BMW iX review, lower-priced VW ID.4, limited Mini Cooper SE, Fisker and Lucid updates: The Week in Reverse

Which automaker is offering to buy back its recalled EVs?

Which company was sentenced to a U.S. criminal penalty for diesel emissions this week?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending August 5, 2022.

We warmed up to the weirdness with a weeklong drive review of the BMW iX. This big, controversially styled SUV that carries the torch of the much smaller i3 is truly luxurious and, if you can see past all the offbeat pieces, it delivers on real-world range in a way no non-Tesla SUV has. 

2022 BMW iX xDrive50

2022 BMW iX xDrive50

This week marked the announcement of several lower-priced EVs—including The lowest-priced, U.S.-built version of the 2023 Volkswagen ID.4 will start at $38,790, VW revealed. That’s for the 62-kwh battery pack with an estimated 208 miles of range in the new ID.4 Standard version, which includes a lot of standard tech features. 

BMW this week announced a lower-priced version of the i4 electric car for the U.S. market. The 2023 BMW i4 eDrive35 will get a single-motor rear-wheel-drive layout like the existing eDrive40, but with a smaller battery and about 260 miles of EPA range—at $4,000 less. At $52,395, that makes it only slightly more than a base Tesla Model 3 or Polestar 2. 

2023 BMW i4 eDrive35

2023 BMW i4 eDrive35

The base version of the Mini Cooper SE costs around $23,000, if you can claim the EV tax credit, and this nimble, head-turning two-door is unlike any other EV at that budget. But due to supply-chain issues, the base version is unavailable, leaving models starting $4,325 higher. 

In response to its as-of-yet unresolved wheel recall, Toyota is offering a full buyback to customers with its BZ4X electric crossover, as an alternate choice  vs. a suite of other make-good perks, including a $5,000 credit, an extended warranty, bonus fast-charging, and free loaner cars. For just a couple hundred cars, it’s an above-and-beyond response that underscores Toyota is taking these initial EV customers very seriously.

2023 Toyota bZ4X Limited AWD

2023 Toyota bZ4X Limited AWD

The 5,000-unit Fisker Ocean One launch edition is already sold out, reported the company this week, confirming that it’s collected a $5,000 deposit for every one of them. In November it will start pre-orders for the top-trim Ocean Extreme versions, and it already has more than 4,000 orders for the yet-unseen $29,900 Pear EV. 

Lucid Motors cut its delivery target for 2022 in half, to just 6,000 to 7,000 of its Air electric sedans, citing continued supply chain issues. It reported that, in the meantime, it’s moving more operations in-house, and its continuing to expand its sales and service network and running on the same timeline for a plant expansion and the Project Gravity SUV.

2022 Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance

2022 Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance

A recent study looking at the shopping experience suggests that startup EV brands aren’t connecting as well with prospective customers (and sales) as traditional luxury brands—and Tesla isn’t doing as well in this respect as it used to, either. For Rivian, Lucid, and Polestar, it may be an early wakeup call that things will need to be different after moving beyond product-aware early adopters. 

California drivers can now subscribe to the Tesla Model Y by the month, with Autonomy’s expanded operations recently adding this top-selling EV in the U.S. And it’s looking like a better deal than when the service first bowed with the Model 3 now that Tesla is no longer allowing end-of-lease purchases. 

Lightyear 0

Lightyear 0

Sweden’s Koenigsegg invested in the solar-car company Lightyear, the companies announced, and Lightyear hopes to use the partnership to improve performance and efficiency in its more widely available future model, Lightyear 2. 

The reconciliation bill that reportedly has a good chance of moving through the Senate—with an expanded EV tax credit—also includes up to a $40,000 tax credit for electric semis and other commercial trucks. Such a shift would pay big clean-air dividends, argue environmental groups. 

The current high-demand situation for electric vehicles, combined with dwindling funds and waiting lists, has made some of California’s EV incentives effectively unavailable to the low-income households for which they were intended.

2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE

2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE

A Detroit federal court on Monday sentenced FCA, which is now part of Stellantis, to a criminal penalty of about $300 million for the use of diesel “defeat devices” on 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 EcoDiesel models. In these more than 100,000 trucks, emissions control systems performed differently when being run through test cycles than in the real world.

As BMW develops its dedicated electric vehicle platform for Neue Klasse models arriving around the middle of the decade—due to spawn models around the size of the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y—it’s considering hydrogen fuel-cell versions, according to CEO Oliver Zipse. Making room for hydrogen can be especially challenging, however.

2023 Hyundai Tucson Plug-In Hybrid

2023 Hyundai Tucson Plug-In Hybrid

With plug-in hybrid sales sagging in Europe, is that enough of a sign that the era for this stopgap technology is over? Before you answer that, consider that PHEV sales are still on the rise in the U.S. 

And for a question we’re still mulling: Have regulators and others been focusing too much on EV sales and not enough on the retirement of ICE vehicles? That’s what new, wide-ranging research appears to suggest, concluding that it will take a shortened lifespan for gasoline and diesel vehicles, in addition to the sales targets so widely emphasized, to achieve Paris Climate Accord goals. Should the focus of more EV incentives be changed toward retiring gas guzzlers?

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