Toyota hybrid pickup, EVs with the most range, prices for Q4, EQS, Tucson PHEV: The Week in Reverse

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Which affordable electric vehicle earned top safety recognition?

What issue is splitting automakers’ support of a proposed EV tax credit expansion?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending September 24, 2021.

With both Rivian and Lucid recently given EPA range figures—and Lucid ousting Tesla from the top spot—we took a look at the eight electric vehicles EPA-rated for 300 miles of range or more. 

2022 Toyota Tundra

2022 Toyota Tundra

Early in the week, Toyota revealed its first hybrid pickup. For those who think about the Prius and other high-mpg Toyota hybrids, this isn’t exactly that; it’s focused on capability, towing, and payloads as much if not more than mpg.

Fall is traditionally the time for new models to arrive, and there was no shortage of fresh plug-in vehicles that got fresh price tags. The 2022 Hyundai Tucson Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t quite deliver the acceleration, electric miles, or mpg of the Toyota RAV4 Prime, but it doesn’t cost as much. Audi announced U.S. pricing for its 2022 Q4 E-Tron lineup. In rear-wheel-drive form the Q4 will start at $44,995, and to get the all-wheel drive many see as synonymous with Audi, it’ll take at least $50,995. Rated range is expected to be 241 miles for the latter version. And the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS flagship luxury EV was priced at $103,360 for the U.S., with its cost, features, and general presentation quite closely aligning with the S-Class. Range ratings remain unconfirmed. 

Ultium EV platform - GMC Hummer EV

Ultium EV platform – GMC Hummer EV

GM provided a deeper layer of details on its in-house-developed motors and drive units for Ultium-based EVs. Although they’ll debut on the Hummer EV, GM’s head of global electrification strategy outlined for us how they’ll deliver the range, efficiency, and performance for a wide array of products. 

Earlier in the week, GM announced that production of LG batteries for the Chevy Bolt EV is once again underway in Michigan, with changes in place to prevent the two battery defects that have together been the root cause of Bolt EV fires. The automaker also reported that replacement of all battery modules in 2017-2019 Bolt EVs could start in October, and new software will impose an 80-percent max-charge limit temporarily. 

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S

The Volkswagen ID.4 has earned a spot on the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ list, considered to be the most rigorous battery of U.S. tests. The strong safety credentials apply to all ID.4 models, including the dual-motor all-wheel-drive versions soon arriving at dealerships. 

Rivian earlier this month detailed a membership program for its owners for the first time. Although still at the beta stage, and likely included as complementary for a year, the subscription program will include charging access, Adventure Extraction, and Charge Assurance (roadside charging help).

UK-based Lotus detailed its E-Sport platform, a super-lightweight dedicated EV architecture that will be the basis for a range of models, including sports cars for Lotus and Alpine. 

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E police pilot vehicle

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E police pilot vehicle

Ford announced that it’s considering “purpose-built electric police vehicles,” and has submitted the Mustang Mach-E electric car for testing. And since then it’s been heralded as the first all-electric vehicle to pass Michigan State Police tests. Does the Mach-E GT Performance have a future as a patrol car?

Ford also entered a partnership with Tesla co-founder JB Straubel’s Redwood Materials for battery recycling. That could help Ford create a sustainable “closed loop” for batteries, cut costs, and smooth supply-chain issues. 

The new head of the NTSB had some harsh words about Tesla’s use of Full Self-Driving branding, as well as untrained drivers for its city-driving beta test. She doesn’t have regulatory authority, but a NHTSA probe proceeds.

2022 BMW i4 eDrive40

2022 BMW i4 eDrive40

A BMW executive recently indicated that the German automaker won’t be chasing 400 or 500 miles of range. It sees about 372 miles—likely translating to something over 300 miles EPA—as enough. 

Honda confirmed that it’s targeting 70,000 annual sales for its Prologue electric crossover, which is based on GM’s Ultium platform and due in 2024, to be assembled by GM. Honda’s own e-Architecture will be the basis of more EVs arriving in the second half of the decade. 

Eli Zero

Eli Zero

The Eli Zero micro-EV has started shipping out to dealerships in Europe, the Chinese-American company reported Monday. The U.S. is still part of the plan, although it wouldn’t arrive until later next year and be classified as a neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV). 

And finally, there’s a revamped version of the federal EV tax credit making its way through the House and Senate. Both versions lift the 200,000 credit ceiling per automaker and offer up to $12,500 per vehicle. But the bonus amounts awarded for union-made products have created a groundswell of controversy—including pushback from automakers that were on board last time. 

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