 miles of range in XLT, Lariat, and fleet-focused Pro versions—better than the “up to 300 miles” it previously indicated for the 131-kwh extended-range battery pack.
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Pro
Earlier this week Tesla delivered its first cars from its new factory in Germany, nicknamed Giga Berlin. With CEO Elon Musk’s handoff of the first 30 Tesla Model Y Performance crossovers made for customers, it signals a different era for Tesla in Europe—and a potentially lucrative future for the brand given the potential for revenue from EU regulatory credits.
Lucid confirmed that Nvidia will supply the software architecture for its DreamDrive Pro driver-assistance system, which is the answer to Tesla’s Autopilot, GM’s Super Cruise, and Ford’s BlueCruise. It’s standard on the Lucid Air Dream Edition and Grand Touring and optional on other Air models.
Volkswagen Park Assist Plus
Volkswagen announced a major software update bound for the ID.4 and other EVs from the brand, affecting charging, driver-assist tech, and various vehicle functions. The ID Software 3.0 update will be installed in new vehicles immediately and made available through an over-the-air update to existing vehicles soon.
Maserati plans to offer fully electric versions of all its models by 2035, as it transitions to an all-EV brand by 2030, it confirmed as part of a business update. Maserati also revealed that its EVs will be called Folgore, with GranTurismo Folgore coupe and convertible versions due in 2023.
Maserati Grecale Folgore
In the shift to electric vehicles, aerodynamics are more important than ever. To that, Honda has announced the opening of a $124 million wind-tunnel facility in Ohio specializing in aerodynamics and aeroacoustics—with the hope to improve efficiency and reduce wind noise in upcoming EVs.
Coal was back in 2021, unfortunately. An International Energy Agency report found that global CO2 emissions from power generation rose last year by 6%—with coal the culprit, at 40% of the increase.
Electrify America upscale charging concepts
Electrify America has offered up a more upscale design vision of its future charging stations versus today’s common interface point of Walmart parking lots. It plans to preview ideas including solar canopies, customer lounges, and valet charging soon in “flagship” sites in California and New York.
EV upstarts Tesla and Lucid have designed and built their own core propulsion components, while Rivian’s outsourcing of motors reflects a different approach among EV-only automakers.
2022 Rivian R1T
According to a recent analysis by the EV advocacy trade group ZETA, gasoline vehicles cost up to six times more to fill up versus what it costs to charge EVs, on a per-mile basis. It’s also a reminder of the stable, predictable running costs EV owners face, versus the volatility of pump prices.
And as gas prices have surged past $4 a gallon on a national average—with prices passing $6 in California—Americans are driving less. That’s something that doesn’t typically hold true as prices spike; have we reached a new tipping point for changing driving behavior?