The Friday Five:The New Benchmark EV, More Affordable EV, Too Many EVs Edition

Liz Kim | Apr 16, 2021

This week, we reported news about new European Union regulations that could make plug-in hybrids obsolete, a new Mazda electric SUV coming only to California (at first), 2021 Audi Q5 safety ratings, and a Texas-only version of the Jeep Gladiator pickup truck.

If you’re wondering what automatic parking assist technology is, we’ve got a new explainer for you. We’ve also got a new Toyota trucks buyer’s guide, five fun facts about the refreshed 2022 Hyundai Kona, and a 2021 Honda Accord vs. 2021 Nissan Altima comparison.

This week, Honda released the first official photo of the redesigned 2022 Civic sedan, and we covered the debuts of the 2022 Audi Q4 E-tron electric SUV and the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz small pickup truck. Lastly, be sure to read our review of the all-new 2021 Kia Carnival.

But that’s not everything that was happening in the automotive space.

Mercedes-Benz EQS Vying to Set Luxury EV Benchmark - Find the best Mercedes-Benz deals!

Mercedes-Benz has been slow-releasing the details of the all-electric EQS flagship sedan for several months, but now go-time is finally here. Initially, the lineup for the American market includes the EQS 450+ and EQS 580. 

2022 Mercedes Benz EQS Front Quarter View

Reportedly, the + in the EQS 450’s name signifies a long-range version. That model offers a range of more than 475 miles on a single charge, according to the European WLTP standard. When official EPA estimates are final, expect a lower number closer to 400 miles. 

The single-motor, rear-drive EQS 450+ is good for 329 horsepower and takes 5.5 seconds to accelerate from zero to 60 mph. Meanwhile, the dual-motor, all-wheel-drive EQS 580 nets 516 hp and boasts an acceleration time of 4.1 seconds. Mercedes claims a 750-hp version of the car is coming. Using a 200 kW DC fast charger, the car grabs more than 185 miles of range in 15 minutes.

In addition to the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) Hyperscreen option, other EQS highlights include carbon-neutral battery and vehicle production, Drive Pilot Level 3 autonomous driving capability, the roomiest interior of any luxury EV, and a slippery 0.20 coefficient of drag. 

Mercedes has yet to release prices for the new EQS but will do so closer to its on-sale date in the fall of 2021.

Ford Adopts ‘BlueCruise’ Name for Level 2+ ADAS - Find the best Ford deals!

Ford has mapped 100,000 miles of North American asphalt where you can let your blue-oval-badged car, truck, or SUV drive in a hands-free manner, without interference from your sticky little hands. But, it will need to have the company’s new BlueCruise technology – not to be confused with the kid’s show Blue’s Clues. 

BlueCruise is a new name for what Ford had been calling Active Drive Assist, and we must admit, it’s a catchier moniker. It’s included in the Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep Package on the 2021 Ford F-150 and 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E and will become available via a future over-the-air (OTA) software update

On the identified divided highways where BlueCruise will work, which Ford calls Hands-Free Blue Zones, the driver-assist system uses adaptive cruise control, lane-centering assistance, speed sign recognition, and navigation system map and GPS data. Under specific conditions and when the driver activates the system, BlueCruise takes over. But since this is a Level 2+ technology, you still have to keep your attention on the road and not engrossed elsewhere.

BlueCruise is a $1,595 option and includes three years of free use of the technology (a $600 value). Future updates, like lane-change assistance and predictive speed assist, are on the way. More Ford vehicles may have this technology in the future, and additional roads will join the existing Blue Zones as the company approves them.

Ordered a Durango SRT Hellcat? You’ll Get One! - Find the best Dodge deals!

Dodge sold out its 2,000-unit allocation of the 710-horsepower Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat in less than three months. That left the many customers who requested one somewhat dismayed. But rejoice! Dodge has announced that they will build additional units to satisfy all orders in their system. 

You won’t be able to order one now, however. The books are closed, and the one-and-done Durango Hellcat, which averages 13 miles per gallon, doesn’t meet new 2022 emissions regulations. 

Polestar 2 Prices Drop, While Range Increases - Find the best Polestar deals!

A new single-motor version of the Polestar 2 electric vehicle will soon avail itself to a broader swath of the EV-loving populace. 

The front-drive model has a single motor up front, making 231 horsepower, much less than the dual-motor AWD model that produces 408 hp. This new variant may not be as powerful, but it has a 260-mile range, an increase of 27 miles over the AWD version. Opting for the available mechanical heat pump can increase the range by an additional 10% in specific weather conditions. 

Reports claim this new version could cost as much as $10,000 less than the Polestar 2 Launch Edition. Along the lines of improved affordability, Polestar is also releasing a dual-motor version of the Polestar 2 with less standard equipment.

To Many EVs, Too Few Customers?

Have you noticed how many new EVs are coming out? And are you wondering who is going to buy them all? You’re not alone.

During a panel discussion at the SAE International’s WCX Digital Summit this past week, industry experts debated whether EVs will soon flood the market because consumers want them or if policy is forcing their arrival. Considering how consumers remain concerned about EV prices, driving range, and charging station availability away from home, there is a real possibility that the cars will be available but without consumers ready to drive them home.

Experts argue that once people live with an EV, they won’t return to a gas-powered vehicle. However, EVs won’t take a bite out of sales of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles until 2025, said analysts at the summit. This prediction could leave new models like the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, Kia EV6, and Volkswagen ID.4 collecting dust on dealership lots.

In related news, Washington state has passed a bill to phase out ICE vehicles by 2030, though the plan requires voters to pass a new tax on vehicle miles traveled.

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