Fuel-cell semis, Mini prices electric car, automakers take sides: The Week in Reverse


What company is naming its future vehicle the Ocean?

And which electric-car model was approved to be a NYC yellow cab?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending November 1, 2019.

We finished up the week with news that the federal government is requesting information from Tesla on all sorts of things related to its batteries and battery management. It’s all related to reports of fires in Model S and Model X vehicles. It’s not officially a Defect Investigation—yet. 

2018 Tesla Model S and 2018 Tesla Model X

The upcoming electric crossover from Fisker Inc now has a name: Ocean. And with a solar roof, a vegan interior, and a range-extender all potentially on the feature list—and a Henrik Fisker design—it could generate a lot of interest. 

And earlier in the week, Mini announced pricing for its upcoming Cooper SE electric car, due to reach dealerships next spring. 

2020 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop

2020 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop

Volkswagen teased another upcoming member of its fully ID family of vehicles. This one, a sedan or fastback, is all set for a concept-car reveal before the LA auto show in November. 

Some startup projects that have been delayed really do show up. One such example is the super-light Riversimple Rasa hydrogen fuel-cell car, now due next year for a lot of 20 to be delivered for final testing in a mix of uses.

And to another ambitious project, the Dutch firm behind the Lightyear One solar-supplemented electric car now claims a coefficient of drag of less than 0.20—potentially the most aerodynamic car on the market. 

Lightyear One

Lightyear One

There were several other pieces of fuel-cell news, focused around big rigs. Earlier this week, Hyundai presented its vision for “a groundbreaking futuristic architecture” for commercial trucks, first shown in the HDC-6 Neptune, a hydrogen fuel-cell Class 8 semi. The truck-engine maker Cummins has also been considering fuel cells; it too revealed a hydrogen fuel-cell-powered Class 8 semi concept. 

Tesla and ChargePoint, among others, are pushing commercial building owners to upgrade for charging when building or renovating, not later when regulations (or customer demand) require it. They save a lot of money, according to a sponsored whitepaper. 

We’re continuing to see suppliers emerge with new lines of components aimed at plug-in vehicles. Turbos are becoming useful energy devices in hybrid systems—potentially those of all kinds and layouts. The supplier BorgWarner showed what fun it could have with the Ariel Nomad off-roader by making it all-electric with its off-the-shelf components, and it revealed a new torque-vectoring system for EVs that could serve the same purpose as putting two motors at the back wheels—with less weight and cost, though. 

BorgWarner Ariel Nomad electric

BorgWarner Ariel Nomad electric

A study pointed to the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes region as having the most to gain in switching the grid over to more renewable energy. 

The Tesla Model 3 has gone through the hoops to be fully certified as a New York City yellow cab, on an unrestricted basis. 

Back at the beginning of the week, we brought you news of how Honda aims to rebrand its electrified vehicles—although not too fast, as the U.S. still opted in. 

And as another tease, Nissan has at last made a dual-motor Leaf—but you most definitely can’t buy it. 

Nissan Leaf+ twin motor prototype

Nissan Leaf+ twin motor prototype

One of the biggest surprises of the week was the move from GM and Toyota, joining FCA and others, to support the Trump administration’s single national standard and go against California’s right to regulate tailpipe emissions. 

Meanwhile, we continue to wait for more details on the Trump administration’s plans for fuel economy rules, and how it might incentivize vehicles without tailpipe emissions. EPA chief Andrew Wheeler had said the previous week, in an address in Detroit, that the revised emissions and fuel-efficiency rules should actually cap CO2 at a lower level—because of fewer loopholes. 

And Chuck Shumer introduced a way for the U.S. to catch up on electric vehicles and incentivize the ones that are made domestically. All it will take is $454 billion over 10 years. 

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