Tesla’s China surge, Byton’s ramp-up, EPA’s dirty pushback, downturn’s effects: The Week in Reverse


Which carmaker doesn’t see itself as a rival to Tesla?

Which new plug-in hybrid failed to achieve the EPA mpg ratings of its non-hybrid counterpart?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending April 17, 2020.

As the global pandemic continued but officials started the discussion of resuming more sectors of business, several analysts and consulting firms didn’t waste any time to already try to sum up the ensuing downturn’s effects on the green-car sector. One survey suggested that it might already be leading automakers to pull back on R&D spending—in ways that might not affect the products coming soon, but e-mobility innovation later in the decade. And sagging oil prices and the downturn could hit the electric-car market harder than the general market, according to other recent research from Wood Mackenzie. 

During the lung-related pandemic, with mortality recently linked to fine particulate pollution, the EPA this week rejected the possibility of tighter standards. 

Tesla Cybertruck prototype – Nov. 2019

Even as some regions and cities are in the midst of public-health emergencies, several central-U.S. cities—most notably, Joplin, Missouri—wooed Tesla over the possibility of a Cybertruck factory. Tesla managed to take nearly a third of the electric car market in China for the first quarter of 2020. It likely has something to do with how Tesla reported its best Q1 ever. 

There were a few new products to report. At the end of the week, Porsche started delivering its most affordable version of the Taycan, the 4S, and true to expectations, versus higher-performance versions of the Taycan it does deliver more miles of range. Just not that many more. 

Byton M-Byte - pre-production

Byton M-Byte – pre-production

Byton also confirmed this week that it’s ramping up pre-production of its M-Byte electric SUV at its plant in Nanjing, China, with deliveries still expected in the U.S. starting in the second half of 2021. Byton also partnered up with Qmerit—the same company GM and BMW are using—for home charge point installation. It could complement nicely with the unlimited-charging program it’s announced with Electrify America, another Qmerit partner. 

Mercedes-Benz is pushing out a full line of plug-in hybrids—20 of them by the end of 2020—although just a few of them stand any chance of arriving in the U.S. 

2021 BMW 330e

2021 BMW 330e

And the 2021 BMW 330e—that’s the latest plug-in hybrid version of the 3-Series sport sedan—has more electric-only range than its predecessor but fails to make sense versus the higher-mpg non-hybrid by any other kind of spec-smart comparison. 

The R&D boss at Porsche recently reiterated a statement that’s been made by the German sports-car brand’s executives before—that it doesn’t see Tesla as a rival. 

The Formula E racing series recently took on a number of electric-car myths and misconceptions with enthusiast flair. 

In the new ideas department, we looked at a novel idea that takes advantage of flexible solar films—as a range-generating solar car cover.

An upcoming race series called Airspeeder, due to start by the end of the year, is taking electric-car competition airborne.  

Airspeeder eVTOL race series

Airspeeder eVTOL race series

And in safety-related news: Some 2019-2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric cars have been recalled for an issue in which rolling down the window could cause the door to open. 

Unsure about electric cars and pacemakers? A research team checked out a group of them for magnetic interference—more comprehensively than before—and they’re good. Keep them away from high-power charging, though.

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