Audi Q8 E-Tron review, Rivian range boost, Tesla discount, ID.4 price hike: The Week in Reverse

How is metal foil the fix for the latest fire-related Chevy Bolt EV recall?

How can Porsche Taycan owners cut their home charging time in half?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending December 23, 2022.

The Audi E-Tron SUV and Sportback have been given a bigger battery, better efficiency, and faster charging as part of a revamp that includes a name change. In a review of the 2024 Audi Q8 E-Tron lineup, we found it repositioned right in the middle of a landscape including the BMW iX, Cadillac Lyriq, Mercedes EQS SUV, and Rivian R1S, among others. 

2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line (RWD)

2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line (RWD)

As we wound through our five finalists for Green Car Reports Best Car To Buy 2023—with the winner to be announced Jan. 4, we took a look at how the Genesis GV60 forges a new path for luxury EVs. Then we examined how the Kia EV6 pushes the bar a little higher, with a lot of panache. And the Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV isn’t perfect, but with three rows of seating, a true off-road mode, and more than 300 miles of range in some versions, it’s a standout. 

The 2024 Hyundai Kona lineup took a bow earlier this week, with Hyundai emphasizing this time that it’s an “EV-led design,” with a new Kona Electric and a Kona hybrid among the models on the way. Look for it to be larger all around, with lighting themes that borrow from the Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6 models’ “parametric pixel” look. 

2024 Hyundai Kona

2024 Hyundai Kona

The 2017-2023 Chevrolet Bolt has been recalled over fire concerns—yes, yet again. But this time it’s not battery-related or related in any way to electric propulsion. According to GM, the hot gases seat belt pretensioners can produce in a collision are enough to ignite the carpet. And the fix is foil.

Tesla has upped discounts on the Model 3 and Model Y to $7,500—plus 10,000 miles of free Supercharging. But before you rush out for the deal, be aware that not even $7,500 brings Model Y prices back where they were before all the price hikes of the past year. 

In the new year, prices on the 2023 Volkswagen ID.4 are being increased $1,500, VW confirmed Thursday. The across-the-board price hike applies to models built from Jan. 4 on, and it’s due to the rising costs of battery materials.

2023 Volkswagen ID.4

2023 Volkswagen ID.4

An upgrade offered on Porsche Taycan models going back to the 2020 model year can potentially cut their home charging time in half. The 19.2-kw onboard charger upgrade isn’t cheap, and it will require high-power home hardware capable of delivering that, but with it a full 240-volt charge can happen in less than five hours. 

Rivian has improved cold-weather livability with a Snow mode and preconditioning for its R1T and R1S electric trucks. And through a series of over-the-air updates it’s improved the range of its models enough to warrant a retest—boosting the R1T and R1S to 328 and 321 miles, respectively. That makes the R1T, by a few miles, the new longest-range electric pickup.

Rivian introduces Snow mode on R1T and R1S

Rivian introduces Snow mode on R1T and R1S

That wasn’t the only good news for Rivian this past week. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced that the Rivian R1T has earned the highest Top Safety Pick+ distinction. Applying to 2022 and 2023 R1T models—but not the R1S—the results confirm top crash-test scores plus top ratings for safety-related features like headlights and crash-prevention tech. 

With a $2.9 billion plan announced last week, California plans to double the number of public EV chargers over the next several years, as well as expand the charging infrastructure for electric buses and commercial trucks. 

There was surprisingly much coming from Washington, D.C., this past week. The EPA announced finalized emissions rules for heavy-duty trucks, buses, and vans. While they’re the toughest ever federal rules on soot and smog-forming emissions from diesel exhaust, they’re not as strict as California rules that are held up pending an EPA waiver. And the U.S. Postal Service has made another about-face from its plan to buy mostly internal-combustion delivery trucks for its next-generation fleet. Now it plans to only buy EVs from 2026 on, with 75% of its planned 60,000-vehicle fleet due to be fully electric.

USPS Next Generation Delivery Vehicle - Oshkosh Defense

USPS Next Generation Delivery Vehicle – Oshkosh Defense

U.S. Department of Energy research resulted in a recent paper summing up findings on EV charging infrastructure cybersecurity, and it finds a range of vulnerabilities—perhaps serving as more of a call to action for hardware makers and networks, as most such security reports up until now have been sponsored by companies with services to sell.

2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV

2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV

And automakers, dealerships, and shoppers continue to be confused over what EV tax credit amount shoppers might be eligible for starting Jan. 1, and for what model. This week, the U.S. Treasury Department delayed the release of guidance on EV tax credit qualifications until March 2023. Although the 200,000-unit ceiling that’s kept GM and Tesla buyers from claiming the credit will lift Jan. 1, it’s not yet clear whether that will hold back $3,750 of the potential $7,500 total credit over a critical battery mineral content factor yet to be defined.

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