Toyota all-hybrid models, solar car updates, EVs for Uber and Lyft: The Week in Reverse

Which automaker revealed a completely new electric vehicle that’s already been canceled?

And will Tesla’s cars get bidirectional charging ability in the near future?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending May 22, 2020.

The biggest actual product announcement came at the beginning of the week, and it concerned hybrids. Toyota introduced two new all-hybrid vehicles. The 2021 Toyota Venza is a sleeker, more upscale alternative to the RAV4 Hybrid, while the 2021 Toyota Sienna repositions the minivan toward being a weekend-getaway machine for active types. 

2021 Toyota Sienna XSE

2021 Toyota Sienna XSE

Hyundai put a price tag on its 2020 Sonata Hybrid—the one with the exclusive Solar Roof System in its top version. 

The Polestar 2 is due this summer for first U.S. deliveries, and the company revealed the location of some of its first showrooms, called Polestar Spaces.

Polestar Space

Polestar Space

General Motors’ battery chief boasted that the company has been making good progress with technologies that could eventually produce both 600-mile EVs and a million-mile battery—good for ride-hailing or robotaxi duty.

An annual report released from Bloomberg New Energy Finance this week anticipated that electric vehicle sales won’t drop as steeply as sales of all kinds of vehicles combined. We’ll call any conquest of market share over internal-combustion vehicles growth. 

Sono Sion solar assisted electric car

Sono Sion solar assisted electric car

Sono Motors has released some more information on the challenges it’s faced in covering all of the body panels—not just the roof—of its upcoming Sion electric car with solar cells. Earlier in the week we reported on a different solar-car effort. Royal DSM will be producing the solar roof for the swoopy Lightyear One, which plans to use some of the technology in the roof design for other types of vehicles.

Dyson’s now-canceled electric car would have had a 600-mile range, along with a business model that wouldn’t have added up, said the company’s founder in an exclusive Sunday Times piece last weekend. 

Dyson founder James Dyson, with electric car prototype

Dyson founder James Dyson, with electric car prototype

GCR reported, as did many other outlets, on the bidirectional charging ability that one teardown expert claimed Tesla was starting to build into its vehicles—even if it wasn’t enabling it yet. However a different expert claimed to have debunked the idea in an analysis of the hardware. Tesla hasn’t responded to us about this (or to any other outlet as far as we’re aware), so we might have to wait until Battery Day to be sure. 

At least the Tesla controversy seems to have gotten V2G ideas on the map for Tesla fans—possibly giving the possibility its biggest boost in years. To that, a utility in Southern California is launching a study of vehicle-to-grid (V2) technology. Although companies haven’t been mentioned yet, this one promises a more hands-on approach and something closer to consumer-level hardware than the countless number of other such studies over the past decade. 

A leading supplier for charging hardware claims to have the first cables capable of a continuous 500 amps, thanks to revamped cooling. That could result in charging times under 20 minutes for future electric vehicles. 

Hyundai Kona Electric police cars in Switzerland

Hyundai Kona Electric police cars in Switzerland

In quirky news from Europe and Japan: Hyundai says that its Kona Electric is catching on as a police car in Europe—especially for city patrols where it sets an example by eschewing tailpipe emissions. Electric-car chargers that pop up from the pavement and withdraw to flush tarmac have been judged a resounding success in a UK trial. And Nissan showed the all-electric ambulance it’s putting into action in Japan—a smart move amid a lung-related health crisis.

Uber

Uber

California regulators are developing a plan for how it will mandate electric cars for ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft starting in 2023.

And last weekend we reported on plans to ban all vehicles—even electric cars—from parts of Central London.

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