2023 Toyota Prius review, Best Car To Buy finalists, EV reliability, winter range: The Week in Reverse

Which popular electric vehicle got yet another price hike?

Which company was awarded a $2.5 billion federal loan?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending December 16, 2022.

Whether you’ve written hybrids off or not, you’ll likely be interested in our review of the 2023 Toyota Prius, with its startling correction to this efficiency icon’s design lineage, and perkier performance while preserving its gas mileage numbers. In a separate piece, we sat down with Prius chief engineer Satoki Oya to help flesh out some of the fascinating backstory of the 2023 Prius

. In an unusual chronology for Toyota, the company first set a radical design, then had to reengineer the car around it to meet other targets. 

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

We named five finalists for Green Car Reports Best Car To Buy 2023. Then we ran through what didn’t make the cut. The Cadillac Lyriq is one of those finalists, and it signals a lot of firsts, as the first mass-production model built around GM’s Ultium propulsion strategy, and the first EV for Cadillac, which plans to be all-electric by the end of the decade. Another was the Ford F-150 Lightning, which has revolutionized the pickup truck—by making it fully electric, adding functionality the truck set will appreciate, and otherwise not messing with much. Its runaway demand is evidence already that Ford is on to something. 

That said, Ford raised prices on the F-150 Lightning this week, yet again. This time the cost of the base Lightning Pro, with the standard range battery good for 240 miles, stands at $57,869—nearly 40% higher than earlier this year. 

2023 Ford F-150 Lightning

2023 Ford F-150 Lightning

The U.S. Forest Service is also indeed testing the Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup, and while the Lightning appears to have been the first modern electric pickup open to purchase by federal agencies—on the GSA list—it’s already off the list because Lightning orders were closed. 

The Department of Energy on Monday confirmed a $2.5 billion federal loan backing GM’s Ultium EV plan

. More precisely, it backs the construction of three Ultium Cells LLC battery plants, in Ohio, Tennessee, and Michigan, that will all be making large-format pouch cells for upcoming GM EVs, from crossovers to pickups and delivery vans. 

In another big move from the federal government: The IRS on Monday revealed some initial guidance on what it will need for EV tax credit compliance

, as revamped by the Inflation Recovery Act (IRA). In short: get ready for more paperwork. Automakers will need to submit monthly reports with EV specs, and even sellers will be responsible for turning in paperwork including details such as battery capacity. 

2023 Lucid Air Pure

2023 Lucid Air Pure

Lucid announced that it will be looking to Panasonic for battery supply as it ramps up the rest of the Lucid Air lineup in 2023 and starts production of the Lucid Gravity SUV in 2024. That will include future U.S.-made cells from Panasonic

via its Kansas factory. 

An announcement from a superconductor firm confirms that at least some of the Hyundai Group’s E-GMP electric vehicles will be getting improved silicon-carbide power modules—bringing higher operating voltages and a range boost for future Hyundai and Kia EVs

Squad Solar City Car

Squad Solar City Car

Sustainable resorts and gated communities in the U.S. may in 2024 be able to choose a $6,250 solar car. The Squad Solar City Car can recover up to 19.2 miles of range per day in Las Vegas, the company claims—which happens to be where it will reveal a U.S.-bound version of this low-speed solar EV next month. 

Some Kia Niro EV models have been recalled for an issue that could allow coolant into the power control unit. Although less than 900 U.S. vehicles are affected, it could lead to sudden stalling. 

2020 Kia Niro EV

2020 Kia Niro EV

Electric vehicle range suffers in cold-weather driving. But a new report from the battery analysis firm Recurrent points out just how much that real-world winter EV range varies by model

Toyota has teamed up with a Texas utility to launch a small pilot project looking into vehicle-to-grid (V2G) tech for smoothing the grid. Although Toyota has already been studying the use of hydrogen fuel cells for such a role, this is the first such U.S. test for the company with a battery electric vehicle.

2023 Toyota bZ4X to be used in V2G pilot project with utility Oncor

2023 Toyota bZ4X to be used in V2G pilot project with utility Oncor

Choosing an EV is more than a choice for the planet and carbon emissions; it’s an investment in better local air quality, according to a new Cornell University study that draws from vast EPA data modeling. And, it finds, in just five U.S. metro areas the shift to EVs could save nearly 2,500 lives annually thanks to the cleaner air and loss of tailpipe emissions.

According to the latest data from Consumer Reports, Tesla and Nissan lead in EV reliability. The consumer organization ranked the Kia EV6, Tesla Model 3, and Nissan Leaf among the most reliable—although it still noted that hybrid vehicles perform better than EVs in reliability. 

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

And real-world U.S. vehicle fleet fuel economy remained flat in 2021, after some impressive improvement in recent years. As the EPA suggests, it’s due in part to the continued shift toward less efficient SUVs and pickup trucks, which continue to get heavier. Lax Trump administration targets certainly didn’t help things. 

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