VW electric van, 50mpg shortlist, Rivian LFP cells, GM and Ford bi-directional charging: The week in reverse
Which automaker is testing high-power wireless charging?
And what was the surprising result of research evaluating the safety of solid-state cells?
This is our recap of Week In Reverse – right here at Green car reports– for the week ending March 11, 2022.
Rivian has announced that the upcoming standard battery pack with a range of more than 260 miles will contain cheaper LFP cells. The EV maker also confirmed an 800V upgrade, heat pump technology and proprietary cells. And as part of a quarterly business update, it halved its 2022 production estimate to 25,000 trucks.
2022 Rivian R1T
Volkswagen unveiled its electric microbus ID.Buzz – in a five-seater form according to Euro specification. A US version with three rows of seats will not be shown until 2023 and will not be delivered until 2024. However, many styling details and proportions are set, so it’s time to ask if this long-awaited model will live up to the hype.
Volvo plans to test Momentum Dynamics’ powerful wireless charging technology on XC40 Recharge electric SUVs, which will be used as taxis in Sweden. A “live city environment” provides a real-life check of this technology, which offers a rate close to that of fast charging with a cable and plug. And it gives its XC40 Recharge electric SUV a smoothing that makes its appearance more closely match the C40 Recharge. At the moment it’s only for Europe, but expect these changes soon, as well as some other feature changes for the US models.
Updated Volvo XC40 Recharge
GM sees bi-directional charging as an important part of future electric vehicles. To that end, the company announced a pilot program collaboration with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) that would help bring home electric vehicle battery packs to home use this year for backup home energy — and potentially grid stabilization. Separately, Ford and PG&E have entered into a partnership that will explore the F-150 Lightning’s potential role in increasing power grid resilience. The Lightning is already ready for this in production form. It’s available this spring with smart home power backup – so grid functionality could be a future consideration.
Ford Intelligent Backup Power – F-150 Lightning
Following Ford’s announcement last month that it would split its EV and non-EV businesses, some have speculated that the decision could result in a direct-sales model for EVs. That’s not the case, said CEO Jim Farley in an interview Automotive News– although the model is evolving and it could likely mean non-negotiable prices for Ford EVs plus less dealer inventory.
Part of the excitement about solid state battery technology is that it’s safer; however, new DOE-funded research suggests this is not always the case. A battery short circuit from a collision could still cause solid-state cells to overheat, with results not entirely dissimilar to traditional lithium-ion cells, researchers found.
Ethanol producers have allied with a group of states to argue that the EPA is exceeding its powers with vehicle emissions standards for 2023-2026 because they claim it can’t effectively force automakers to produce electric cars.
Amid a surge in nickel and lithium prices, analysts see rising raw material costs leading to a rise in electric vehicle prices – with battery affordability gains potentially on hold until 2024. More broadly, this would have a lasting impact on the affordability of electric vehicles themselves.
Although law enforcement agencies across the country are exploring ways to electrify their fleets, options are few. A recent report highlights that while EVs do the job well, the market lacks operational EVs that are police ready and equipped.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Police Pilot Vehicle
The EPA on Monday proposed stricter emissions standards for commercial vehicles, to take effect in the 2027 model year. Though the new regulations would drastically cut smog-forming emissions, environmental groups said they don’t go far enough to push electrification at a faster pace.
Several recent, ill-informed articles have suggested that the more electric vehicles there are in the fleet, the dirtier the electricity mix must be. But it’s quite the opposite, suggests RMI. More electric vehicles likely mean less pollution from utilities — because relatively simple technologies like smart charging and usage-based tariffs will help smooth charging and help utilities make the most of renewable energy.
2022 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
And with the crisis overseas, concerns over the price of petrol are looming in the coming weeks and months for those unable to switch to a plug-in vehicle. That prompted us to update our annual roundup of affordable 50+mpg cars for 2022.
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