Toyota solid-state update, Tesla charging connectors, Telo truck, hybrid mpg and EV mode: The Week in Reverse


Pressing which button may help you get better hybrid mpg?

Which EV outsells all but the Ford F-150?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending Friday, June 16, 2023.

The startup Telo says it can match all the utility and capability of a Toyota Tacoma, in an electric pickup the size of a Mini Cooper SE, by truly applying the packaging innovations allowed by skateboard designs. With some of the original Tesla braintrust behind it, will Telo get this idea to market?

In coordination with its annual shareholder meeting this week, Toyota released several updates on key technologies, focusing on EVs. In future electric vehicles, it seeks to employ a suite of efficiency-boosting technologies, including downsized e-axles, next-generation silicon carbide inverters, and boundary layer aerodynamics from rockets. An electric Toyota Crown sedan is on the way, too. 

Toyota Crown family

Toyota Crown family

As part of this, Toyota provided a comprehensive, albeit somewhat confusing, update on its battery strategy for future EVs—including solid-state tech enabling 10-minute charging, as well as bipolar LFP tech, next-generation NCM tech, and a fusion of chemistries. They may allow future EPA ranges well over 500 miles later in the decade. 

After last week’s announcement that GM will install the Tesla charge port (NACS) on its vehicles beginning in 2025—following Ford’s announcement last month—charging networks and stations are quickly jumping aboard in support. Although it’s not yet clear whether CCS adapters alone will allow stations with Tesla connectors to tap federal funds.

2024 Polestar 2

2024 Polestar 2

The 2024 Polestar 2 gets a boost to 320 miles of EPA range. But that might not even be the biggest news for many shoppers. Notably, it makes the switch to rear-wheel drive in single-motor form, or a rear-biased AWD system in dual-motor form. There are more standard features with the new model year, too.

Hyundai is effectively undercutting the Tesla Model 3 with a $5,000 discount on Ioniq 6, if you don’t count the federal EV tax credit that Tesla buyers might be eligible for. Although it’s short of a permanent price drop, it shows that this space is getting more price-competitive. 

2023 Tesla Model Y - Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

2023 Tesla Model Y – Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

Full-size pickups aside, the Tesla Model Y topped the sales charts in the U.S. for the earlier part of this year, outselling a long list of other bestsellers. Why are Teslas still not a common site on U.S. roads then? Simply put, it takes a long time for the fleet to turn over. 

Two EV upstarts that originate in the U.S. are getting out in the world. Lucid and Fisker are preparing to sell vehicles in China, both confirmed this week. Lucid also reported deliveries have started in Saudi Arabia, while Fisker included plans to open a “delivery center” in China later this year, with sales starting in Q1 2024. 

2023 Ford Maverick

2023 Ford Maverick

More than 125,000 Ford Maverick and Escape hybrids are being recalled—as well as the Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring PHEV—for an issue that has nothing to do with the hybrid or battery systems. In those vehicles, engine failure can lead to vehicle fires. 

A study from the survey giant Ipsos has found that interest in EVs may be waning—partly because of misconceptions about EV ownership cost, although the usual suspects of recharging time and driving range remained high on the list. In any case, it’s a worrisome trend as many automakers finally start to ramp up their EVs in volume. And according to the results from J.D. Power’s annual study of EV consideration, out Friday, public charging—much more than home charging—is getting in the way of EV adoption. Nearly half of shoppers see public charging as an EV dealbreaker. While it’s too early to tell what the effects of recent decisions by Ford and GM to jump in on Tesla’s standard, the survey giant underscored that those considering a Tesla cite charging availability as a motivating factor.

Nyobolt electric sports car

Nyobolt electric sports car

A UK battery firm is rebooting the original Tesla Roadster formula with 6-minute charging and, effectively, 1,600 miles per hour restored, given enough charge power. That’s the claim based on Nyobolt’s proprietary niobium anode cells, that could allow smaller battery packs, fast-charged fully, although the firm’s durability claims aren’t yet proven out with a full-scale pack. 

Will the brake lights illuminate when you lift off the accelerator in one of your EV’s more aggressive modes of regenerative braking? The short answer, underscored with a recent look from Consumer Reports, is merely maybe. Don’t count on EV brake lights if you’re not pressing on the brake pedal. 

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

According to a recent report, Toyota is considering engine sounds for an upcoming electric sports car—as well as a manual gearbox and even behavior mimicking stalling. Is replicating the internal combustion experience necessary for a sports car, or is it possible to make a rewarding one that embraces electric propulsion?

And getting more mpg from your hybrid vehicle—especially if it’s a Toyota—may be as simple as making sure it’s in Eco mode. But beware that EV mode might not mean what you think it does, and might not boost your efficiency.

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