2020 Tesla Model Y, Mazda rotary, wider VW electric plans: The Week in Reverse

Tesla Model Y

Which two companies announced expanded lines of plug-in hybrids this week?

What big decision did Tesla take back?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending March 15, 2019.

The big news this week was Tesla’s unveiling of its long-awaited Model Y small, more affordable SUV. The car debuted in LA on Thursday night, complete with new specs and even pricing information. While we were there, we took a closer look at how the Model Y compares with the Model 3 on which it’s based.

2017 Tesla Model 3

Earlier in the week, Tesla reversed its earlier decision to close all its retail stores and instead announced price hikes across its model lineup, except for the most basic, $35,000 Model 3 by 3 percent to offset the continued cost of running its stores. The price hikes also counteracted three price cuts Tesla had made in recent months.

In Washington, President Trump released his latest budget, which if passed would eliminate the plug-in vehicle tax credit entirely, at least giving Tesla a level playing field with new competitors entering the electric-car market. The EPA released its fuel economy findings which showed that the average mpg of cars sold in 2017 rose by 0.2 mpg compared with 2016. The trend looks to be temporary, though, with Trump freezing fuel economy standards, and American consumers switching en masse to SUVs and pickups. And the EPA released a new proposal to expand the sales of E15 ethanol to more stations and for a longer duration throughout the year.

VW MEB platform

The SEC leveled new charges against Volkswagen in its diesel emissions scandal, alleging that it defrauded investors who bought bonds unaware of the company’s diesel emissions cheating. The charges come on top of those that VW has already settled with the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.

Volkswagen announced a second wave of new electric models based on its new, relatively affordable MEB electric-car architecture, which will boost the company’s electric offerings from 16 million cars across 50 new models to 22 million cars across 70 models—counting the company’s many other brands.

Mazda RX-Vision concept, 2015 Tokyo Motor Show

Mazda revealed plans to expand its lineup of plug-in hybrids that use Wankel rotary engine technology.

Startup automaker Karma, which builds the continuation of the Fisker Karma, announced two new models, which it will show at the Shanghai auto show next month, along with an updated Karma Revero, which will likely have bigger batteries for a longer all-electric range.

Fiat Concept Centoventi concept

Fiat confirmed that it will have a replacement for the cute, but aging 500e next year, and that it will likely be a more expensive, longer-range EV.

Jeep introduced two new plug-in hybrids for Europe that will electrify nearly the entire lineup by 2022.

Sono Sion solar assisted electric car

And German startup Sono revealed the production version of its Sion EV covered in solar panels, which it says can add an average of 12 miles a day of electric range.

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