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 International Energy Agency (IEA) released its annual report yesterday. The Paris-based intergovernmental organization points to electric vehicles as instrumental in curbing global emissions. Unfortunately, those gains are being fundamentally undercut by the dramatic rise in SUVs.

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November 12

Volkswagen breaks ground Wednesday on its Tennessee plant that will produce two battery-powered cars, according to Reuters. Plans for the $800 million investment in the Chattanooga plant were first announced in January. The ground-breaking shows that Volkswagen is intent on achieving its goal of producing 50 million electric cars in the next several years.

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Starting December 3, California EV buyers purchasing vehicles with a price exceeding $60,000 will not qualify for the state’s $2,500 clean-vehicle rebate. The change will eliminate rebates for the Audi e-tron and Jaguar i-Pace — as well as many models from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Tesla. Plug-in hybrids with less than 35 miles of all-electric range will also become ineligible. 

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November 11

Mercedes-Benz yesterday released an environmental report on its EQC electric vehicle. Much of the report focuses on its full life cycle of CO2 emissions, from the mining of raw materials to final disposal. Only about half of the vehicle’s impact occurs while on the road. The environmental report came two days after Mercedes-Benz launched the EQC in Beijing.

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Tesla’s Cybertruck gets revealed in 10 days. We know it will have incredible performance in a straight line, and that Elon will trumpet its zero-to-60 number. But a vehicle’s offroad capability is more about handling. Whether or not Tesla can steal electric-truck thunder back from Rivian will be based on a simple metric: how many motors are on board the Cybertruck. expand full story

November 10

There’s no doubt that Honda fell behind on electric cars. Beat up the company as much as you like about its meager EV offerings to date. But also consider signs that the Japanese automaker is slowly correcting its course. In addition to introducing the small Honda E in Europe next year, Honda is working on a second EV for about 2022. Other small victories include quitting diesel, putting hydrogen indefinitely on hold, and agreeing with California’s emissions standards.  expand full story

November 8

Electric-car naysayers jump to the conclusion that California EV drivers were stranded during recent power outages. But Carleen Cullen, executive director of Cool the Earth, used juice from her two EVs to keep critical appliances running during fire season.

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John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, last week said that its Detroit plant is now in operation. Waymo is busily outfitting fleets of Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrids with self-driving tech. It’s a big step toward realizing traditional automakers’ greatest fear: getting reduced to being just a hardware provider. expand full story

November 7

Ola Källenius, chairman of Daimler and head of Mercedes-Benz, confirmed today that the company will produce an all-electric version of the iconic G-Class wagon. Källenius made the commitment to the G-Class EV while speaking at Automobilwoche Kongress in Berlin.

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China-based Byton revealed its high-tech, all-electric M-Byte SUV nearly two years ago. We took our first ride a year later. Now, as the company moves toward sales in China in 2020, we spoke with Jose Guerrero, managing director of Byton Americas, to discuss its digital-first, go-to-market strategy in the US.

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November 6

Volvo Cars announced today that it would become the first carmaker to implement global traceability of cobalt by applying blockchain technology. The Swedish carmaker said that it reached an agreement with its two global battery suppliers, CATL of China and LG Chem of South Korea, to trace cobalt supplies starting this year.

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The adaptive charging method offered by software maker Qnovo ensures battery health for tens of millions of smartphones. Now the company wants to bring the same algorithms to EVs. Should we stop waiting for pie-in-the-sky breakthroughs in cell chemistry or solid-state EV batteries?

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November 5

Hardcore EV fans might easily dismiss the $156,500, limited-edition Polestar 1 as a piece of eye candy. And Polestar deserves scrutiny for debuting the electric brand with this vehicle, which has a gas engine and a battery providing a relatively modest range of about 65 miles for an EV.

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The Polestar electric performance brand is led by a chief executive who rose through industry ranks as a car designer. That’s an unusual path to the CEO’s chair. Thomas Ingenlath had lead design roles at Audi, Volkswagen, and Skoda before becoming head of design at Volvo in 2012 — and then chief executive of Polestar in 2017.

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November 4

2020 Toyota Prius Prime
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The Toyota Prius Prime might offer only 25 miles of electric range. And its gas engine might come on randomly and too often making its EV status debateable. But there’s no denying that the Toyota plug-in hybrid outsells every other EV and PHEV in the US except for the Tesla Model 3 (Model 3 wins there, by a factor of 7). Now there’s evidence on PriusChat.com that Toyota isn’t offering nearly enough Prius Primes to meet demand. expand full story

The Q Inspiration and Qs Inspiration
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After promising an Infiniti electric car for nearly a decade, Infiniti unveiled plans last week for three new battery-powered models in the next few years. The vague plans prominently feature a technical design that Infiniti and its parent brand, Nissan, describe as an EV. But the so-called e-Power vehicles don’t offer a way to plug in.

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November 2

This week’s announcement of a 50-50 merger between the PSA Groupe and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) could create the world’s fourth-largest automaker. A big winner in the marriage is vehicle electrification.

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November 1

EV fans are accustomed to Henrik Fisker making plans for ground-breaking electric vehicles. We want Mr. Fisker to succeed. But there’s a telltale sign that the economic fundamentals of his new EV aren’t quite worked out: It’s offered only “in a flexible lease,” a scheme commonly described as a car subscription. expand full story

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