Will more ethanol help ease gas prices?
Which brand will apply the name Electra to upcoming EVs?
This is our look back to the future, with the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending June 3, 2022.
Despite the holiday weekend, the week that followed brought a number of new-model and even concept-car introductions.
Toyota announced U.S.-made hybrid versions of its Corolla Cross, which follows a step smaller than the RAV4 in the brand’s SUV lineup but carries a smaller, more Corolla-like footprint. The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid might deliver on price and value, but Toyota’s projected 37 mpg will rate it behind even the RAV4 Hybrid for gas mileage.
2023 Lexus RX
Lexus also revealed the redesigned fifth-generation version of its RX crossover, and with the V-6 gone there are several different ways that the lineup becomes more electrified. The 2023 Lexus RX lineup will get three hybrids: an RX 450h+ plug-in hybrid, an RX 350h hybrid, and an RX 500h F Sport Performance model with Lexus’ Direct4 directly connecting an electric motor at each axle.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQB electric SUV is due at dealerships this summer, at a starting price of $55,550, with Exclusive and Pinnacle trim levels and EQB 300 and EQB 350 power levels. Although it won’t stand out on driving range, it will likely be the only model in its class to offer a third-row seat.
2022 Mercedes-Benz EQB
And the rebooted DeLorean Motor Company revealed its Alpha 5 electric sports car. Although it carries on the name and gullwing layout of the time-traveling DMC-12, it’s a reboot for a new era—with a 0-88 mph time of 4.4 seconds and a range of more than 300 miles.
Buick pulled the virtual wraps off its Wildcat concept, which shows a new and different design direction for the GM brand, ahead of its first EV for North America in 2024. The brand also revealed that the Electra name will be given to a whole series of Buick EVs.
Buick Wildcat EV concept
GM announced a big price cut for the 2023 Chevy Bolt EV and EUV—amounting to $5,900 for the Bolt EV and $6,300 for the EUV. That helps make room for the $30,000 Equinox EV, amid an ongoing battery recall for the Bolt lineup. As of yet, that makes the Bolt EV the lowest-priced U.S.-market EV for 2023.
According to reports citing a large-scale agreement with the battery supplier CATL, BMW reportedly plans to shift to cylindrical cells for its next-generation EV platform due around 2025. The move would mark an about-face on messaging from the company for years, which has painted cylindrical cells as inferior to its choice prismatic format.
Could more ethanol help lower gas prices? The Biden administration apparently thinks so, as it retroactively expanded the blending of ethanol into U.S. pump gasoline. Ethanol interests has claimed that the conversion of a third of all E10 gasoline to E15 could displace the entire contribution of Russian oil—although regulatory and environmental barriers may keep that scenario from being viable.
Tesla Model 3 equipped with WiTricity wireless charging system
EV shoppers or owners want wireless charging as an option, claims the wireless charging firm WiTricity, citing a survey commissioned by the company. Although it didn’t mention the price point for the hardware, it found interest in the feature to top self-driving features or premium audio.
Toyota revealed a home-energy storage system that’s only for Japan for now but similar in concept to Tesla’s Powerwall. On one hand its storage capacity is just 8.7 kwh; on the other hand it has a component set that can potentially draw AC power from hybrids, PHEVs, or EVs, serve as emergency backup, and manage power from home solar.
Rivian Waypoints chargers at Holland State Park, MI - Photo by Diane Dawson Wilks, c/o Michigan DNR
A Lake Michigan EV touring route is taking form. Charging will be free on the “open-network” Rivian Waypoints hardware at the first site in Holland, Michigan, as well as many others to come.
Volkswagen rolled out two Star Wars–themed ID.Buzz electric vans, as part of a debut of the “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series on Disney+. Like the series, the ID.Buzz is arriving later than originally intended.
The interface in a flagship Volvo EV to be revealed later this year will be the first one from a European automaker to debut Epic Games’ Unreal Engine for sharp, next-generation graphics.
And is the auto industry due for a major consolidation around EVs, and a price war? Ford CEO Jim Farley earlier this week explained how the company will need to change its ways, from simplified vehicles to direct-to-consumer sales.