Faster fast chargers, Hyundai fuel cells, Prius and e-tron drives: The Week in Reverse

2019 Audi e-tron first drive – Abu Dhabi UAE, December 2018

Which company’s promised new diesel SUV won’t be coming to America after all?

What technology did Green Car Reports find we were happy won’t make it to America in an electric car?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending Dec. 14, 2018.

News this week centered around the arrival of new faster chargers, more climate news, fuel cells from Korea, and a couple of chances to take first drives in new green cars—and, of course, new promises from Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Electrify America DC fast chargers at San Francisco Premium Outlets, Livermore, California


Volkswagen’s electric-car support division, Electrify America, installed its first 350-kw fast charger in California, even though cars won’t be ready for it for another 18 months. (It wasn’t the only one, but more on that news next week.) Such 350-kw chargers are the fastest commercially available, but Porsche and BMW teamed up with other German electric-car proponents to create an even faster 450-kw fast-charge demonstration project outside Dresden, Germany.

Smokestacks pollution air quality

With the COP24 climate conference wrapping up in Poland, it’s becoming clear that automakers and policy makers are not acting nearly quickly enough to minimize global-warming emissions by introducing electric cars and charging stations. Eight out of 13 of Europe’s largest automakers face billions in fines for falling behind the continent’s strict global-warming emissions standards as they focus on cleaning up diesel emissions instead.

At least companies are moving forward with electric plans. Audi announced that it will develop a more affordable electric model based on Volkswagen soon-to-be ubiquitous MEB affordable electric-car architecture. Think of it as the e-A3.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration, which is promoting coal at the climate talks, proposed to lower emissions standards from coal-fired powerplants in the U.S.

2019 Hyundai Nexo, Topanga Canyon, CA, Oct 2018

South Korean automaker Hyundai revealed that its new Santa Fe mid-size SUV won’t get a diesel version in the U.S., after market research showed that American buyers have soured on diesels.

Instead, the company is focusing on fuel cells. Hyundai is moving to build more fuel cells for applications outside of cars, such as stationary storage, buses, and possibly even ships. The company also announced pricing for its new fuel-cell powered Nexo SUV. The Nexo will be the first fuel-cell car that consumers can actually buy—not just lease—albeit for a lofty $59,345. We had a chance to drive the Nexo back in October.

2019 Audi e-tron first drive – Abu Dhabi UAE, December 2018

We drove several other new green cars this week, starting with the Toyota Prius e-AWD, which goes almost as many miles on a gallon of gas as the regular Prius and launches from a stop in the snow just fine, thank you very much. We also had a chance to drive the new Audi e-tron quattro SUV in the Arabian desert last week. While we were impressed with the car, its new side-view camera mirrors left us second guessing ourselves—and Audi’s decision to include them. At least they won’t make it to U.S. models for now. 

2017 Tesla Model S testing at Consumer Reports

Tesla announced that it will refund customers’ order deposits if the company can’t deliver their cars before the end of the year, when federal tax credits will be reduced. And the company’s CEO, Musk, said Tesla’s Autopilot system on cars built since 2016 will be able to commute door to door, from office to home and back without driver intervention “soon.” 

Rivian R1T electric pickup concept

Going back to news from the beginning of the week, electric startup automaker Rivian announced that it will launch a third model, an electric off-road rally car, after its initial pickup and SUV go on sale. 


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