Rivian Camp mode, California heat-wave EV charging, US batteries for Toyota and Honda EVs: The Week in Reverse

Which automaker is first using CATL’s cell-to-pack battery tech for 600-plus miles of range?

In which U.S. state have EVs passed 15% of overall new-vehicle sales?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending September 3, 2022.

Leading into the Labor Day holiday weekend, California asked that EV drivers not charge their EVs in the afternoon after 4 p.m. because of unusually hot weather and increased air conditioning use. While overnight charging after 9 p.m. was still approved, it delivered some awkward optics to California’s recent policy commitment to all-electric new-vehicle sales by 2035


Genesis Electrified G80

Genesis Electrified G80

On the product news side, Genesis announced a starting price for its Electrified G80 fully electric luxury sedan—around $80,000. It also confirmed expanded U.S. availability for that and its GV60 EV. 

California’s Lucid Motors gave some hints that the Air Pure sedan is nearing production. That’s the $88,900 version of its Air luxury EV that most directly rivals the Tesla Model S, potentially meeting or beating the Tesla hatchback’s range with a smaller battery pack and a lower price.

2023 Rivian R1S

2023 Rivian R1S

Rivian revealed a Camp mode feature that will, among other things, automatically level the R1T or R1S so that owners can sleep better. If you’ve gone car-camping in the mountains, you’ll appreciate what a game-changer this could be.

Geely’s Zeekr premium EV brand for China announced that its Zeekr 009 “electric luxury MPV” will be the first production model in the world, available early next year, to use cell-to-pack tech from CATL, enabling a driving range of more than 600 miles by China’s driving cycle. 

Tesla, Genesis, and Hyundai were singled out among the top-performing brands in a J.D. Power study of advanced-tech vehicle features. The firm singled out phone-based digital key features as very desirable, while fingerprint readers are flubbing the execution. 

Honda Prologue teaser - May 2022

Honda Prologue teaser – May 2022

Stepping over to industry news, there were a great many manufacturing announcements this week—perhaps held back to make sure Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act and the future American-sourcing requirements for the EV tax credit that were part of it. Honda announced a U.S. battery joint venture with LG Energy Solution that will make batteries for future Honda and Acura EVs

. With a planned capacity of 40 gigawatt-hours—enough for hundreds of thousands of EVs—it’s going big.

Toyota also announced a battery plan that includes manufacturing capacity for EV batteries in North Carolina—and by extension, that suggests U.S.-made EVs in Toyota’s future. Then later in the week a greater level of commitment to EVs became clear as Toyota’s $5.6 billion investment for battery production across continents included converting two Japanese plants

—including an engine factory—over to battery plants.

Planned Toyota electric vehicle lineup

Planned Toyota electric vehicle lineup

Toyota is also aiming to “build, install, and evaluate” a 1-megawatt fuel-cell power plant that will look at how hydrogen might be used—maybe instead of big battery packs—to buffer the grid or help balance energy from solar and wind sources. 

Bosch plans to build hydrogen fuel-cell stacks for electrified semi trucks in South Carolina—with Nikola one of its first intended customers. And BMW has started assembling them in Germany, on a limited basis, for its upcoming iX5 Hydrogen fuel-cell SUV, with the fuel cells themselves from Toyota but electric propulsion pieces borrowed from the BMW i4 and iX. As other automakers shift their fuel-cell efforts to large trucks, that makes BMW increasingly an outlier on the tech. 

SparkCharge on-demand charging, with Currently app

SparkCharge on-demand charging, with Currently app

SparkCharge, which has been providing on-demand EV charging through its Currently app, announced new investment and a continued expansion to 12 more California cities. 

The U.S. Postal Service analysis that was the rationale for not making the whole fleet of next-generation mail trucks electric, was found to be “significantly flawed” by University of Michigan researchers who noted it lacked any consideration of huge factors like the greening of the grid over time.

Sono Sion solar EV - production version

Sono Sion solar EV – production version

In Europe, Sono Motors says that it’s reached 20,000 reservations for its $30,000 Sion solar EV, which promises 70 free miles from the sun each week and has home power-bank capability with bi-directional charging.

California topped 15% EV sales in Q2, with the Tesla Model Y and Model 3 continuing their sales dominance in the Golden State—which is now so pronounced that the Model Y outsold the best-selling Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado combined.

2022 BMW iX xDrive50 (Euro spec)

2022 BMW iX xDrive50 (Euro spec)

And celebrate that in addition to all the rest of the EV choices there are now at least 14 distinct EVs with an EPA range of 300 miles, the U.S. Department of Energy underscored this week. As recently as 2016 there was just one. 


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