Honda EV concepts, Kia electric vans, Vinfast pickup concept, Hertz dumps EVs: The Week in Reverse

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How soon is the revamped Tesla Model 3 Highland arriving in the U.S.?

Which company spent more of its CES presentation talking about gaming, TV, and movies than the EV it’s helping make?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending January 12, 2024.

At CES in Las Vegas, the Honda Saloon and Space-Hub concepts provided a head-turning first look at the automaker’s 0 Series (Zero Series) EVs set to launch starting in 2026. These models aim to go “thin, light, and wise,” with high efficiency and low battery degradation, and they include by-wire steering. 

Kia PV5 Concept

Also at CES, Hyundai outlined its work to establish a “hydrogen value chain,” with a hydrogen vision that extends well beyond cars, trucks, and buses—to trains, ships, generators, steelmaking, robotics, air mobility, and more. To make enough hydrogen, it plans megawatt-scale electrolyzers plus Waste-to-Hydrogen and Plastic-to-Hydrogen innovations. And Kia revealed a new global family of PBV concept electric vans that will provide a modular basis for last-mile delivery, cargo operations, and even robotaxis. Interchangeable modules, an integrated cargo-rail system, and a compact, maneuverability-focused PV1 model are all in the works. 

Afeela electric sedan prototype as shown at CES 2024

Afeela electric sedan prototype as shown at CES 2024

Sony led its CES presentation by touting all the ways its bringing movies, TV, and gaming to market. It followed by using a PS5 controller to remotely drive in an updated version of the 2026 Afeela electric sedan being co-developed with Honda—an EV that will have a “digital platform for co-creation,” a “conversational personal agent” using AI from Microsoft, and driver-assist systems informed by AI.

Vietnam’s Vinfast revealed an electric pickup concept, a $20,000 mini electric SUV, and a retro-styled e-bike, all at this week’s CES. The three future EVs from Vinfast set a more interesting potential product path for the brand, beyond its VF 8 and VF 9 electric crossovers and toward franchised dealer sales in the U.S. 

Vinfast VF Wild concept - CES 2024

Vinfast VF Wild concept – CES 2024

Bosch used CES as the backdrop for announcing that it’s working with Volkswagen Group subsidiary Cariad to develop tech that combines automated parking technology with automated charging tech. Could the future include parking garages that return EVs fully charged?

The rental-car giant Hertz has announced that it’s selling a third of its EV fleet—about 20,000 EVs, including some Teslas—to buy gasoline cars. The company points to expensive collision claims and charging issues, and has suggested that Tesla’s price volatility didn’t help. 

REE P7-C electric truck

REE P7-C electric truck

The first vehicle with by-wire steering, braking, and acceleration has passed U.S. safety and EPA certification, the EV startup REE Automotive reported this week. While vehicles offering two of those three types of by-wire tech have been increasingly common, all three help pave the way for radical changes in EV packaging and autonomous vehicle tech.

How much money will EV ownership save versus ownership of a gasoline vehicle? As University of Michigan researchers recently highlighted, it depends on where you live. Looking at 14 different U.S. cities, finding a path for cost parity and savings depends on the region—and in some regions charging at home itself will save EV drivers an extra $10,000 over the life of the vehicle.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 270 miles was the median rated range for new 2023-model-year EVs—meaning just as many EV nameplates had less than 270 miles as had more. As the market norm approaches 300 miles, is that enough?

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 6

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 6

Contrary to what’s been alluded to by recent news coverage, electric vehicle sales grew significantly in 2023, and analysts have predicted in the past week that EV growth will continue in 2024. Although the upcoming Presidential election will be a wildcard for U.S. EV policy. 

The U.S. EPA on Monday touted another $1 billion of federal spending on electric and low-emission school buses. As we noted, there’s an online dashboard allowing you to see where exactly they’re ending up.

Tesla Model 3 (Europe-market refresh)

Tesla Model 3 (Europe-market refresh)

The U.S.-spec version of the 2024 Tesla Model 3 Highland—the updated Model 3 with a much-improved, quieter cabin and aero-optimized styling—made a surprise entrance on Tesla’s website earlier this week. Deliveries start as soon as later this month. 

And just in time for last weekend, Tesla lowered range estimates for some of its electric cars. Some of the most noteworthy examples included the Model Y Long Range, which dropped from 330 miles to 310 miles, and the Model Y performance, down from 303 miles to 285. The Model X Plaid and Model S Plaid were also affected. 

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