About the Author

Jameson Dow

Jameson has been driving electric vehicles since 2009, and has been writing about them and about clean energy for electrek.co since 2016.

You can contact him at jamie@electrek.co

Jameson Dow's Favorite Gear

December 4

Einride, a Swedish company focusing on autonomous electric trucks, announced today that their next-generation Pod will use NVIDIA’s “Orin” processor for autonomous driving.

Last year, Einride became the first company to make deliveries with a completely driverless heavy truck on public roads with their first-generation T-Pod heavy truck. Their next-generation Pod, available for reservation now and shipping next year, features new functionality and design changes over the original vehicle.

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Japan plans to phase out sales of new gasoline-powered vehicles by the mid-2030s, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

The plan is not yet finalized (expect more info by the end of the year), and will still allow for sales of conventional gas-powered hybrids. So this is a step forward, but resembles China’s recently announced gas car ban that doesn’t actually ban gas cars.

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December 3

Volvo officially started North American commercial sales of its VNR electric heavy truck today, ahead of production, which will start in “early 2021.”

The truck will be available in three configurations: a single-axle box truck with 33,200lb GCWR, and two tractor configurations, a 4×2 with 66,000lb and a 6×2 with 82,000lb GCWR.

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It’s happened yet again: Another EV sold out before it launched. This time, it’s the upcoming Opel Mokka-e that is sold out in Europe, even though the car won’t hit the road until next March. Opel says they were “totally surprised” by the demand and were expecting a “high-four-digit” number of sales next year.

Opel is not the first company to experience this. GM, Ford, Porsche, VW, and others have all had a hard time meeting initial demand for their vehicles, or sold them out well in advance of launch. So if this keeps happening, what’s it going to take to convince manufacturers that consumers want electric cars?

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December 2

Last month we reported on rumors that BMW had greenlit development of a high-performance “GP” version of the electric Mini. Today BMW announced that the car is indeed being worked on, but it will be designated as a “John Cooper Works” model, a name reserved for the brand’s highest-performance, track-ready vehicles.

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December 1

This is the new hybrid version of the Fiat 500.
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60% of Fiat’s car models will be “electrified” — either conventional hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or full electric — by the end of next year, according to a presentation by the company’s European brand chief Luca Napolitano reported by Reuters. Napolitano claims that this is “better than the market average.”

While many companies have been making similar commitments, often using the weasel word “electrify” that includes conventional hybrids that still rely entirely on petroleum for movement, Fiat’s commitments are notable, considering their recent history as EV opponents, formerly headed by Sergio Marchionne, who was a famously anti-EV figure.

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November 19

GM has committed to an additional $7 billion in funding for electric car and autonomous vehicle programs and will launch 30 new EV models globally through 2025, CEO Mary Barra announced today. Two-thirds of these new EV models will be available in North America, and 40%(!) of GM’s US model line will be battery electric vehicles by 2025. GM also announced it would be moving its US debut of the Cadillac Lyriq SUV up from late 2022 to early 2022.

But GM has been making a lot of announcements lately, yet if you go to a GM dealership today, there’s a very small chance you’ll see an EV. Should we take GM at its word?

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November 17

California has refreshed its “Clean Fuel Rewards” program, increasing the amount to $1,500 upfront (no application required) and simplifying availability to customers statewide. The new incentive is available for any eligible electric vehicle (including motorcycles!) purchased from a participating retailer starting today, November 17.

As this is a refresh of California’s previous Clean Fuel program, which was a collaboration between the California Air Resources Board and electric utility providers, those previous utility programs will disappear at the end of this year. But other incentives still exist, and until the end of the year, the utility incentives are still active — which means customers who buy before December 31 may be able to double-up and save an extra grand or so.

Update: SCE has reached out to clarify that their $1k rebate does not stack with the new $1,500 incentive, and other utility incentives likely don’t either. While CARB said that both incentives can be used on the same car, SCE itself doesn’t allow customers to take both incentives. So check with your individual utility to see if their programs stack.

