Toyota Sienna hybrid minivan, electrified Ram pickup, Fisker and Lordstown go public: The Week in Reverse


How long ago were Detroit automakers thinking about climate change?

Which electric truck played tug of war with the Ford F-150?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending October 30, 2020.

Our first drive of the 2021 Toyota Sienna was by far our most popular piece of the week. Although some were disappointed to see there’s no plug-in hybrid Sienna Prime in the works—yet—this model’s anticipated 36 mpg, thoughtful layout, and superb ride and handling make this one of the most appealing, fuel-efficient large-family vehicles.

2021 Toyota Sienna - first drive

2021 Toyota Sienna – first drive

Owners of Toyota hybrid vehicles keep them for a very long time compared to owners of other vehicles, hybrid or not? We look at whether this is because of their reliability, or a more intense focus on ownership costs by hybrid owners. In many cases, it appears to be both. 

Two electric-vehicle hopefuls went public this week, both through special-purpose acquisitions and long before they plan to deliver vehicles. Lordstown Motors started trading on NASDAQ and plans to start delivering fleet-oriented electric pickups at a former GM facility in Ohio starting next fall. Fisker Inc. went public on NYSE and will use $1.0 billion the transaction enabled to push its Ocean electric SUV through development and then contract production, by supplier Magna, due in 2022.

Fisker Ocean

Fisker Ocean

Fisker also this week announced the establishment of headquarters in California and an office in Germany, as well as a reservations update on the Ocean electric SUV, due to start at $37,499. And Lordstown staged a stunt in which it showed off the torque from its in-wheel motors, in a tug of war of its Endurance electric truck vs. the Ford F-150.

In FCA’s quarterly financial call, CEO Mike Manley suggested an “electrified” Ram pickup was on the way. That led to some media outlets declaring a fully electric Ram was on the way, but in light of all that’s been hinted from the company leading up to now a plug-in hybrid Ram is likely the kind of “electrified” FCA plans.

eTorque mild hybrid system in 2020 Ram 1500

eTorque mild hybrid system in 2020 Ram 1500

Ford’s equivalent to Tesla Autopilot or GM Super Cruise will be called Active Drive Assist, and it will debut on the Mustang Mach-E electric SUV, in addition to the best-selling F-150 pickup. Ford revealed pricing for the feature, to be enabled with an over-the-air update next year, and noted that it will be widely available.

Bollinger Motors revealed its thick, frame-integrated modular battery pack design for its upcoming electric trucks—ranging up to 700 volts and to 175 kwh and beyond.

BMW’s Mini brand is working on a whole family of electric vehicles, although all but one of them will still coexist with gasoline and diesel models. 

2021 Polestar 2

2021 Polestar 2

Polestar is sifting through an issue with sudden power loss on its Polestar 2 electric car, and in addition to the software fix it announced earlier in the month, it added that it will replace inverters in most of the cars built so far—but U.S. and Canadian models are not affected.

Two major studies came to some very different results about the prevailing sentiments around electric cars this week. Top-tier U.S. auto-industry suppliers, a Calstart/Ricardo study found, overwhelmingly support stricter standards including more EVs and oppose the Trump administration’s rollback of fuel economy and emissions standards. It’s also where the bulk of industry jobs are. Meanwhile, Americans’ attitude about electric vehicles hasn’t changed much during the pandemic, found a survey from J.D. Power, although their expectations for EV range have grown during that time. Those are surprising results and seemingly contradict what other surveys have found, connecting air quality and the lung-related pandemic to EV awareness.

Nissan Altima Tire Pressure Assistant

Nissan Altima Tire Pressure Assistant

A technical study from China that was overseen by Geely, the owner of Volvo and Polestar, found that electric-vehicle drivers are losing about a full charge of energy per year for the efficiency lost to their tires—and their failure to keep pressure. 

Detroit automakers GM and Ford were engaged in climate-science research a half-century ago, and knew that climate change was an issue that wouldn’t go away; but, as a recent report sums, they dealt with it in rather different ways. 

2022 GMC Hummer EV

2022 GMC Hummer EV

And last weekend we looked at GM’s recent claim that the Hummer EV was the first electric vehicle for GMC. Forgetting about a very important piece of the brand’s history, it turns out. 


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