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EV Innovations and Challenges: Rivian’s New Models, Toyota’s Hybrid Wagon, and the Snail’s Pace of U.S. EV Charging Network Expansion

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Reviews of Rivian R1 and Toyota Crown Signia, American-produced Volvo, Hyundai, Kia Electric Vehicles: A Recap of the Week

What is the safety level of the largest, most fuel-consuming SUVs?

What's causing the delays in the $7.5 billion federal electric vehicle charging initiative?

Here's our recap of the most recent happenings, reviewed at Green Car Reports, as we reflect on the past week concluding on June 6, 2024.

This past week was filled with exciting opportunities to get a closer look at some eagerly awaited new electric vehicles (EVs) and to cover key news for eco-friendly car buyers. On Thursday, Rivian unveiled plans for its more accessible R2 line, enhancing the design of its electric trucks with the second generation improvements. These include making them more comfortable, better-performing, lighter, and simpler. The 2025 models of the Rivian R1S SUV and R1T pickup will come in various configurations, including Dual-, Tri-, and Quad-Motor options, along with Standard (LFP), Large, and Max battery options. As per Green Car Reports, testing these vehicles on the road, through muddy conditions, and on the drag strip demonstrated that these enhancements create a significantly more attractive product.

2025 Toyota Crown Signia

Are you in the market for a spacious, gas-electric hybrid station wagon that offers close to 40 miles per gallon? Toyota's latest offering, the 2025 Crown Signia, might be just what you're looking for. Priced at approximately $45,000, this vehicle provides a cozy, more sedan-like option for families, contrasting with the squarer Highlander Hybrid.

During the recent unveiling of the electric Jeep Wagoneer S SUV, company leaders announced forthcoming extended-range editions of the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer 4xe. These models will feature sizable plug-in battery packs yet will retain their three-row seating configuration. Considering Jeep's strategy to introduce a variety of hybrid and electric vehicles, the multitude of possible configurations is extensive. However, remarks from executives suggest there might be some missteps in the sequence of these rollouts, particularly in terms of matching the most suitable plug-in model with specific needs.

2024 Jeep Wagoneer Overview

In a related update, the CEO of Stellantis, which owns Jeep, announced at an investor conference last week that Jeep will soon be launching an electric vehicle priced at $25,000 in the United States.

On Friday, the federal government announced new fuel efficiency standards for vehicle fleets covering the years 2027 to 2031. These standards aim to enhance the average miles per gallon (mpg) for vehicles, though the increase is less substantial than initially planned. The regulations also set less stringent goals for trucks and SUVs, and offer automakers numerous incentives for electric vehicles (EVs).

Production of the 2025 Volvo EX90 starts in South Carolina

This week, Volvo announced the commencement of production for the 2025 Volvo EX90 electric SUV in South Carolina. The first deliveries to U.S. customers are expected in the latter half of the year. Additionally, Hyundai and Kia are gearing up to bring their American-made electric vehicles to market soon. Production of the Kia EV9 began last week in the U.S., and Hyundai's first electric vehicle produced in the U.S., the Ioniq 5, has been officially confirmed. There is, however, uncertainty about whether these vehicles will be eligible for the entire $7,500 EV tax credit.

This week, Senator Joe Manchin renewed his criticism of the Biden administration's regulations on electric vehicle (EV) tax credits. He urged for stricter enforcement of the requirements for domestic battery content, which had been relaxed for a two-year period. Additionally, Manchin has expressed concerns over the "leasing loophole" in the tax credits, which, he argues, results in federal subsidies for luxury EVs manufactured abroad.

This week in Europe, Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis both halted their battery projects as they possibly shift focus towards more affordable electric vehicles, reflecting a decrease in demand particularly for high-end electric models.

2024 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV 580 4Matic

Mercedes-Benz has issued a recall for almost 15,000 electric vehicles due to a software glitch that could cause the high-voltage system to turn off. The problem stems from an error in the vehicle's diagnostic system, not the battery itself. However, resolving the issue necessitates taking the vehicle to a dealership for a software update.

A new patent filing reveals that Ford is exploring the possibility of enabling electric vehicle battery exchanges at specialized drive-up stations. This proposed system, which utilizes smaller, modular battery units, could potentially offer a distinct approach compared to the complete battery pack swaps currently practiced by firms such as Nio and Ample, particularly for use in fleet vehicles or various other mobility solutions.

IIHS crash-test results for the 2023 and 2024 Chevrolet Tahoe

In recent crash assessments conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), it was revealed that many large, fuel-inefficient SUVs, including the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Expedition, do not offer optimal safety. Among these bulky, three-row vehicles that generally achieve less than 20 miles per gallon, only the Jeep Wagoneer earned the highest "good" rating.

A recent AAA study indicates a decline in the number of Americans considering the purchase of an electric vehicle (EV) in 2024 compared to last year. The main deterrents, not unexpectedly, are the high prices and the difficulties associated with charging accessibility. In particular, the study highlights that about one-third of Americans face challenges in setting up EV charging stations at their residences.

Illustration of EnviroSpark Electric Vehicle Charging Stations at Waffle House

Why has progress been sluggish on the $7.5 billion federal electric vehicle (EV) charging network established in 2021? A recent report reveals that just eight stations across six states are operational. The slow pace can primarily be attributed to the states spearheading the efforts, which must navigate a complex array of public and private utilities, regulatory bodies, and bureaucratic systems.

In the 1890s, New York City operated numerous electric taxi cabs. However, due to several mishaps and the widespread availability of petroleum, electric vehicles didn't resurface as a practical substitute for traditional gas-powered taxis until the 2010s.

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Will the next surge in electric vehicle sales render these benchmarks obsolete, or will automakers continue to produce as many gasoline trucks as possible?

Take a look at our initial reviews of the Rivian R1S and R1T, along with the Toyota Crown Signia hybrid wagon. Recent survey findings indicate that a growing number of Americans are postponing their electric vehicle purchases because of charging concerns. Also, it turns out that gas-guzzling non-hybrid SUVs don't necessarily offer more safety. All this and more, right here at Green Car Reports. Numerous major…

According to the AAA, enthusiasm for electric vehicles (EVs) has declined in 2024 compared to 2023, citing higher prices and limited charging options as key factors.

The Ford Expedition and Chevrolet Tahoe are often chosen for their safety features, yet recent evaluations indicate that these fuel-intensive vehicles fail to meet expectations in this area.

Rivian has enhanced its R1 series by reducing weight, increasing efficiency, simplifying the construction process, and improving the driving experience.

The upcoming electric SUV will soon be accompanied by the release of the Polestar 3, expected in the next few months.

The Senator contends that relaxing regulations to permit car manufacturers to utilize battery materials for electric vehicles sourced from China for an extended duration would be "violating the law."

Toyota has broadened its U.S. Crown range by introducing a new, more utilitarian model that mimics a crossover, catering to families.

In the 1890s, New York introduced electric taxis, marking a time of automotive experimentation where electric vehicles were in contention with steam and internal combustion engines.

A leading European battery provider has indicated that car manufacturers are demanding more affordable batteries, which is causing uncertainty about current strategies.

Numerous electric vehicles from Mercedes-Benz are being recalled. Ford is reportedly exploring a unique approach to battery swapping. Additionally, questions are arising about the delayed development of the national EV charging infrastructure. Stay tuned for more updates here at Green Car Reports. Mercedes-Benz has issued a recall for almost 15,000 electric vehicles due to a software problem that could lead to…

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