Ford Escape Hybrid refresh, faster Hyundai charging, Volvo EX90 tech, Mercedes CEO: The Week in Reverse

Which brand confirmed this week it will build EVs in Georgia?

Which electric sedan can charge at home at 80 miles per hour?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending October 28, 2022.

In an interview with GCR, Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Källenius talked about the company’s broad pivot to EVs, including the efficiency of its next-gen architectures, the electric G-Wagen, and its software push. It also plans to do more in the charging space.

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5

Hyundai is introducing a Battery Conditioning feature that will cut Hyundai EVs’ real-world fast-charging times—starting with the 2023 Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6—by warming the battery ahead of charging stops. With the same tech potentially on the way for the Kia EV6, it might make this whole family of EVs more likely to reproduce their claimed 10% to 80% charge in 18 minutes.

We dived into the balance that Volvo is seeking between range and bidirectional charging capability in its upcoming EX90 electric SUV. At launch, the EX90 will be ready for AC and DC bidirectional charging, smart charging and, depending on the market, home energy management. With Volvo going fully electric by 2030, expect this to be the leading edge of a sea change in its ecosystem.

The 2023 Ford Escape Hybrid is among the versions of this popular SUV getting a sporty new ST-Line treatment, as part of a mid-cycle refresh for the whole lineup. The Escape Plug-In Hybrid is back, too, but Ford doesn’t see either hybrid versions climbing the sales charts the way that the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V hybrids are due to.

2023 Toyota Crown

2023 Toyota Crown

For about $41,000, the 2023 Toyota Crown sedan rolls in at about 41 mpg. The taller, all-hybrid, all-wheel-drive sedan is offered in two powertrains, with Platinum versions dialing it up to a performance-oriented Hybrid Max system and 30-mpg rating.

In China, Toyota is tapping BYD’s LFP battery tech for its Tesla Model 3-sized BZ3 sedan, revealed this week, and it’s intriguing on several levels. But as the result of several China-only partnerships for the automaker, it’s not likely to ever be available in the US or Europe.

New Toyota BZ3

New Toyota BZ3

And to round out the week’s Toyota news on a speculative note, the company aims to launch up to 30 EVs globally by 2030, but according to a report it’s just suspended work on those models—including the Compact Cruise EV—as it mulls a stronger Toyota-brand shift to EVs. Will that include the US?

The maker of the iPhone, Taiwan’s Foxconn, is now a contract EV maker in Ohio, and it recently revealed its own first international-market EV, the Foxtron Model C, due in 2023. It also revealed two new prototypes, already bringing the number of distinct EVs it has in the works to five.

Foxtron Model C

Foxtron Model C

There will be upcoming Georgia-made Kia electric vehicles—in the upcoming Hyundai “Metaplant” that officials celebrated a groundbreaking for Tuesday. Production for Kia will start in early 2025, and Hyundai revealed this past week that the plant has the potential for expansion from the original 300,000 EVs annually all the way to 500,000.

Honda promises to “bring excitement back” for the redesigned 11th-generation Accord, set to be revealed next month. That includes a bigger touchscreen and better Accord Hybrid performance, it said—and we’d bet on the automaker’s latest reengineered hybrid system from the CR-V to do that.

Lucid Connected Home Charging Station

Lucid Connected Home Charging Station

Lucid is officially selling its connected home charging station that enables a whopping 80 miles of range per hour of home charging in the Air—given the ideal installation on a 100-amp circuit and the peak charging rate, taking advantage of the electric sedan’s 19.2- kw onboard charger and its exemplary efficiency.

The oil giant BP is planning to build a series of large-scale EV fast-charging hubs for ride-hailing vehicles. The first will offer 48 charging ports and be built near Los Angeles’ LAX airport.

Multiple plug-in truck recalls were related to battery woes. Nearly 14,000 Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid SUVs from the 2022 and 2023 model years have been recalled for the battery pack’s 200-amp fuse, and an issue that might leave owners stalled. And an issue that could let water into the battery pack has prompted GM to recall GMC Hummer EV SUVs and BrightDrop EV600 electric vans.

GMC Hummer EV at Pilot travel center

GMC Hummer EV at Pilot travel center

A new International Energy Agency (IEA) report predicts that global demand for fossil fuels will peak this decade. Partly due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting uncertainty around energy, government spending on renewable energy has surged—marking a “historic turning point” in the shift away from fossil fuels, it anticipated.

Nikola announced the intent to build 60 hydrogen fueling stations for fuel-cell trucks by 2026, thanks to the lower costs enabled by incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act and at the state level.

Bosch, the global supplier that was once at the center of the VW diesel scandal, is several years into a pivot to support electric vehicles. And this week in South Carolina it marked the ramp-up of US electric motor production for Rivian.

Lion C Electric School Bus

Lion C Electric School Bus

The EPA announced recipients of nearly $1 billion toward electric school buses. This round of immediate funding is only the first in a five-year, $5 billion program by the 2021 Bipartisan enabled Infrastructure Law, and this round will bring 2,400 big yellow EVs spanning all 50 states.

There’s mounting evidence pointing to EV chargers on light poles as a sensible solution to build out city charging infrastructure and support apartment-dwellers who park streetside overnight. And a new study suggests it’s the lowest-CO2 solution.

Tesla is reportedly facing multiple new levels of scrutiny from both the US DOJ and SEC—both over self-driving claims. As of the end of the week, neither government arm has yet confirmed these potential actions, which rely on reports from Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, citing insiders.

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