Nissan concepts, Kia EV6 and Ioniq 5 range, Best Car To Buy finalists: The Week in Reverse

Which automaker is developing a full-size truck for “incredibly high volume.”

Which highly anticipated electric truck might get its own “crab” mode?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending December 10, 2021.

This week, we announced our 2022 Best Car To Buy finalists. It’s the most varied group we’ve had in terms of vehicle types and sizes, and that says much about the growth of the EV market. Then on Thursday we took a look at why several buzz-worthy vehicles weren’t on the list. Check back for an up-close look at what makes each of these finalists strong contenders, prior to our announcement of a winner on January 3.

Toyota announced a $1.29 billion U.S. battery plant that will supply calls for “electrified vehicles”—hybrids at first—starting in 2025. It’s part of a localization of battery production that will help “pave the way” for U.S.-built battery electric vehicles, it said.

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning pre-production

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning pre-production

Ford CEO Jim Farley said that a next-generation full-size Ford electric truck is being designed from the start for “incredibly high volume.” That truck will be built starting around the middle of the decade in a mammoth manufacturing complex in Tennessee. Meanwhile, Ford now has 160,000 units of demand for the F-150 Lightning—so much that it shut down reservations for the electric truck.

Official EPA range ratings were released for the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5. Although the two have dramatically different styling, both were engineered on the same E-GMP dedicated EV platform—and they both offer more than 300 miles of range in some versions, with better efficiency than any other rivals their size except for the Tesla Model Y. And the Polestar 2 Single Motor earned a 270-mile EPA range rating, which is better than what the brand anticipated for this model earlier in the year. That’s more than the base Tesla Model 3 or the single-motor Ford Mustang Mach-E, for another example. But it still falls short of Model 3 efficiency. 

2022 Polestar 2 single-motor

2022 Polestar 2 single-motor

It’s not all that surprising that Tesla Cybertruck specs have changed on its way from being essentially a rough concept, as it was shown in 2019, to being production-bound. CEO Elon Musk last week announced that there will be a version with four motors and four-wheel steering, allowing a “crab mode” that sounds a lot like that of the GMC Hummer EV. A “product roadmap update,” including more about the Cybertruck, is coming soon.

The fully electric version of the Chevy Silverado pickup will be built starting early in 2023, GM confirmed this week. The Silverado EV—or Silverado E as it’s sometimes been called—will offer up to 400 miles of range and will target affordability, even though it’s based on the advanced, “structural sandwich” approach that underpins the GMC Hummer EV. GM also opened its first dealership for the BrightDrop brand focusing on delivery fleets. It’s following a franchise model, and its EV600 and shorter-wheelbase EV410 vans will both be built at a Canadian factory. 

Nissan Chill-Out concept - December 2021

Nissan Chill-Out concept – December 2021

One of Nissan’s Ambition 2030 concepts from last week, the Chill-Out, fits right in with what Nissan has said about how a successor to its Leaf might look and be positioned when it arrives around the middle of the decade. 

The Acura brand will be “growing much faster” toward EVs, according to a report, as it plans to bypass the hybrids that its parent Honda brand is embracing in a significant way. 

The White House announced a goal to make all federal vehicle acquisitions electric by 2035, with all new light-duty vehicles purchased for the federal fleet electric by 2027. It builds on a number of EV-friendly positions from the administration, some of which made it into the infrastructure bill and the following Build Back Better legislation currently in the Senate.

Electrify America battery storage

Electrify America battery storage

Electrify America last week announced that it has installed 30 MW of battery storage hardware across 140 stations; and it’s seeking to roll out more of it to allow fast-charging stations in places where regional-utility “demand charges” would be cost-prohibitive.

Companies aiming to recycle used EV battery packs won’t have enough of them to scale up until 2030, according to a new report from the research firm Wood Mackenzie. Meanwhile, a shift to solid-state cells might complicate the ramp, requiring recyclers to change their processes. 

Tesla Model S battery pack teardown: frame from YouTube video by JehuGarcia, Feb 2017

Tesla Model S battery pack teardown: frame from YouTube video by JehuGarcia, Feb 2017

Alaska is about to get its own public network of electric-vehicle fast-charging stations. Partly funded by VW diesel settlement money, they’ll be spaced less than 100 miles apart. You can bet they’ll be using some of the knowledge gained from EVs and charging in Norwegian winters. 

And although several automakers have looked to synthetic fuels as a way of keeping the internal combustion engine alive in the future in certain vehicles, like sports cars, the group Transport & Environment this week warned that it emits just as much pollution as conventional gasoline.

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