Tesla safety, Ford plug-ins, electric-car myths, Smart exit: The Week in Reverse

2017 Tesla Model 3, in photo tweeted by Elon Musk on July 9, 2017

Which company made active driver safety aids standard on their cars?

What model got a new variant just for Canada?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending May 3, 2019.

It was a big week for green car news, from California to Michigan.

In the latest move away from its old promises for Autopilot, Tesla announced that it will make active lane control standard on all its models—even without the Autopilot option. Putting drivers back in primary control may alleviate future concerns that led to a fatal accident last year by a man whose family sued Tesla after he died in a Tesla Model X using an older version of Autopilot.

Tesla Lane Departure Avoidance screen

Following slower sales this year, Tesla announced that it will raise more cash to keep expanding operations, and CEO Elon Musk bought in big. Musk also settled his long-running (and reopened) dispute with the SEC with a new, more specific agreement about his use of Twitter and other social media sites.

Tesla also announced a new ultra-short range version of its Model 3, designed to qualify for the new federal tax credit in Canada. It will go 93 miles on a charge, but if buyers there want it they’ll have to call Tesla or visit a store. This week Volvo’s high-performance and electric Polestar division also revealed to Green Car Reports that its cars will be registered as a separate brand, earning an additional set of tax credits from the US government.

2020 BMW 745e xDrive iPerformance

Several automakers also released more specs and details about upcoming electric and hybrid models for 2020 and beyond. Toyota announced that its 2020 Prius Prime plug-in hybrid will come with a fifth seat as well as some other new features. In an interview, a Toyota executive also ran down how the new 2020 Highlander Hybrid manages to get the fuel economy of a compact car. 

The 2020 BMW 745e plug-in hybrid earned range and fuel-efficiency ratings. We ran down all the new electric models coming up from Ford. General Motors CEO Mary Barra confirmed the company’s plans to build its own all-electric pickup. And Faraday Future found new funding to keep going in its pursuit of building the new $300,000 FF91 electric luxury car.

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

Building electric cars isn’t smooth sailing for every automaker, though. Chinese Faraday Future (and Tesla) rival Nio laid off employees in California. Mercedes-parent Daimler gave up on selling electric (or any) Smart cars in the US. And Audi is already offering discounts on its electric E-tron quattro SUV, within days of its arrival at dealerships.

2019 Smart Fortwo

As we celebrated another Earth Day last month, Green Car Reports readers weighed in on how soon it will be unacceptable in their social circles to drive a car with a tailpipe. Although the Green New Deal has gained no traction in Washington, Los Angeles went ahead with its own version of the plan. And the EPA, after spending the last two years deflecting discussions on climate change, released a memo warning communities to prepare for it. 

To promote that preparation—or perhaps even to reduce the need for it—our editor emeritus, took a few minutes to debunk seven common myths about electric cars. Much more than the chain e-mail that was its starting seed, it’s worth sharing. 


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