Which EV is the lowest-rated by the EPA in efficiency?
Which state is revamping its EV incentives toward low-income drivers?
This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending August 25, 2023.
A series of tech and styling improvements due in the 2024 Mercedes-Benz EQB EV will help make this compact yet boxy and spacious SUV—seating up to seven—even more distinctive in the market. Plug & Charge compatibility, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a new infotainment system are among the upgrades.
The Kia EV5 was officially revealed in China, but it appears to be a sweet spot in the vehicle market that would translate well across continents. The compact electric SUV borrows design cues from the larger EV9 but appears to measure up as a direct rival to gasoline best-sellers like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4—as well as electric models like the VW ID.4 and Nissan Ariya.
Volvo teased its first electric minivan, the EM90, as being “like a Scandinavian living room on the move.” Although the model won’t be revealed until November, and it’s set for China at least initially, the Zeekr 009 that sets the template for it suggests a product that might be the kind of long-awaited reinvention of the minivan Americans would pay attention to.
Teaser for 2024 Volvo EM90
Nissan has reportedly previewed a new “offensive” of electric vehicles due to arrive around 2025, including a next-generation Leaf and a boxy counterpoint to the Ariya, in addition to the electric Maxima replacement already due to be made in Mississippi. Nissan also again reportedly delayed its e-Power hybrid system a decade in the making—to a version of the Rogue not arriving until late 2026.
The EPA this week confirmed official efficiency and range figures for some versions of the GMC Hummer EV, and at as little as 50 MPGe combined for some versions, they have the lowest rating of any EV currently on sale. Put into context, that’s still much better in an emissions sense over the long run versus a 50-mpg gasoline car.
Vinfast VF 9
Vietnam’s Vinfast also revealed some EV range news: Its three-row VF 9 electric SUV, set to be made in the U.S., hits an EPA-cycle 330 miles of range. That’s higher than some other upcoming three-row models like the Kia EV9, although the VF 9’s starting price of $83,000 will limit its appeal next to established premium brands.
Honda and Acura in the U.S. have confirmed plans to adopt the Tesla North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector. The brands haven’t yet put out an official statement or timeline for the shift, because much regarding its next several EVs depends on GM.
2024 Acura ZDX
In its latest round of looking at the first 90 days of vehicle ownership, survey giant J.D. Power found that EV owners experience more quality issues, versus owners of gasoline models. That’s not because of the propulsion system but because of all the additional tech typically packed into EVs—although EVs from Polestar and Genesis are top-showing exceptions.
According to a study looking into data from the collision repair industry, crash repair remains more expensive for EVs than for gasoline models. Take Tesla out of the calculation and the number improved, but those expensive battery packs likely continue to skew the picture.
2022 Rivian R1T IIHS crash testing
California has announced that it will phase out its existing EV incentive program and instead, under Clean Cars 4 All, introduce one that incentivizes low-income drivers replacing older, higher-polluting vehicles.
Researchers have shown an AI model to be useful in making the most of solar cells that are put to use by an electric motor—potentially boosting the range of a solar EV. Although purely at the research stage, it might help prove the economics around solar-supplemented EVs more viable.
Sono Sion production model
A recent Ford patent filing suggests that the company is considering a bidirectional EV charging adapter that could help make sense of multiple connected vehicles in fleets—letting them charge off one charging station, for instance, or discharging power during peak-price energy times. Since it’s only a patent, it’s just one possibility in the toolbox that Ford’s Pro fleet services might utilize at some point in the future.
As the UAW hints that this round of contract negotiations won’t go as easily for automakers as in the recent past, and Trump talking points claim that Biden administration EV policy will “decimate” auto industry jobs, the low-paying EV battery plants supported with federal money are becoming an election flashpoint. Late in the week, that controversy was remedied with a 25% pay hike for employees at the GM-LG Ultium Cells plant in Ohio.
MINI Cooper SE Convertible (Euro spec)
And why can’t you find convertible EVs or electric sports cars in the U.S.? Green Car Reports looked at a few of the reasons why you won’t find a single fully electric drop-top passenger vehicle on the market—and few if any hybrids of any kind offering up an open-air experience. It comes down mostly to the battery, and all the puzzles it introduces.