Honda Accord Hybrid review, Hyundai EV subscription, $2,000 EV conversion credit: The Week in Reverse

Which upcoming solar EV was crash-tested?

Which EV maker is now offering a $7,500 “EV credit?”

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending February 11, 2023.

In a first drive of the 2023 Honda Accord Hybrid, we found that while this longtime top-selling sedan isn’t as distinctive as its predecessor, it’s improved in efficiency, refinement, and most measures that matter on the drive. It’s sportier, too. 

The Lexus RZ 450e has been priced starting at $59,650, and while that makes it no great value, this first U.S.-bound EV from Lexus loads on the features and appears to offer the luxury ambience those loyal to the brand see as a hallmark. 

2023 Lexus RZ 450e

2023 Lexus RZ 450e

The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid was revealed this week with seating for up to eight and fuel economy up to 34. With just a little more space at the third row and cargo area, it should bring families who considered the Highlander in the first place more of what they’re looking for.

Electrify America last week announced nationwide price hikes for EV fast-charging that add up to about 15% more for frequent customers. The higher rates do correlate to a higher cost of electricity across the U.S. versus a year earlier—although there’s none of the extreme volatility of gas prices. 

Electrify America charging site

Electrify America charging site

Production announcements continued to pile in—but the emphasis was south of the border for this week’s news. Next-generation Neue Klasse EVs from BMW will be made in Mexico starting in 2027, the company confirmed earlier this week. It’s likely Mexico will make the vast majority of U.S.-bound EVs built on the upcoming dedicated platform underpinning smaller to midsize EVs and using cylindrical battery cells.

A Tesla EV and battery plant for Mexico is also in the works, according to multiple reports. While the reports don’t agree on exactly where within Mexico that facility might be, it’s the latest in a series of operations shifts that may help automakers get an American sourcing and materials advantage. 

And a battery plant set to be run by Ford but use technology from China’s CATL is reportedly set for Michigan. Due to make LFP cells, potentially for the Mustang Mach-E and other models, it could be a key to Ford EV affordability

2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E

Has an EV price war already arrived? Based on a series of recent statements from automakers, even as some of them, including Ford, struggle with supply-chain issues and the EV production ramp, it seems so. But as analysts recently pointed out, Big 3 automakers will need the cash-cow profits of full-size pickups in order to support investments in EVs. 

Another sign of heated-up price competition arrived from the upper ranges of the EV market. Lucid announced a $7,500 “EV credit” applying to some versions of the Air Touring and Air Grand Touring—if they’re ordered by the end of March. Sound familiar to something Tesla tried in December?

2023 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

2023 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

Subaru has confirmed to Green Car Reports that there is no plan for a Crosstrek Hybrid beyond 2023. A new-generation Crosstrek made its debut Thursday, and with the recent arrival of the Solterra, plus California’s tighter requirements for upcoming plug-in hybrids, the 17-mile PHEV was already living on borrowed time. 

Hyundai will soon once again offer electric vehicles via a monthly subscription, with a single payment that includes insurance, roadside assistance, and maintenance. Based on 1,000 monthly miles, Hyundai’s Evolve+ EV subscription starts at $699 a month for the Kona Electric and $899 a month for the Ioniq 5.

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5

According to Volkswagen’s top U.S. executive, the brand is considering either a hybrid or plug-in hybrid pickup truck for America. Timing is unclear, and the project appears to close the door on the VW electric truck that had been seriously on the table before the formation of a standalone Scout brand. 

Volkswagen also this week recalled more than 20,000 U.S. ID.4 EVs from the 2021 model year for an issue that could suddenly shut down the drive system. While VW has had various software-related issues, this is the first one affecting propulsion.

Sono Sion crash test

Sono Sion crash test

In a first crash-test of the Sono Sion, the company found that the panels “behave as predicted,” it said, with no additional risk to occupants or bystanders. That’s an important achievement for this first mass-produced solar electric car, with solar panels integrated within all its body panels. 

California legislators have proposed a bill, supported by SEMA, that would offer residents a rebate of up to $2,000 for converting gasoline cars to EVs. That helps with an inconvenient truth: that even if California shifts to EVs as rapidly as planned, it needs to shift the already-in-use fleet away from internal combustion, too. 

964-generation Porsche 911 Cabriolet electric conversion by Everrati

964-generation Porsche 911 Cabriolet electric conversion by Everrati

Google claims that its Maps navigation now distinguishes “very fast” chargers of 150 kw or higher, as part of EV route planning in models with Google built-in that may approach the functionality built into Tesla models. 

And Stellantis revealed two new teaser photos of the production Ram 1500 REV electric truck, and much more info and a full look is due Super Bowl Sunday—that’s today. 

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