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November 10

After four years of being filled by such industry mouthpieces as corrupt oil stooge Scott Pruitt and lying dirty coal advocate Andrew Wheeler, it looks like the Environmental Protection Agency is set to resume its actual purpose of protecting the environment come Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.

While Biden’s selection for EPA head has not yet been announced, one name that should be familiar to electric car enthusiasts is reportedly on the short list: Mary Nichols, head of California’s Clean Air Resources Board (CARB).

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November 2

The all-electric MINI Cooper SE will get a high performance “GP” version, according to BMWBLOG.

While no specific details are available yet, BMWBLOG claims their “extremely reliable source” says the car has been green-lit and is currently in development.

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October 28

Lordstown Motors has released a video of its Endurance electric pickup truck in a tug of war battle against a 2019 Ford F-150 Lariat EcoBoost.

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October 27

China plans to require that all new cars sold after 2035 be eco-friendly “new energy vehicles” according to Nikkei Asia. The plans were announced in a future road map for new energy vehicles and will be regulated under China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The specifics of the plan state that as of 2035, 50% of new cars sold in the country will be either electric, plug-in hybrid, or fuel cell vehicles, and 50% of new cars will be conventional hybrids, which still run entirely on gasoline.

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October 2

Honda has announced that it will withdraw from Formula One as an engine supplier, stating that it wants to focus more of its R&D towards fuel cells and battery electric vehicles instead of combustion engines. They will continue supplying Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Alpha Tauri until the end of the 2021 season.

Honda says that this change in focus is intended to facilitate their “realization of carbon neutrality by 2050.”

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October 1

A dealer cheat sheet for the upcoming VW ID.4 electric SUV has been leaked, and it shows that the company considers gas SUVs, rather than electric SUVs like the Mustang Mach-E, Tesla Model Y, and upcoming Nissan Ariya, as its direct competitors.

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Bob Murray, ex-CEO of the now-bankrupt Murray Energy, has filed for black lung benefits, as reported today by West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Murray Energy was once the largest private coal mining company in the US, and Murray, who spent decades as a coal miner himself, is currently dying of black lung.

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September 29

VW’s online configurator for the ID.4 is out, and a new detail has emerged about the car’s towing capabilities. It looks like all ID.4 models will have some towing capability, with the RWD model sporting 2,200lb capacity and the AWD model 2,700lbs. All models will have roof rails as an additional exterior storage solution.

The AWD model will be available mid-2021 as a $3,680 upgrade, for a base price of $43,675 before incentives.

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September 28

VW ID.4 in Foster City, CA. Provided by reddit user awang44
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We got our first look of the upcoming VW ID.4 at a private event last week, but now the car has shown up in public. Over the weekend, it was spotted by reddit user awang44 in a parking lot for a public park in Foster City, California, just a few miles from VW’s Innovation and Engineering Center in Belmont.

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September 23

California Governor Gavin Newsom has just announced a ban on the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles starting in 2035. The state will require all new cars and trucks sold after that date to be zero emission vehicles. Californians will still be able to operate gas-powered vehicles after that date, and will still be able to buy and sell used gas cars.

This move is the most aggressive yet-announced in the US, and will have major effects for the auto industry as a whole, given California’s leadership on clean air issues. But the thing is: it should be even more aggressive.

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Drive Electric Week is going online this year — on its 10th anniversary — with events centered around electric vehicle advocacy. Most events will be virtual, though some local in-person events will be held — far fewer than in previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic (wear your masks!). A full list and map of events can be found on Plug In America’s website.

The week kicks off Thursday, September 24, at 5 p.m. PDT/8 p.m. EDT, with an “all-star” event featuring longtime EV advocates Bill Nye and Leilani Munter. Its host will be NPR’s Peter Sagal. It will be streamed on Facebook Live (no account required to watch). Register here to get more information via email, or find the event on Sierra Club’s Facebook page.

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July 7

AC Cars, the British carmaker behind the one of the most beautiful and famous cars of all time, the AC Cobra, is making a fully electric Cobra. It will be the first electric car made by AC.

The car will sell for £138,000 and only 58 will be made.

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