Green Car

Wrangler 4xe winter drive, Mazda rotary details, GM small electric truck: The Week in Reverse

Which automaker revealed this week that some of its front-wheel-drive EVs are going rear-wheel-drive?

Which charging network did Shell announce plans to buy?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending January 20, 2023.

The 2023 Jeep Wrangler 4xe is the king of the plug-in hybrid off-roaders for practicality. And in a recent test drive, while we found it’s easy to rack up the electric miles, it’s also hard to keep the gas engine off with plenty of charge, amid blizzard conditions. 

Volvo has announced the return of rear-wheel drive, in range-boosted single-motor EVs. The configuration returns in 2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge models, although U.S. details and availability are yet to be set. 

Mazda MX-30 R-EV

Mazda revealed some technical details regarding its rotary range-extended MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV, and it provides a puzzling set of components and mixed signals. It’s a vehicle that Americans, quite literally, might not get. 

GM is considering the addition of a $30,000 compact electric pickup to its lineup. The project is reportedly part of a design-based project to examine future affordable EVs.

GM electric pickup silhouette - from 2020 Ultium platform preview

GM electric pickup silhouette – from 2020 Ultium platform preview

Shell announced this week that it will buy Volta, the network providing free ad-supported EV charging. Volta joins Greenlots and Ubitricity, among the oil giant’s recent EV charging acquisitions. 

Could hydrogen fuel-cell tech replace aircraft jet engines for cleaner passenger air travel? With cryogenic hydrogen storage and a “megawatt-class propulsion system,” Airbus is working on the possibility—and a flight test of the idea by the middle of this decade.

Airbus ZeroE platform

Airbus ZeroE platform

With more polluting pre-2010 diesel big rigs now banned in California, the state is fining operators still using them and denying registration. It’s part of regulations implemented more than a year ago. 

In-wheel motor maker Elaphe and McLaren Applied Technologies together claim that a partnership will result in a new generation of in-wheel motors and coordinated inverters that could help maximize efficiency and make EVs hyper-responsive.”

Aptera-Elaphe partnership

Aptera-Elaphe partnership

The rental car giant Hertz plans to funnel thousands of EVs to major U.S. cities. Along with that, it’s aiming to install supporting charging infrastructure in actual neighborhoods—with Denver as the first rollout city. 

Nikola has developed a trailer-mounted mobile hydrogen fueling rig for fuel-cell trucks. The company is due to show it at an event next week, and what could essentially be a large tank is looking like a stopgap solution as Nikola delivers more trucks before hydrogen stations arrive. 

Toyota AE86 BEV and H2 concepts

Toyota AE86 BEV and H2 concepts

Toyota has built two zero-tailpipe-emissions versions of 1980s Corolla GT-S coupes—one with a battery electric powertrain and the other with a hydrogen combustion engine. The project aims to show that retrofitting older cars is a possibility. 

And although the shift from passenger cars to SUVs continues, a rare few in the industry see the trend reversing in the future. One of them is the CEO of Citroën, who recently said that SUVs are “done” due to EVs—because of cars’ better aerodynamics and the need to deliver maximum range with minimum battery cost. Just tell that to Citroën’s wildly successful, SUV-focused corporate cousin, Jeep. 

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