About the Author

Bradley Berman

Bradley writes about electric cars, autonomous vehicles, smart homes, and other tech that’s transforming society. He contributes to The New York Times, SAE International, Via magazine, Popular Mechanics, MIT Technology Review, and others.

Today

The simplicity of packaging electric motors directly into wheels is alluring. The possibilities for this solution date back a century to the earliest EVs. Several technical and economic challenges have held it back. (See unsprung mass.) But the latest company to tackle the problem is picking up speed. Haaretz reported today that Israel’s REE, an EV startup, is now raising money based on a $580 million valuation.

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Electric vehicles with large cabins suck up a lot of energy by running heat and AC. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory believes an EV’s climate control system can reduce the driving range by up to 50%. So Ford engineers in Europe are experimenting with psychological tricks that make passengers feel hotter and colder without actually depleting range.

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December 9

Nissan announced Monday that it outfitted a Leaf electric vehicle with thousands of LED holiday lights. The cool thing is that all those lights are powered by the EV’s regenerative braking. Sure, it’s a stunt – but it illustrates a good point about an EV’s ability to reclaim energy on the road. And it’s done in the spirit of the holidays. expand full story

The Toyota Motor Corporation will launch its first all-electric Lexus in 2020. Nikkei’s Asian Review confirmed that the Lexus UX300e battery-powered SUV will go on sale as soon as next spring in China. The UX300e will then debut in Europe in summer 2020 and Japan in early 2021.

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Conservative columnist Stephen Moore railed against federal electric-car tax credits over the weekend. In the Washington Times, Moore laid out his best arguments against bills designed to extend the $7,500 tax credit. He said EV credits are a tax cut for the rich that primarily benefit billionaire Elon Musk, and is a program rampant with fraud. The already diminished credit for Tesla vehicles disappears completely on January 1.

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December 8

Spy photos of the Mercedes-Benz EQS flagship EV were captured this week. The images are a reminder that Daimler is moving step by step toward an entire electric lineup — while the EV world fixates on the glittering Cybertruck. The Mercedes EQS large sedan (and EQC crossover before it) are paving the way to models that roughly line up against the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y.

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December 6

Volvo’s first all-electric vehicle, the XC40 Recharge, was originally designed to have a maximum battery size below 70 kilowatt-hours. But the Swedish automaker changed its decision after the Model 3 was introduced with a Long Range option. Volvo then upped the XC40 Recharge’s max battery size to 78 kilowatt-hours.

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China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Tuesday released its 15-year EV plan. The “draft development” plan sets a target for EVs to account for 25% of annual new light-vehicle sales by 2025 ­— with no targets specified beyond that year. That’s up from the 20% goal it set two years ago. But Beijing plans to continue phasing out consumer incentives. Instead, it will create EV quotas for carmakers to meet.

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December 5

When Reuters broke the news last night about GM’s $2.3 billion battery gigafactory, it made little mention of what vehicles the company will build with those batteries. We know there will be a GM electric pickup by 2021. But CEO Mary Barra said there will be “more than one product.”  Today’s news, plus a trickle of stories over the past year, paint a picture of GM’s EV future. It’s filled with trucks, upscale Cadillacs, and even an electric Hummer.

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December 4

Kia Motors UK this week announced that it has sufficient supply to clear an existing waiting list for 3,000 Niro EVs in Europe. It will take the company six months, through the middle of 2020, to make those deliveries.

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Under new leadership, Nissan wants to reclaim its leadership in electric vehicles. But it’s going to downplay affordable electric cars like the Leaf hatchback. Instead, newly minted CEO Makoto Uchida wants Nissan EVs to have robust features, long range, and higher prices that would bring higher profits. The new strategy will start with a new pure-electric crossover SUV, based on the Ariya concept, that would sell in Europe for the equivalent of between $55,000 and $78,000.

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December 3

The ICE bill was proposed by MPP Paul Calandra
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Canada’s Ontario province makes for a fascinating case study of EV adoption. On one hand, Ontario’s center-right government in July 2018 killed an EV rebate of up to $14,000 — and electric-car sales plummeted by 50%. The situation went postal in November 2018 when 12 EV charging stations were ripped out from a Toronto train station. Critics said the chargers were expensive and had low utilization. And then, last Thursday, EV-driving parliament members spoke up loud and clear in a debate over ICE-ing.

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A couple of weeks ago, Mercedes-Benz quietly announced the price for its all-electric EQC sports-utility vehicle. A $67,900 starting price for a luxurious, 200-mile, 402-horsepower luxury crossover is a good start for the EQC brand. But the announcement got completely lost in the shuffle in a week filled with buzz about Tesla’s bulletproof, stainless-steel Cybertruck. Even the deserved attention given to Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric SUV was cut short. So where does that leave the play-it-safe luxury electric SUVs from Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW?

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December 2

Fiat-Chrysler (FCA) is in discussions about using EV technology from Faraday Future and Seres (formerly SF Motors), according to a report last week by The Verge. Current and former FCA employees said that Faraday Future retrofitted FCA vehicles with its electric powertrain and started road testing. That effort follows months of reported meetings between FCA and Faraday Future. With an FCA-Peugeot merger in the works, are we seeing signs of a new EV consolidated effort?

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December 1

As expected, throngs of Thanksgiving holiday travelers pushed highways and airports to their limit this weekend. With the ranks of Tesla drivers growing by about 150,000 vehicles in the past year, queues also formed at some of the most popular Supercharger locations. The bad news? A few EV drivers had to wait in queues. The good news? It’s a known and solvable problem — with more chargers and faster-charging rates already under way.

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November 29

The Canoo electric urban van doesn’t get much attention, but it is moving apace along an accelerated production schedule. The company, led by former BMW EV leaders, put the beta version of its EV into road testing this month. Could it be a sleeper hit in the EV market?

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Scott Keogh, CEO of VW of America, said this month that the ID CROZZ will sell in the low- to mid-$30,000 range after a $7,500 federal tax credit. That suggests a pre-incentive sticker price of around $40,000 for the brand’s first high-volume, ground-up EV sold in the US. Keogh, who spoke with Automotive News at the LA Auto Show, also gave hits about sales volume.

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November 27

Tesla Cybertruck is disrupting the holiday season, see ugly Xmas sweaters

In case there wasn’t enough to argue with family about over this year’s Thanksgiving meal, add debates about the design of the Tesla Cybertruck. Love it (as a quarter-million buyers have) or hate it. But there’s no denying that the Brutalist Cybertruck has exploded into the American zeitgeist. You can celebrate its arrival and stir up a fight by sporting one of the many Cybertruck ugly Christmas sweaters available in time for Black Friday.

Los Angeles-based clean technology leaders yesterday announced its Zero Emissions 2028 Roadmap 2.0. Under the plan, the city known for massive traffic congestion would achieve an overall 25% reduction in greenhouse gases and air pollution by 2028 ­— beating targets established by California and the Paris Climate Accord. The plan will solidify LA’s position as an EV capital and further establish Mayor Eric Garcetti as a leading global proponent for vehicle electrification.

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November 26

Curse Electrify America (EA) if you want. Giovanni Palazzo, the CEO of the nationwide charging network, invites criticism if you have a terrible experience at an EA location. We spent a full hour last week with Palazzo, and COO Brendan Jones, discussing the challenges of creating an open nationwide network of ultra-fast EV chargers. Electrify America has made a lot of progress, but its leaders admit it has a long way to go to serve the next generation of EV drivers.

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