Audi diesel epilogue, electric F-150 conversions, EV infrastructure: The Week in Reverse


Who got arrested on charges relating to VW’s emissions cheating scandal?

What company found low confidence in EVs among consumers?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending August 2, 2019.

The diesel-emissions scandal apparently isn’t over yet. We started last week with new results from investigations in Germany, revealing emails and internal presentations showing Audi’s culpability in developing emissions cheating software for diesels that proliferated throughout the Volkswagen Group’s lineup, and possibly beyond. In an unrelated investigation, German prosecutors arrested former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler on charges that he knew about the cheating and did nothing to stop the sale of the non-compliant cars.

Audi also announced that it will sell a new shorter-range version of its E-tron quattro electric SUV in Europe next year. The company is now banking on electric cars to meet emissions and fuel-economy requirements—and to redeem its reputation.

Research group J.D. Power and Associates conducted two new polls and came up with corresponding indexes that show low consumer confidence in electric cars and even lower confidence in self-driving cars.

Consumer Reports Tesla Model 3 testing Navigate on Autopilot [CREDIT: Consumer Reports]

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the company will begin releasing a new software update this month that will improve its cars’ self-driving capability, as well as bring games and streaming services. The company also unveiled a larger Megapack stationary storage battery to help utilities make better use of renewable wind and solar power.

A bipartisan infrastructure bill introduced in the Senate includes $1 billion in funding for clean transportation, which could give a significant boost to electric-car charging infrastructure. Charging network Electrify America is working on robotic chargers that could automatically plug in fleets of self-driving cars. In Britain, another startup company, Urban Electric is developing chargers that retract into the sidewalk when not in use.

Prometheus or gasoline

Prometheus or gasoline

California-based startup company Prometheus Fuels claims to have improved the efficiency of making gasoline from carbon dioxide, in a way that wouldn’t be a net addition to global warming (although it would still pollute).

A new report shows lithium mining companies are worried about a price collapse as new mines come on line ahead of major new car affordable electric cars. 

Automotive transmission supplier ZF Friedrichshafen plans to bring back 2-speed transmissions for EVs.

Honda revealed its dashboard-wide array of five screens in the new Honda E that show everything from infotainment to instruments to camera mirrors.

2020 Honda E prototype

2020 Honda E prototype

The 2020 Kia Optima Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid get a few more active-safety features this year, and the 2020 Honda Insight forges ahead with no changes, save a small price increase, against newer updated competition like the Toyota Corolla Hybrid.

And at the beginning of the week, we reported about a Montreal company that’s beating Ford to the punch in building electric F-150 pickups—for fleets, out of used trucks.

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