Cheap Electric Cars, Used Hertz EVs, Ford Supercharging — 15 Top CleanTechnica Stories

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The constant stream of big cleantech stories has been flowing strong, and I’ve got about a dozen to highlight from the past couple of weeks as ones I wouldn’t want you to miss.

Before I get into the news, reviews, and writer rants, though, I have to note that we recently published two new reports! If you missed these announcements, check out The EV Safety Advantage and The State & Promise of EV Charging Infrastructure now!

Cheaper Rivians: Let’s start with Rivian, which recently unveiled not just the R3 but also the R2, a couple of very compelling and more affordable versions of the company’s R1S. See Jennifer’s and Steve’s great takes on these new models, and Rivian in general, for some expert analysis. I have to admit — I did not like the look of Rivian’s first vehicles at all when they were unveiled, and I was concerned they’d have very limited demand especially because of their quirky headlights (which I thought would appeal to software engineers in Seattle but not normal pickup truck drivers), but I absolutely love the R3. I’m surprised by that, and it also makes me hopeful for the future of Rivian.

Latin American EVs: The Latin American EV market is heating up (at last!), and Juan Diego Celemín Mojica is logging and analyzing the revolution like no one else here on CleanTechnica. Check out recent updates from Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia.

Tesla Model 3 at 100,000 Miles: My 2019 Tesla Model 3 is 44,481 miles, and I’m always curious how it will hold up in the coming years. No one can answer that for me, because every car is unique, but Jesper Berggreen gave us a stupendous update on his Model 3 ownership experience after 100,000 miles in Denmark. With detailed accounting and great writing, this is a must read.

Ford Supercharging: In a fascinating interview, we learned much more from Ford CEO Jim Farley about how Ford’s adoption of NACS and partnership with Tesla for Supercharging came about, and his thoughts on the transition more broadly. Thanks to Jennifer for the find and Tom Moloughney for the superb interview.

Waymo or No Waymo? We are in a funny place with autonomous vehicles. Some robotaxis are operating but with certain crutches (see: Waymo One, which get help from humans if something confuses them), others are on pause due to a big recent incident (see: Cruise), and others are potentially on the verge of coming to life or are based on a software & hardware approach that won’t work for years if ever (see: Tesla FSD). The good news on the Waymo front is that its robotaxi service Waymo One is now approved for operation in Los Angeles and on the San Francisco Peninsula and is now operating them in LA (as of March 14). The bad news is that drivers who are afraid of robotaxis jumped from 55% of respondents to a AAA survey in 2022 to 68% of respondents in 2023.

Tesla FSD & The Law: Tesla has gotten out of lawsuits about Autopilot and Full Self Driving (FSD) fairly unscathed for the past decade. However, Steve Hanley covered an angle that may change all of that. This could be a big blow to Tesla if the argument breaks through. Read the details from Mr. Hanley, a former lawyer, carefully in order to judge for yourself if this could be the case that breaks down the dam.

Climate Action in India: Mike Barnard is in India to help with climate action in the country, and he has a great piece analyzing the country’s efforts in this realm.

Hydrogen Folly: Mr. Barnard also did his regular duty of dismantling hydrogen hype in a couple of in-depth takedowns of hydrogen folly. For one, he noted that, EU projects “funded since 2008 to the tune of €1.2 billion haven’t been able to overcome reliability issues of vehicles and refueling stations, or reduce the cost of low-carbon hydrogen much at all, while battery-electric vehicles have proven to be more reliable, cheaper, and fit for purpose” — and yet they are looking to throw more money at it. Secondly, he dove into an NREL study for hydrogen use in heavy vehicles, and the results weren’t pretty.

Chargers at Stores: One of the most underserved and important areas for EV chargers is at retail stores. I know it, you know it, and Consumer Reports has just strongly argued its case on this as well. Unfortunately, in this sector, there’s basically one leader (IKEA) and a bunch of laggards. Come on, retailers, get with the times! It’s 2024, not 1924.

Cheaper EVs: One of the preeminent narratives in the EV sector these days — from CleanTechnica readers to automaker CEOs — is that we need more cheap electric cars. Now, there’s a lot of controversy about how we get those (especially when it comes to cheap Chinese electric vehicles that already exist), but we’re all aching for them. Volkswagen Group says it is aiming to do its part. It is working on cheap electric vehicles for the Volkswagen and Skoda brands. Naturally, the easiest response is: wake me up when they’re here. However, at least we have news that they are in development. (Speaking of cheaper EVs, this one won’t be a mass-market everyperson’s car, but the Nissan Ariya did get a big price cut recently. How will that boost sales?)

Government EV Leasing: Going deep into the history of EV leasing, KJ Gimbel, founder and CEO of Xcelerate Auto, told CleanTechnica more about his experience being the first to offer leasing on a Tesla, the first to support municipal leasing of Tesla vehicles, and the process and culture of public sector EV leasing today. I highly recommend listening to this podcast, one of the most interesting ones I remember for an EV nerd.

Used Hertz EVs: There’s a lot going around about what’s gone down at Hertz with electric rental cars, and we’ve covered it from many angles for months. But there’s now a big story coming out of that which is largely going under the radar: there are a lot of used electric cars on the market now, directly from Hertz even. For sure, there are deals to be had, and this is part of the broader EV revolution.

US solar booming: The US solar power market is booming, with solar installations skyrocketing in 2023. Much of this is thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, and much is due to decades of technological progress. However, like always, the future is heavily dependent on strong government policies.

Honda Prologue: Kyle Field got to test out the brand new Honda Prologue EV for CleanTechnica. Read through his honest take on the pros and the cons of this new EV from Honda.

World EV sales: Don’t miss a beat on the global EV market by checking out our latest World EV Sales Report. There’s no better place to get the big EV picture.

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