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Blazer EV pause, Mercedes EV updates, affordable EVs, clean hydrogen rules: The Week in Reverse

What do you need to ask the dealership if buying an EV after the new year?

Why might the top-selling EV in Japan make a lot of sense in U.S. big cities too?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending December 29, 2023.

Have you waited out the market roller-coasters of the past couple years? We rounded up all the affordable EVs that are arriving in 2024 and 2025, and if automakers hold to their word—or at least their hints—it’s going to get better for those who don’t have a luxury budget.

2024 Nissan Sakura EV – Tokyo

In scaling up EV sales, is smaller still better? A recent drive of the Nissan Sakura, the bestselling EV in Japan, had us seeing how smaller EVs might help us work with the infrastructure we have rather than hung up on the issues of charging super-size heavyweight EVs.  

GM paused deliveries of the Chevy Blazer EV over software woes—after a series of incidents and trouble codes experienced by owners and reviewers alike. GM emphasizes that these are not safety-related issues and not related to its Ultium EV propulsion suite or Google built-in.

2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV RS

2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV RS

Many 2024 Mercedes-Benz EV models get more range and better braking, the automaker has revealed. It’s giving its EQS hatchback, EQS SUV, EQE sedan, and EQE SUV lineups a heat pump for the U.S., revamped regenerative and friction braking for an “improved brake feel,” an all-wheel-drive disconnect to add range, and for the EQS SUV, a boost to its battery’s usable kwh. 

The recently revealed Nio ET9 EV is approaching gas-station refueling times with its choice between three-minute battery swapping and super-fast fast-charging that peaks at 640 kw. As the flagship model for the Chinese automaker’s lineup, it also boasts reclining rear seats, steer-by-wire tech, rear-wheel steering, and an active suspension.  

Nio CEO William Li introduces the Nio ET9

Nio CEO William Li introduces the Nio ET9

According to the EPA, higher hybrid and EV sales helped offset the ongoing shift toward less-fuel-efficient trucks and SUVs, with a fleetwide improvement from 2017 to 2022 despite that trend.

The Biden administration has set a high bar for the generous tax credits created by the Inflation Recovery Act (IRA) to help spur large-scale production of hydrogen, starting with regional hydrogen hubs. To qualify for clean hydrogen handouts under the rules, these facilities will need to use new sources of clean energy, and looking farther ahead, to run only at the times of day when clean energy is available. 

2022 Audi E-Tron GT

2022 Audi E-Tron GT

Audi and Porsche are playing it safe with a better mobile charging cable for EV and PHEV models. Although officially a recall, the campaign has nothing directly to do with the cars themselves, rather with an accessory mobile charging cord included with the vehicles—which now, in its revamped form, includes a temperature sensor to help safeguard home wiring that can’t fully support the 240-volt cord. 

And the EV battery recycling business is booming in China—although even there it appears there’ll be a lot of industry consolidation by the time the operation ramps up exponentially later in the decade. China is expected to have nearly four times as many batteries to recycle in 2030 than in 2021.

2023 Vinfast VF 8

2023 Vinfast VF 8

Starting with an outlet in North Carolina, Vinfast is pivoting to dealership sales for its expanding family of EVs. Although Vinfast flirted with a direct-sales strategy early on, the dealership group forges a new model in which it will be responsible for repairs, maintenance, and parts support.

This week we took a look at the last of our Green Car Reports Best Car To Buy 2024 finalists up close. As the only plug-in hybrid we pondered in our final round in looking at the year’s best new models, the Toyota Prius Prime enables a daily commute free of tailpipe emissions, then 52-mpg gasoline fuel efficiency after running through the charge. But with a slow onboard charger, no significant boost in performance over the hybrid, and signs that Toyota sees this as a niche model, is the Prius Prime prime enough? Starting with the Nissan Leaf for 2011 and including the Tesla Model S and Model 3, the Lucid Air, and the Chevy Bolt EV, and many others, Green Car Reports Best Car To Buy award has represented not just what you should buy but also a glimpse of the future. Which model will follow this past year’s winner, the Ford F-140 Lightning? As we lead up to a winner on Jan. 3, we looked at 13 years of Best Car To Buy Winners. 

2019 Tesla Model 3

2019 Tesla Model 3

And get ready for more confusion about the EV tax credit, beyond just the uncertainty about which vehicles are eligible. According to a recent report citing the Treasury Department, more than 7,000 U.S. dealerships have registered to offer point-of-sale EV rebates starting Jan. 1. But with nearly 17,000 dealerships in the nation, it means EV shoppers will need to ask the dealer before they buy as it could make a big difference for some models in monthly payments.

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