Next Nissan Leaf, Faraday at CES, electric Fords, Tesla Autopilot update: The Week in Reverse

Which U.S. automaker dropped some bombshells about its future plans for electric cars, and Mexico too?

And what did we learn at the gigantic Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending on Friday, January 6, 2017.

Friday, we covered a new $150 fee levied only on electric-car owners in Indiana. The Midwestern state seems to have followed the lead of its neighbor Michigan; both states are central to U.S. auto production.

With luck, Indiana will at least be able to identify owners of the correct set of cars—unlike Michigan, which incorrectly charged all hybrid owners despite the law’s very clear language on battery size.

On Thursday, we received a bit more information on the next Nissan Leaf electric car, courtesy of a pair of presentations by the automaker at the huge Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

While the bulk of the show was about autonomous cars and connectivity, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn noted the second-generation Leaf will have ProPilot self-driving technology.

More news from the huge show in Vegas: Faraday Future unveiled its luxury FF 91 electric sedan (though the launch event had a few glitches) and most of the autonomous concepts were electric or at least hybrid.

Wednesday, we shared what we know so far (not a whole lot) about the Ford Transit Connect Hybrid taxi prototype that will appear at next week’s Detroit Auto Show.

That company’s been notably quiet on the green-car front lately, with only a battery update in its 2017 Ford Focus Electric compliance car to talk about.

On Tuesday, that changed: Ford mashed up some new information on future electrified vehicles with an announcement that it was abandoning a planned $1.6 billion Mexican assembly plant.

It will offer a 300-mile all-electric SUV, hybrid versions of its iconic F-150 pickup truck and Mustang sport coupe, and a self-driving plug-in hybrid taxi, among other electrified vehicles.

And, it turns out, the 13 new “electrified vehicles” it plans by 2020 will all be conventional hybrids, battery-electric cars, or plug-in hybrids—no mild hybrids or start-stop vehicles among them.

Monday was the New Year holiday in large parts of the world, but our piece on the wildly varying projections of 2020’s electric-car sales proved surprisingly popular.

And we kicked off the New Year with some good news for the U.S.: more solar generating capacity was added last year than either natural-gas or wind generation.

(That will continue this year, and coal is still heading out the door, regardless of any policy changes by President-elect Trump or his nominee to lead the EPA.)

Finally, no week would be complete without news about Tesla Motors and its CEO Elon Musk.

Tesla gigafactory, March 2016, shown in drone footage posted to YouTube by Above Reno

Tesla gigafactory, March 2016, shown in drone footage posted to YouTube by Above Reno

Enlarge Photo

The company announced it had begun lithium-ion cell production at its Gigafactory battery plant in Nevada, and that it had upgraded 1,000 Teslas with new Autopilot software.

Those cars will serve as a final test fleet for enhanced Autopilot functions that give the newest Teslas fitted with the latest sensing hardware the same capabilities as older cars, which they haven’t had to date.

Those were our main stories this week; we’ll see you again next week. Until then, this has been the Green Car Reports Week in Reverse update.

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