The Friday Five:The VW Says Goodbye to Gas, Honda EV Chapter Begins With a Prologue, and Tesla is Safe Again Edition

Beverly Braga | Jul 02, 2021

There has been no shortage of news this week, with the big bucking 2021 Ford Bronco kicking things off. After many delays for many reasons, production is finally underway and the first of nearly 200,000 orders are beginning to reach customers. We also cover some of the Bronco’s new tech, specifically its Ford Trail Control system.

In keeping with the off-road theme, we have a new midsize truck comparison. And for full-size truck buyers, we have news about the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado ZR2. Although a more potent pickup than the standard Silverado 1500, its performance will be more aligned with Ford F-150 Tremor and Ram 1500 Rebel than the Baja-ready, high-performance beasts that are the F-150 Raptor and Ram 1500 TRX.

A tad bit closer to the ground are a new review of the 2021 Lexus IS 350 F Sport, a sneak peek at the upcoming redesigned 2022 Subaru WRX, and a preview of Volvo’s future EV-only lineup called the Concept Recharge.

Speaking of electric vehicles, two studies neither compliment nor condemn EVs. One, conducted by Ernst & Young LLP (EY), concludes that despite the current single-digit market share, EV sales will shift and outsell internal combustion vehicles by 2033. The other study, conducted by Reuters, finds that while manufacturing an EV creates more carbon emissions than does building a traditional car with an internal combustion engine (ICE), it doesn’t take long for the electric to surpass the ICE in terms of overall environmental benefits.

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

No More Gas Cars by 2035, Says VW and...Canada? - Find the best Volkswagen deals!

In the last several months, many automakers and major cities have announced bans with regards to the internal combustion engine (ICE). Last week, we reported that Audi would be phasing out the ICE by 2033. According to Reuters, corporate sibling Volkswagen will be going all-EV as well. When? 2033. 

2021 Volkswagen ID4 See Through Transparency

The report states that VW’s ICEs will exit the European market between 2033 and 2035. The U.S. and China will follow suit “somewhat later.” Volkswagen is anticipating its entire global fleet to be carbon neutral by 2050, at the latest.

But it’s not just automakers making the change to electrification. Reuters reports the same timeline for Canada. Beginning in 2035, sales of new cars in the Great White North will exclude fossil-fuel burners as the country looks to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. In the United Kingdom, Canada’s Commonwealth cousin plans to start a similar ban in 2030. 

2024 Honda Prologue is Brand’s First EV From GM Partnership - Find the best Honda deals!

Days after announcing it would discontinue production of the Clarity, which offers plug-in hybrid and fuel cell powertrains, Honda confirmed the name of its upcoming EV crossover. Born of a partnership with General Motors, the new electric SUV will be called the Prologue and it will debut in 2024.

The 2024 Honda Prologue will use GM’s Ultium battery technology. No word yet on vehicle specifications, but the Ultium EV platform is flexible enough to accommodate various vehicle sizes – from cars to trucks – and with an estimated high-end range of more than 400 miles.

The Prologue will be the first of many battery-electric vehicles from the Japanese automaker, which targets that 100 percent of its North American sales will be all-electric by 2040. Acura will get its own version of the Prologue.

BMW i3 Ends Production This Month - Find the best BMW deals!

One EV that won’t make it to 2033, or even 2022, is the BMW i3, which sees its production run come to an end this month. Its design was and continues to remain polarizing, but when the vehicle debuted in 2013, it was an innovator in the then-nascent EV landscape. 

Hard to believe but the quirky hatchback was the world’s first purpose-built electric vehicle. The i3 also included carbon-fiber-reinforced materials and aluminum in its construction, surprisingly high-end bits and pieces for something that wasn’t a high-end performance machine.

According to BMW, there will be no direct replacement for the i3, but the Bavarian auto builder has plenty of all-new battery-electric vehicles on the way under its “i” brand. This includes the iX midsize crossover SUV and i4 Gran Coupe, both of which go on sale next year.

Mercedes-Benz CLE-Class to Replace C- and E-Class - Find the best Mercedes-Benz deals!

Also downsizing is Mercedes-Benz. After dropping the S-Class convertible and SLC-Class roadster from its lineup, a new report states even more models of the coupe and convertible variety will be discontinued. To be fair, the Stuttgart-based automaker has a rather bloated vehicle selection already. One that includes more than a dozen car and SUV models plus coupe, convertible, wagon, AMG, and Maybach variants.

According to Car and Driver, the coupe and convertible models of the C-Class and E-Class will be the next to go. To serve as a replacement for both, however, is the rumored all-new CLE-Class. Based on spy shots and a renewed trademark for the moniker, the convertible features a soft-top, which matches the approach of the car’s direct competitors, the Audi A5 and BMW 4 Series.

The CLE-Class is expected to debut next year as a 2023 model.

IIHS Restores Tesla Model 3 Top Safety Pick+ Distinction - Find the best Tesla deals!

In an interesting reversal, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has reinstated the Top Safety Pick+ award – its highest possible safety rating – to the 2021 Tesla Model 3. But why was it demoted in the first place?

In May, Tesla Motors announced it would transition its advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) from a camera-and-radar-based model to a camera-only approach called Tesla Vision. This change required new hardware and over-the-air software updates, and also created confusion, especially for consumers. As a result, safety ratings already awarded by the IIHS as well as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) were downgraded pending additional tests.

Now, according to the IIHS, Tesla Vision has proven that it is just as effective as the previous ADAS technology, even if its performance is not exactly identical. For example, the old radar-based system fared better in detecting adults alongside roadways or between parked cars while the updated camera-based version proves more accurate in recognizing children.

The automakers, trusted organizations, and trusted publications are the sources of information for this article. It was accurate on July 2, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.

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