Karma GS-6 review, Aptera performance, EQS reveal, MX-30, hybrids before Prius: The Week in Reverse
Which automaker has a Canadian compliance car with just 94 miles of range?
Which plug-in hybrid isn’t staying on dealer lots because demand remains so strong?
This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending April 16, 2021.
Mercedes-Benz finally did the full reveal of its 2022 EQS electric flagship. The EQS is shaping up to be the most range-efficient EV currently in the U.S. market, if you don’t count Tesla or the Hyundai Ioniq Electric. From the unremarkable efficiency of the EQC electric crossover, we looked at how it got there.
2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS
Excitement continues to build around Aptera, which claims 1,000 miles on a charge and the potential to “never charge,” using only its built-in solar cells for daily-driving range. And this past week it teased that this lightweight three-wheeler will offer sports-car performance, too.
In a first drive of the 2021 Karma GS-6, we found that this model with lineage back to the original Fisker Karma delivers on head-turning style and electric range, but not gas mileage.
2021 Karma GS-6
There was a lot of news this week in the EV battery sector. General Motors and LG Energy Solution confirmed plans for a $2.3 billion battery plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. The facility will supply cells for the Cadillac Lyriq plus other upcoming EVs, as part of the automaker’s Ultium propulsion strategy, in a plan announced just days after a settlement between LG and South Korean rival SK Innovation secured a production future for SKI’s Georgia plant set to supply the F-150 Electric.
Meanwhile, the battery supplier Panasonic sees larger electric vehicle battery cells as the key to more affordable EVs, but it’s sounding skeptical about Tesla’s proposed format change to the 4680 format, citing concerns about mass production and overheating. And Rivian confirmed that it’s using South Korea’s Samsung SDI as the supplier of 2170-format cylindrical cells for its upcoming electric trucks.
Rivian cooling plate between battery layers [from video]
Rivian is also offering an insurance program for its R1T and R1S electric trucks—one that will include discounts for how often drivers use the vehicles’ driver-safety aids. With 40 states already in the plan, it’s looking a lot more widely available than Tesla’s California-only program.
Mazda has confirmed the arrival of its MX-30 EV in the U.S.—later this year, to California, then next year with a rotary-engine range extender.
2022 Mazda MX-30
Two new Polestar 2 models will offer more range at a lower price—more than 260 miles in a new single-motor front-wheel-drive model, with an available heat pump.
The Volkswagen ID.4 is being given a somewhat higher EPA rating—of 260 miles—in its more affordable ID.4 Pro rear-wheel-drive version. It’s the range leader of the lineup.
Recent sales data through March shows that the Toyota RAV4 Prime is still flying off dealer lots. The recent arrival of the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4 don’t seem to have slowed its surge.
2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime
Policy changes are ratcheting up and rolling out almost weekly, and they promise to make the future electric, quicker. Washington State has passed a bill—through the normal legislative process—to ban internal-combustion vehicles by 2030. Yes, that’s five years before California. And the EU is starting to question the role of plug-in hybrids in Europe’s plans to go electric—and it’s already sunseting automakers’ ability to call them “sustainable investments.”
While we usually point to what comes from tailpipes—or maybe manufacturing or power generation—as pollution from vehicles, a report this week drew attention to the great amount of microplastic waste from tires.
Michelin Pilot Sport EV tire for electric cars
Yamaha Motor Company has diversified yet again, with a new push of components for electric cars—including a 350-kw motor-inverter combo that could be a building block for high-performance EVs.
Tesla has been making a sub-CA$45,000 compliance car for Canada for a couple of years as a workaround to be eligible for the country’s national EV incentive. But for reasons not apparent, Tesla recently pushed this model out in the open in its configurator.
Last weekend we followed Jay Leno’s Garage in seeing what a hybrid car looked like 80 years before the Toyota Prius.
Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 - Hyundai E-Pit fast-charging
And we have to ask: Which would you choose: the Hyundai Ioniq 5 or the Kia EV6? These models are both built on the same global modular platforms for EVs, with the same 800V DC fast charging and bi-directional capability, but they do it with different performance specs and dramatically different designs.
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