Chevy Silverado EV tech, Model 3 off-road, Rivian Texas, electrified trailer, EV highway: The Week in Reverse

Which electric vehicle maker is focusing in on Texas for a second factory?

Which EVs are union made and made in the USA?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending August 13, 2021.

With resistance to the inclusion of EVs incentives and green energy in a federal infrastructure bill, and proposed rules for fuel economy and emissions, there were unusually many EV-related pieces of federal government news worth covering this week. 

So-called “blue” hydrogen production hubs using coal, like those proposed earlier this month in the Senate infrastructure bill, could potentially result in more pollution, according to a study, than if they were used for combustion. The Senate this week also voted to place price and household-income caps on the federal EV tax credit. Although this is a non-binding measure, it could have an influence on the expanded EV tax credit taking form on Capitol Hill as part of this summer’s large legislative packages. 

UAW-made sticker on 2022 Chevy Bolt EV

UAW-made sticker on 2022 Chevy Bolt EV

Tesla was left out of last week’s EV announcements with President Biden, and the answer soon became clear that it relates to Tesla’s union resistance. So, we asked: Which EVs are union-made and U.S.-made? That list, it turns out, is very, very short. Amid those White House announcements, Nissan disclosed an “intention” to make battery electric models more than 40% of its U.S. sales by 2030. And in “key markets,” every all-new Nissan vehicle will be electrified by the early 2030s. 

At the start of the week, we took a deeper dive into the Biden administration’s announcement early this month, of new fuel economy and emissions rules, and found that they only expect to get to 8% EVs and plug-in hybrids by 2026—leaving the goal of 50% EVs by 2030 to sound like more of a long shot. 

2022 Polestar 2

2022 Polestar 2

There were a few pieces of model news on fresh, revamped, or carryover models for 2022. The 2022 Polestar 2 will start at $47,200, with a single-motor model offering an EPA range of 265 miles, plus the introduction of a repositioned Dual Motor model priced much more closely to the Tesla Model 3. The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid has a price, and if you consider the federal EV tax credit it comes in lower than that of the Santa Fe Hybrid. And the smallest U.S.-market Lexus, the 39-mpg UX 250h hybrid, carries over for the 2022 model year, with no plans to offer the all-electric UX 300e that Europe gets. 

Audi Sky Sphere concept

Audi Sky Sphere concept

In hints of the future, Audi revealed a grand-touring EV concept that harks back to 1930s Art Deco influences and German cars of the era but contains hints of a more flexible future enabled by autonomous-driving modes. GM confirmed that the fully electric version of the Chevy Silverado due as soon as late 2023 will offer four-wheel steering. So far the emphasis appears to be maneuverability, versus the related GMC Hummer EV’s Crab Mode cleverness. And with the Mini Strip concept, the brand looks at how it could potentially make urban electric cars a lot simpler—and more sustainable.

It was the week for off-road builds of stock electric vehicles, it seemed. All within a day, Kia showed a Soul EV Boardmasters Edition, with chunky tires good for sand and space for surfboards. And Rich Rebuilds’ off-road Tesla Model 3 project made its debut—essentially as a cheerleader for how tough modern EVs truly are. 

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The three fastest-selling used vehicles in the U.S. in July were all electric cars. What’s more, the average transaction price of these late-model used models was shockingly close to original sticker prices. 

Rivian is reportedly targeting Texas for its second electric truck factory, with Fort Worth emerging at the top of the list. Elon Musk thinks that they should ramp up production at one factory before adding another.  

Rivian R1T pre-production

Rivian R1T pre-production

Would a fully electric compact pickup make sense for Nissan? The automaker is reportedly considering it. 

Fine particulate-matter pollution from tailpipes and combustion could affect more than cardiovascular and lung-related issues; a study from Washington State showed an association between this type of pollution and higher rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

AeroVironment DC fast charger, part of West Coast Electric Highway - Centralia, WA

AeroVironment DC fast charger, part of West Coast Electric Highway - Centralia, WA

After 10 years, the West Coast Electric Highway is ready for an upgrade. We looked at how the 47 upgraded or new stations—including 11 “super stations” upgraded to 150 kw—will make these great supplements to the big charging networks that have come since its original creation. 

Dethleffs E.Home Caravan electric camping trailer prototype

Dethleffs E.Home Caravan electric camping trailer prototype

And last weekend, we covered some news that might add hope to those who presently dismiss an EV because they have to tow longer distances a few times a year. With the help of the auto tech supplier ZF, the German travel-trailer and motorhome maker Dethleffs has created an electrified trailer that can help propel itself and potentially add driving range.

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