Which pillar of North American industry is now almost entirely in bankruptcy?
And, what Tesla electric car was replaced before it even entered production?
This is our look back at the Week In Reverse–right here at Green Car Reports–for the week ending on Friday, April 15, 2016.
Friday, after longtime Tesla executive Diarmuid O’Connell said Model 3 deposits are approaching 400,000, we pondered exactly what that ecstatic global reception implies.
Even CEO Elon Musk seemed startled by the volume of $1,000 deposits, tweeting that the company would need to “rethink production planning.”
We weighed in on what’s next for Tesla Motors as it works to move the future $35,000, 200-mile Model 3 volume electric car into production.
On Thursday, we noted that while plug-in car sales were flat in the U.S. last year, they soared in the rest of the world.
You may not be able to identify a Renault Zoe, but January and February sales show it was Europe’s most popular electric car.
You may not know the name BYD, either, but the Chinese company sold more plug-in cars globally in 2015 than any other maker.
Wednesday, we covered a change to the specs of the Tesla Model X electric luxury SUV. A new 75D base model replaces the former 70D version, which never actually entered production.
The previous day, we’d detailed the updates to the 2016 Tesla Model S sedan, including a new and grille-free front end and other aero tweaks that slightly increased its range.
It also gets a revised onboard charger—and a price increase.
Another Wednesday story: we also covered a used-car dealer in Boulder, Colorado, with a unique niche.
Taking advantage of a Colorado tax quirk that makes used electric cars eligible for the state’s generous tax incentive, it imports “forbidden fruit” used electric cars from California for resale.
On Tuesday, we looked at whether Uber may be the best form of mass transit.
Florida’s Altamonte Springs thinks so; it’s subsidizing Uber rides within its borders rather than setting up a pricey public-bus system.
We also noted that this coming Thursday is the latest deadline for Volkswagen, the EPA, and the powerful California Air Resources Board to agree on a plan to fix the 580,000 TDI diesel cars implicated in the VW diesel emission scandal.
Will they make it? Even the EPA isn’t sure.
Monday, we wrote that the 2016 Dodge Dart lineup has been simplified, cut to just three models after sales of the not-all-that-fuel-efficient compact sedan plummeted while SUVs surge.
The Dart is still on death row; FCA will kill it and the Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan and use the factory capacity to build more SUVs of all sizes and expand truck production.
Finally, the collapse of the North American coal industry has been swift: 50 companies have filed for bankruptcy since 2012.
Coal, by Flicker user oatsy40 (Used Under CC License)
This week, another huge domino fell. Worth $20 billion just five years ago, Peabody Coal filed for bankruptcy; it was the largest privately coal company in the world.
Its mines will stay open—the North American utility industry couldn’t possibly cope with the evaporation of coal supplies—and the bankruptcy was due partly to costly acquisitions based on rosy but unfounded projections of future growth in coal consumption, particularly in China.
Still, the industry’s ongoing collapse continues to indicate that coal in the ground may remain a stranded asset as utilities all over the world seek lower-carbon energy sources.
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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