Vinfast Preview Drive, Subaru Solterra Awards, Nissan Solid State Technology, Electric Chevy Corvette: The Week in Reverse
Which company is rethinking the minivan as an electric vehicle?
Which highly anticipated electric pickup went into production this week?
This is our recap of Week In Reverse – right here at Green Car Reports – for the week ending April 29, 2022.
Previewing the 2023 Vinfast VF 8, the first of two electric crossovers from the Vietnamese brand rumored to be destined for the US market before the end of 2022, we realized there was still work to be done to meet the aggressive schedule.
Vinfast VF8 prototype
GM announced that it plans to add a heat pump to each of its Ultium electric vehicles – starting, of course, with the GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq, and to include future mass-market models like the Chevrolet Trailblazer EV and Chevy Blazer EV. The company says the technology will offer meaningful increases in range, faster charging and faster real-world acceleration.
GM also confirmed a project that has long been rumoured: an all-electric Chevrolet Corvette sports car. The Corvette EV will be preceded by a hybrid Corvette as early as next year.
Nissan Surf Out Concept
Nissan once jointly developed the battery cells for the pioneering electric car Leaf; Now it’s following a similar philosophy for solid-state cells rumored to be slated for a production EV in 2028. According to Nissan, they are potentially “a game changer for the democratization of electric vehicles,” with the potential to double energy density, weight, charge in a third of the time and cost of $75/kWh – all of which would exceed the calculations for larger electric pickups and Change SUVs in particular.
Ford this week confirmed the start of production for the 2022 F-150 Lightning electric pickup — though oddly enough, it’s not currently taking orders for the truck. Ford said it will ramp up production of the Lightning to 150,000 units annually by 2023, and CEO Jim Farley separately confirmed that the Tennessee-built mass-market electric truck, set to go into production in 2024, will not be a successor to the Lightning , but will come to that.
Subaru Solterra prototype
The Subaru Solterra EV starts at a higher price than its Toyota BZ4X cousin, Subaru confirmed with full information released earlier in the week. Compared to the BZ4X, the Solterra is only offered with all-wheel drive; but it’s offered in all 50 states, and buyers can claim the full $7,500 EV tax credit without worrying about an imminent phase-out.
The 2023 Polestar 2 range could get a longer range – including a longer real-world range through an improved heat pump – as well as an improved cabin filter, a removable sun visor and a new set of colors and wheel designs. And buyers 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 purchase up to 100,000 Lucid electric vehicles over a 10-year period, with deliveries to begin from the second quarter of 2023. The vehicles will initially come from Lucid’s plant in Arizona, but could later potentially be sourced directly from the forthcoming facility in Saudi Arabia.
In China, battery giant CATL has launched its own battery swapping service called Evogo. Focused on apartment dwellers who don’t have a charging station at home, the service uses a proprietary modular system and aims to offer speeds comparable to (or competing) DC fast charging.
What could the electric age bring for Chrysler? Well, for starters, it’s definitely about rethinking the Chrysler minivan as an electric vehicle — perhaps with a new take on flexible Stow ‘N Go seats.
Volta Zero 7.5 ton electric truck
The new range of electric commercial vehicles presented by Volta Trucks of Sweden weighs around 16,500 to 35,000 pounds and was not designed for internal combustion engines at all. Perhaps most notably, the design offers a completely different vantage point that places the driver at street level.
Could incentives for new electric vehicles make a bigger difference if they aim to induce gasoline “superusers” to switch to electric vehicles – especially those on low incomes? That’s what California is considering.
On Thursday, a coalition of states and environmental groups filed lawsuits against the US Postal Service, alleging that proper environmental and cost analyzes were not conducted before signing contracts for a new generation of delivery vehicles –– and only 10% of them were fully electric. In addition, the new gasoline-powered replacement trucks are expected to be less fuel-efficient than their 1990-era predecessors.
VW boss Herbert Diess and BP boss Bernard Looney with flexpole charger
A project between Volkswagen and oil giant BP will create up to 8,000 new charging points across Europe by 2024 – with a focus on city charging and a “flexpole” design that doesn’t require high-voltage hardware to enable DC fast charging.
The first-generation Kia Niro EV goes further – as a zero-emission taxi special in its South Korean home market, Kia confirmed this week. According to Kia, it’s the first in a new line of “purpose-driven” electric vehicles. And to do justice to the purpose, the popular electric vehicle has been slimmed down on the seats and door panels, among other things.
Chevy Silverado EV – Sopranos Super Bowl Ad, 2022
And has the big-game ad spend from GM, BMW, Kia, and others led to a surge in Tesla Super Bowl orders this year? It seems so, and Tesla has boasted about the boost it’s been getting.