The Friday Five:The Tesla Shares Superchargers, Mercedes-Benz Goes Electric Only, and Mini Celebrates John Cooper Edition

Beverly Braga | Jul 23, 2021

This week, our latest expert reviews detail the 2021 Ford Bronco Wildtrak 2-Door, 2021 Ford Expedition, and 2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line. The Audi RS 3 and Porsche Macan made headlines this week with new-for-2022 updates. Not getting their planned updates, however, will be the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500. General Motors is pushing back the mid-cycle refresh to the 2023 model year.

By the time those new GM trucks arrive, Ford and partner Argo AI will supposedly already have self-driving Lyft vehicles servicing Miami and Austin. Of course, if you’d rather drive yourself – and your family – we offer the pros and cons regarding that age-old buying decision of minivan vs. SUV.

For some educational did-you-knows, our latest in Shopping Guides explain what zero gravity seats are, how launch control works, how to drive a manual transmission, and how the federal tax credit for electric cars works.

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

Tesla Superchargers to be Open to Other EVs - Find the best Tesla deals!

Tesla Model 3 Charging at Tesla SuperchargerThe holiday season isn’t for another few months but Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is already in a giving mood. On Tuesday, Musk announced via Twitter that the Tesla Supercharger network in the U.S. will be “open to other EVs later this year” and then, gradually, “over time, all countries.”

This being Tesla, though, Musk’s statements produce more questions than answers. How will the proprietary EV charging stations be compatible with other OEM charging ports? Is Tesla looking to change its own connectors to be more universally compatible? Or will other automakers have to create another adapter? Will be it DC fast charging for all? And what do current Tesla owners think about this plan?

Whenever and however the compatibility questions are addressed, this would mean EV owners could gain access to more than 1,100 additional charging stations nationwide. Globally, Tesla claims to have more than 25,000 individual Superchargers. When combined with other charging networks, perhaps EV range anxiety will finally become a thing of the past.

Mercedes (and AMG) to Go All EV - Find the best Mercedes-Benz deals!

More EV stations is good news for the latest automaker to join the battery bandwagon: Mercedes-Benz. The luxury brand’s newly released electrification strategy includes offering an EV in every segment by 2022 and the development of all-new electric vehicle-dedicated platforms by 2025. 

This means that from 2025 onward, all new and redesigned Mercedes-Benz vehicles will be all-electric, including everything wearing an AMG performance badge. What it doesn’t mean is that Mercedes-Benz will only offer EVs. 

The automaker clarified that only “where market conditions allow” will its lineup be electric-only. So, there remains room to continue the production and sale of internal combustion engine vehicles using legacy platforms. 

Mini Unveils 60th Anniversary Cooper Models - Find the best Mini deals!

To many, Mini Cooper isn’t a vehicle but the name of the brand itself. But Mini doesn’t mind. In fact, the automaker wants to celebrate its longtime partnership with the Cooper family with Anniversary Edition models.

Racing legend John Cooper collaborated with Mini to launch the first Mini Cooper in 1961. This was followed by the Cooper S, limited-edition variants, and now the John Cooper Works model we have today.

Available in Mini Cooper, Mini Cooper S, and Mini John Cooper Works models, only 740 Anniversary Editions will be produced globally. That figure honors the “74” starting number which the classic Mini Cooper wore during its first successful race.

Toyota Kentucky Builds 10-Millionth Camry - Find the best Toyota deals!

Also celebrating this week is Toyota. In operation for 35 years, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) recently built its 10 millionth Camry. One of the best-selling cars in the U.S., the milestone vehicle was a white 2021 Camry SE model.

The same plant is not without other achievements. TMMK built its 13 millionth vehicle overall back in March, which was a RAV4 Hybrid. More than 10,000 Kentuckians are employed at the 1,300-acre TMMK campus. In addition to the Camry and RAV4, the Toyota Avalon is also assembled there.

Volkswagen Sends Passat to Pasture With Special Edition Model - Find the best Volkswagen deals!

The Volkswagen Passat is considered the most successful midsize car in the world. At least according to VW. And, at least in the U.S., that success has been hard to come by. So the Passat will be discontinued after the 2022 model year.

Designed with the U.S. market in mind, the current generation Passat was unveiled in 2011 and built at VW’s brand-new Chattanooga, Tennessee plant. But in order to now focus U.S. production on the Atlas, Atlas Cross Sport, and new ID.4 electric crossover, the Passat is getting the ax in the most pleasant way possible.

The 2022 Limited Edition model is as much a tribute to Chatanooga as it is to the vehicle. Featuring unique seat tags, only 1,973 will be built – a nod to the year the Passat was introduced. Also, cupholder inserts feature an aerial map of Chatanooga and a blueprint of the factory.

Finer details include color combinations available in specific but meaningful numbers. For example, the 423 units with a Racing Green exterior and Mauro Brown interior represent the city’s area code.

The special edition Passat will start at $30,295 (excluding destination).

The automakers are the sources of information for this article. It was accurate on July 23, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.

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