Lexus PHEV review, GM EV delay, EV6 price cut, Toyota and Nissan concepts: The Week In Reverse


Which automakers this week announced a shift to the Tesla-based NACS charge port?

Which long-running EV nameplate reclaimed eligibility for the EV tax credit?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending October 20, 2023.

The 2024 Lexus TX 550h+ plug-in hybrid is the best version of this new Lexus three-row SUV lineup, we found last week in a review, after driving all the versions. With up to 33 electric miles and nearly 30 mpg as a hybrid, it offers usable passenger and cargo space rivaling that of thirstier body-on-frame SUVs plus a composed ride and refined, responsive driving experience. Let’s just hope Toyota builds more of these rather than the mercurial 500h F Sport hybrid version. 

2024 Lexus TX 550h+ plug-in hybrid

2024 Lexus TX 550h+ plug-in hybrid

One of the big surprises of the week hit hard: Scaled-up production of the Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV has been delayed by a whole year, GM announced Tuesday. The company’s Orion Assembly plant in Michigan, set for that volume production but currently building the Chevy Bolt EV, won’t get any extension to build more of those efficient small electric cars, though. 

Meanwhile, another unexpected piece of news may get more budget-strapped households driving electric. The 2024 Nissan Leaf has become eligible for the U.S. EV tax credit, Nissan confirmed Monday. Although it will be eligible for $3,750, not the full $7,500 amount, likely due to battery content requirements built into the IRA—even though the Leaf and its battery are built in the U.S.

The Kia EV6 Long Range gets a price cut for 2024—effectively—with the addition of a new Light Long Range version. That drops the 2024 Kia EV6 base price with the larger pack (currently up to 310 miles EPA) to $45,950 including destination. A base Light model with the smaller 58-kwh battery pack remains in the lineup and costs even less. Both of these base Light versions are now offered in all 50 states, Kia confirms.

Rivian Gauge View

Rivian Gauge View

The latest software update for Rivian R1S and R1T electric trucks provides a revamped interface for drive modes and a “reimagined driving experience” that allows all-terrain modes while touring. With trailer profiles you can save, range estimates are going to keep getting better while towing, too. 

Two more major automakers fell into lock step in looking to Tesla’s charge port—and, to some degree, its Supercharger network—as a big part of their EV future. Drivers of BMW, Mini, and Rolls-Royce EVs will gain access to Tesla Supercharger stations using an adapter in early 2025, BMW Group announced. EVs from those brands will also be adopting the NACS port as their native charging tech for the U.S. and Canada starting in 2025, the company said. And Toyota and Lexus have confirmed that they’ll also start using the Tesla-based NACS charge port on EVs starting in 2025, with an adapter for CCS EVs allowing access to the Tesla Supercharger network around the same time.

2024 Rolls-Royce Spectre

2024 Rolls-Royce Spectre

And ahead of the Tokyo auto show, now known as the Japan Mobility Show, that kicks off next week, Toyota and Nissan revealed a number of concept teases and reveals. 

In addition to its Hyper Urban and Hyper Adventure concepts Nissan plans to show the Hyper Tourer concept EV, which reconceives the minivan around solid-state battery tech and autonomous driving tech—as well as V2X bidirectional charging ability. With seats that swivel to face each other, it could be quite the EV road-trip machine. Its Nissan Hyper Punk concept was also shown as the fourth in its series of four futuristic concept cars set to bow at Tokyo. Designed to be a “mobile creative studio,” the Hyper Punk offers up a cyberpunk aesthetic on the outside, with polygonal surfacing, plus origami details and AI-based manga scenery generation. Despite the surfacing, Nissan claims “superior aerodynamic performance” for the design.

Nissan Hyper Tourer concept

Nissan Hyper Tourer concept

With concept versions of a Toyota electric sports car and crossover EV teased Monday, Toyota laid out the shape of future EVs potentially coming later in the decade—and emphasized a simplified interface for them—but it hasn’t yet clarified how quickly it’s ramping up a commitment to EVs. 

A new study from S&P Global Mobility suggests that Tesla aside, full-line automakers might not yet be providing enough of a compelling proposition to stick with EVs. Not counting more EV-loyal Tesla drivers, nearly 50% of non-Tesla EV drivers go back to internal combustion models with a next vehicle, it found.

2025 Ram 1500 REV

2025 Ram 1500 REV

Stellantis announced Thursday that it has four electrified pickup trucks U.S.-bound within the next two years. As part of a fleet-focused Pro One launch, it hinted that hydrogen fuel-cell tech may also be a part of it. 

The new Honda Civic Hybrid set to join the lineup next year will be much more than a niche model this time, the automaker confirmed Thursday. It sees the 2024 Civic Hybrid at 40% of the nameplate’s sales.

Ford is recalling the 2021-2022 Mustang Mach-E once again for an issue that can suddenly leave drivers without power after fast-charging or making subsequent full-throttle launches. It’s replacing a high-voltage battery junction box on many extended range models built through May 24, 2022.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

The White House recently announced details for the $8 billion hydrogen hub program, including $7 billion for establishing seven regional hubs that together will make nearly one-third of the annual hydrogen goal set by the Biden administration. While it could help clean up trucking, previous cost reductions have been optimistic, and the Energy Department is leaning on a goal of cutting the cost of “clean hydrogen” 80% to $1 per kilogram by the end of the decade. 

The Detroit-based startup Grounded on Wednesday introduced an electric RV based on GM’s Ultium EV platform. Called the Grounded G2, it offers a claimed 250-mile range on the same 165-kwh battery pack of the BrightDrop Zevo 600 on which it’s based—plus a 10-kwh “house battery” and rooftop solar. 

Grounded G2 electric RV

Grounded G2 electric RV

And last weekend we looked at an issue that cold-weather drivers may ponder: Do engine block heaters boost mpg? While it might indeed extend the life of your engine, results from a recent study by researchers in Finland suggest that the efficiency gains are a wash—before even considering the energy you put into preheating.

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