What did Hyundai and Kia present as better than in-wheel motors?
And which electric truck are shoppers most excited about? Hint: It’s not the Cybertruck.
This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending December 1, 2023.
The Tesla Cybertruck was revealed Thursday in production form, and the Cybertruck’s stainless-steel construction, steer-by-wire system, and packaging like no other truck are all noteworthy firsts. Tesla made plenty of claims about its performance—like out-accelerating a Porsche 911, while towing a 911—but it failed to live up to some of the key pragmatic targets it had previously set for pricing and range. But the Cybertruck will also be the first Tesla with bidirectional charging. With the rollout of Powershare, the Cybertruck and future Tesla models will be able to provide power for worksites or campsites, or for home backup, or for charging other EVs.
2025 Tesla Cybertruck – Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.
U.S. pricing for the 2025 Volvo EX90 electric SUV is out—and at $77,990 to start, this luxury model’s lineup picks up right around where the Kia EV9 tops out. And at under $80,000, this U.S.-made EV is likely to be tax-credit-eligible.
Some owners of the 2021-2024 Jeep Wrangler 4xe—yes, that’s the bestselling plug-in hybrid in the U.S.—are being told not to charge, and not to park near buildings or other vehicles. In about 32,000 potentially affected vehicles, Stellantis will be using diagnostic software to check for a battery-pack issue, but the number of vehicles with the flaw is much smaller.
2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe
Volkswagen’s Scout EV brand is reportedly planning to outsource the development of its upcoming electric SUV and pickup to Austria’s Magna—the same firm that builds the Mercedes G-Class, Jaguar I-Pace, and Fisker Ocean. These could be the two products set to be made in South Carolina in 2026, so it’s yet unclear how Magna might also become involved in that.
Nissan on Monday confirmed that it will make the next-generation Nissan Leaf plus electric versions of the Juke and Qashqai crossovers, at its U.K. factory for the European market. With that, it confirmed the look of these upcoming models as taking after the Chill-Out, Hyper Punk, and Hyper Urban concepts, respectively.
Hyundai and Kia Uni Wheel drive system for EVs
Hyundai and Kia have shown an alternative to in-wheel motors that accomplishes some of the same packaging goals. Called the Universal Wheel Drive System, or Uni Wheel, it moves a planetary gearset into the wheel, with downsized motors nearby, bypassing the need for CV joints.
According to the latest annual survey from Consumer Reports, EV reliability is worse than ICE models. Drawing from more than 330,000 vehicles from the past several model years, CR found that vehicles with a charge port were more trouble-prone—with plug-in hybrids the worst—while hybrid reliability continues to surpass that of non-hybrids.
An annual survey assessing shopper interest in electric trucks, out this morning, showed “a slowdown in enthusiasm from shoppers of all stripes”—although shoppers remain very excited about the Tesla Cybertruck and the possibility of a Toyota electric pickup.
Toyota EPU concept
Solid-state battery tech promises gains in energy density and charging, and their arrival could be a game-changing moment for the EV market. But according to recent figures from Toyota, which is one of the leaders in developing the tech, it will remain in niche supply even by 2030—so much that, by then, Toyota appears to see more hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles than solid-state EVs.
EV battery prices are dropping again. Thanks to a number of factors—most notably, the underutilization of battery plants, which freed up materials and lowered prices—lithium-ion EV battery pack prices have dropped 14% this year to a new low of $139/kwh.
Lotus Flash Charge DC fast-charging hardware
The performance brand Lotus is known for its fast cars, but now it’s offering up some of the fastest EV chargers in the world. While they’re set to make the most of its upcoming Eletre electric SUV, the list of EVs that can take advantage of the extra charge power at this point is very short.
Fewer EV drivers may need to worry about plugging in each night thanks to some final guidance announced last week regarding hardware components for EV wireless charging. This “missing piece” of standardization that allows vehicle parking systems to assist with precise alignment over charging pads, could give the tech a long-awaited jumpstart.
Nio is on to something with its battery-swapping business, which has recently started scaling up in Europe. Geely, the parent of Volvo, Polestar, and Lotus, has just partnered with Nio for battery-swapping in China—and for future “a unified battery swap operation” between brands.
Hyundai at Tesla Supercharger
And Green Car Reports rounded up all the brands that have announced a shift to the Tesla NACS charge port for EV charging. It all started in May with a joint announcement between Tesla and Ford CEOs, but the shift has continued even this month with announcements from Subaru and Lucid. Getting EVs from all these brands starting to flood Supercharger stations next year could be one of the reasons Tesla is imposing a $1-per-minute Supercharger congestion fee.
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