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VW ID.Buzz review, $30,000 Equinox EV details, future Jeep EVs, dirty diesel tuners: The Week in Reverse

Which automaker announced a big shift to cylindrical cells and a battery strategy sounding like that of Tesla?

Which boxy production-bound Jeep EV is in “brotherhood” with the Wrangler?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending September 9, 2022. And my, it’s been a busy week. 

In a drive review of the Volkswagen ID.Buzz electric van, we found this reboot of the Microbus to be charming, comfortable, and efficient—and perhaps more importantly, a great counterpoint to crossovers. When it arrives in two years in long-wheelbase, three-row U.S. form, it will make a great family wagon. 

2023 Lexus RX 450+ plug-in hybrid (Euro-spec)

And in a brief drive review of the 2023 Lexus RX 450h+ plug-in hybrid, we saw this version of the bestselling luxury crossover falling a bit short on mileage and acceleration compared to the smaller NX 450h+ and Toyota RAV4 Prime. It’s going to be a tougher calculation. 

Chevrolet revealed more details about the 2024 Chevy Equinox EV, including a confirmation that this electric crossover due in fall 2023 is geared for the mass market and will deliver on the $30,000 base price. That, for a 250-mile range with front-wheel drive, doesn’t include incentives like the EV tax credit, and the GM brand claims the base version will arrive within the first year.

Jeep Recon

Jeep Recon

Stellantis introduced three production-bound Jeep EVs, all due by 2025, including an Avenger compact SUV for Europe, a Wagoneer S luxury SUV, and a rugged Recon that shares a “brotherhood” with the Wrangler.

BMW made its reported change of course in batteries official this morning, as it announced a shift to cylindrical cells in future EVs, with promises of 30% more range, faster charging, and cell-to-pack technology in vehicles that are set to start arriving in 2025. A solid-state demonstrator, LFP cells, and U.S. battery production are also part of the plan, which aims to halve the cost of batteries.

Bollinger B1 production intent

Bollinger B1 production intent

Mullen Automotive took a majority stake in Michigan’s Bollinger Motors on Thursday, and as a press release and executive comments suggested, that’s a positive step toward reviving plans for the Bollinger B1 electric SUV and B2 electric pickup

Netherlands-based Lightyear announced another round of investment that it says will spur development of the “high-volume” Lightyear 2 solar EV and help fuel a planned international expansion—although with no U.S. plans quite yet.

2021 Lucid Air

2021 Lucid Air

Lucid Motors might be preparing to build its most affordable version of the Air luxury sedan for delivery soon—perhaps because it more easily navigates supply-chain issues. The Lucid Air Pure is shaping up to go farther than the longest-range Tesla Model S, with a smaller battery pack and for a lower price.

Rivian and Mercedes announced plans to partner on electric van production in Europe, with hopes to share some of the manufacturing costs. The facility would make “bespoke large electric vans” for both brands, each with its own design and separate platform. 

Pickup truck

Pickup truck

The EPA announced that it’s cracking down on diesel-tuning sellers offering aftermarket diesel “defeat device” solutions circumventing original emissions devices. Often sold as “delete tunes” or “delete kits,” they claim to make engines run better or more efficiently but produce dramatically higher levels of health-choking NOx and particulate pollution. 

The battery-tech firm StoreDot has started shipping its very fast-charging EV batteries to automakers for real-world testing, it reported this week. From here, automakers that have invested in StoreDot might help with another push toward the firm’s intent to mass produce them by 2024. It’s still claiming a charge rate of 100 miles in five minutes. 

A new startup called Harbinger is claiming to erase the up-front cost premium of electric commercial trucks versus internal combustion ones. With a modular battery pack, “eAxle,” and steer-by-wire and brake-by-wire systems, plus 800-volt DC fast-charging in just an hour, these models are aiming for a sweet spot on technology vs. cost. 

Buick Wildcat EV concept

Buick Wildcat EV concept

GM’s Buick brand will start offering buyouts to its roughly 2,000 U.S. dealers, as an alternative to required upgrades like chargers and training as the brand starts its transition to a fully electric lineup. Though GM saw about a third of Cadillac dealers drop out ahead of the Lyriq’s arrival, many of Buick’s dealers are already paired with GMC and its Hummer EV hype. 

The electric vehicles that many families are shifting too are often hundreds of pounds heavier than those they replace. With American traffic deaths at a 16-year high, should we be concerned about road safety for anyone not aboard them?

GMC Hummer EV at Pilot travel center

GMC Hummer EV at Pilot travel center

And a California heat wave that continued through last weekend prompted the state’s grid operator to ask EV drivers to reduce their charging in the late afternoon and early evening hours. With that in mind, we took a look at how helpful time-of-use rates will soon be more accessible to all, thanks to a rule approved by the California’s utilities commission last month.

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