Which company is rethinking the minivan as an EV?
Which eagerly anticipated electric pickup went into production this week?
This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending April 29. 2022.
In a preview drive of the 2023 Vinfast VF 8, the first of two electric crossovers from the Vietnamese brand supposedly bound for the U.S. market before the end of 2022, we found a lot of work yet to be done to meet the aggressive timeline.
Vinfast VF8 Prototype
GM announced that it’s planning to put a heat pump into every one of its Ultium EVs—starting with the GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq, of course, and to include future mass-market models like the Chevrolet Trailblazer EV and Chevy Blazer EV. The company says the tech will provide a meaningful real-world boost to range, faster charging, and quicker acceleration.
GM also confirmed a project that’s been long rumored: a fully electric Chevrolet Corvette sports car. The Corvette EV will be preceded by a hybrid Corvette due as soon as next year.
Nissan Surf-Out concept
Nissan once jointly developed the battery cells for the pioneering Leaf electric car; now it’s following a similar philosophy for all-solid-state cells that it says are intended for a production EV in 2028. They’re potentially “a game changer for EV democratization,” according to Nissan, with the potential to double energy density by weight, charge in a third the time, and cost $75/kwh—all of which would change the calculations for larger electric pickups and SUVs especially.
Ford this week confirmed the start of production for the 2022 F-150 Lightning electric pickup—although in an odd twist, orders aren’t currently being taken for the truck. Ford said that it will expand production of the Lightning to 150,000 units annually in 2023, and CEO Jim Farley separately confirmed that the Tennessee-built mass-market electric truck due to be made starting in 2024 won’t be a successor to the Lightning but will be in addition to it.
Subaru Solterra prototype
The Subaru Solterra EV starts at a higher price than its Toyota BZ4X cousin, confirmed Subaru with full info released earlier in the week. Versus the BZ4X, the Solterra will only be offered in all-wheel-drive form; but it will be offered in all 50 states, and buyers will be able to claim the full $7,500 EV tax credit without worrying about a pending phaseout.
The 2023 Polestar 2 lineup might get more driving range—including more real-world range from an improved heat pump—plus an upgraded cabin filter, a removable sunshade, and a fresh set of colors and wheel designs. And buyers will get a car with an even lower carbon footprint than before, the company boasts.
2023 Polestar 2
The Saudi Arabian government confirmed that it will buy up to 100,000 Lucid EVs over a 10-year period, with deliveries starting by the second quarter of 2023. Vehicles will initially come from Lucid’s Arizona factory but would potentially later be sourced directly from its upcoming facility in Saudi Arabia.
In China, the battery giant CATL has launched its own battery-swapping service, called Evogo. Focused toward apartment-dwellers who don’t have home charging, the service uses a proprietary modular system and aims to offer speeds comparing to (or rivaling) DC fast charging.
What might the electric era bring for Chrysler? Well, for starters, it’s definitely rethinking the Chrysler minivan as an EV—perhaps with a new interpretation of flexible Stow ‘N Go seating.
Volta Zero 7.5-tonne electric truck
The new series of electric commercial trucks revealed by Volta Trucks of Sweden scales from about 16,500 to 35,000 pounds and wasn’t designed for internal combustion at all. Perhaps most notably, the design affords a completely different vantage point that puts the driver down at street level.
Could new-EV incentives make a bigger difference if they were aimed at getting gasoline “superusers” to go electric—especially low-income ones? That’s what California is considering.
On Thursday, a coalition of states and environmental groups filed lawsuits against the U.S. Postal Service, alleging that proper environmental and cost analyses weren’t actually done before a contract was signed for a new generation of delivery vehicles—and just 10% of them fully electric. What’s more, the gasoline-powered replacement trucks are anticipated to be less fuel-efficient than their 1990-era predecessors when new.
VW CEO Herbert Diess and BP CEO Bernard Looney with Flexpole charger
A project between Volkswagen and the oil giant BP will bring up to 8,000 new charge points across Europe by 2024—focused on urban charging and including a “Flexpole” design that doesn’t require high-voltage hardware to provide DC fast-charging.
The first-generation Kia Niro EV is continuing on—as a zero-emission taxi special in its home South Korean market, Kia confirmed this week. It’s the first of a new series of “purpose-built” EVs, according to Kia. And to help fit the purpose, the much-loved EV has been slimmed down in its seats and door trims, among other packaging changes.
Chevy Silverado EV - Sopranos Super Bowl ad, 2022
And did Big Game ad spending from GM, BMW, Kia, and others this year lead to a Super Bowl spike in Tesla orders? It appears so, and Tesla has boasted about the boost it got.