The automotive industry is quickly shifting toward an electric future with new technology, new products, new policies, and new questions surfacing every day. 

Here are the biggest EV-related stories, debuts, and reviews from the past month.

Billionaire’s micro-mobility EV inventions displayed on Parliament Hill

ev news roundup: a(nother) billionaire-backed ev, the coolest reveals at the la auto show, and more

Stronach International presented its SARIT vehicle in Ottawa Wednesday. The made-in-Canada SARIT is a one or two-seater micro-mobility vehicle that can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion. TONY CALDWELL, Postmedia. Photo by Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

Billionaire Frank Stronach’s vision for the future of downtown travel, the so-called SARIT (‘Safe Affordable Reliable Innovative Transport’), has graduated from the prototype phase. A pair of the micro mobility electric vehicles, each three-and-a-half feet wide and seven-and-a-half feet long with an accelerator on the right handlebar, were recently on display on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. 

“In three years, fuel prices will triple. In eight years, fuel will be rationed and used only for essential purposes. Micro-mobility is the future of transportation,” says Stronach. “It’s perfect for going to work in the morning and heading back home at night. It can go (as far as) 100 kilometres in a single charge, so you can just plug it in when you get home.”

The SARIT will have a price tag of $6,000 and top speed of 32 km/h. There’s also a micro-pickup truck in development that would offer a cab space of three feet by four feet. 

Cross-border trips in the VW ID.4 demonstrate lack of EV infrastructure

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Photo by Renita Naraine

It’s a big responsibility being an EV driver in Canada in 2022. Driving’s Renita Naraine’s learned that the hard way after a quick day-trip to Buffalo from the GTA in the VW ID.4. Although the $49,995 2021 ID.4 Pro AWD trim (priced and packaged the same for the 2022 model year) is a fine EV to get from A to B in, setting out on a day trip in one that’s only partially charged can be a recipe for some frustration and a tardy arrival. 

The plan was to grab breakfast and a charge in Niagara Falls, using the car’s onboard map and charger suggestions rather than a phone, dip over the border for some shopping, and be back in time to pick the kids up from school. It all went well until the first charger wasn’t in order, and the next two were occupied, and then the next projected an 11-hour charge time. Once (finally) topped up, the SUV did the trip with no other complaints, giving our reviewer time and space to spot the pros and cons, like the gorgeous panoramic glass roof or the back seat struggling to fit three car seats. Read the full feature here.

Driving into the Future panels cover the future of the Canadian auto industry

ev news roundup: a(nother) billionaire-backed ev, the coolest reveals at the la auto show, and more

BMW’s high-voltage battery production facility in Regensburg, adjacent to its vehicle plant, in November 2022 Photo by BMW

Will Canada become a major player in the electric-vehicle manufacturing revolution, either by building batteries in-country or by extracting components here, or just a footnote? David “Motor Mouth” Booth has been pondering, researching, and writing about the topic for some time, and recently hosted a panel discussion dedicated to it. The issue is complex and the stakes are high: over 300,000 high-paying Canadian jobs and around $15-billion per year contributed to the country’s GDP are on the line. 

Another pressing question facing EV shoppers today: “will making the switch actually save me money?” It happens to be the topic of the tomorrow’s (Dec. 7) Driving into the Future panel. BMW would have us believe the future is here, announcing its new sixth-gen battery that allegedly charges 30 per cent quicker, packs 30-per-cent more range and costs 50-per-cent less. But we’ve heard tall tales from EV makers before, and the way and price at which battery materials are being gathered may suggest a certain amount of optimism in such declarations. 

All the coolest EVs at the 2022 LA Auto Show

ev news roundup: a(nother) billionaire-backed ev, the coolest reveals at the la auto show, and more

2022 Genesis X Convertible Concept Photo by Graeme Fletcher

The 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show didn’t break the Internet with any of its reveals, but there were a good handful of new EVs to look at. Toyota brought its fifth-generation 2023 Prius to town along with its ‘design exercise’ BZ Compact SUV concept; Ioniq debuted its slippery and rapid-charging Ioniq 6 in North America; and VinFast unveiled two all-new SUVs, the VF 6 and VF 7.  

Fiat also brought its fully electric Fiat 500e in the three available Giorgio Armani, Kartell, and Mai Troppo trims; it’s expected to go on sale in 2024. But the show-stopper in the EV department was located under the Genesis banner. The drop-top X Convertible is the third piece of the brand’s “X Trilogy” and an intriguing representation of Genesis’ Athletic Elegance design lingo. 

Learn about the other EVs at the LA Auto Show right here. 

Plaid Pity Party: The Tesla Model S Plaid makes everything else feel slow

ev news roundup: a(nother) billionaire-backed ev, the coolest reveals at the la auto show, and more

Tesla Model S Plaid Photo by Justin Pritchard

Like brushing your teeth before drinking a glass of orange juice, driving the Tesla Model S Plaid before any other vehicle can have a jarring effect. Driving’s Justin Pritchard recently had his first experience in the top-trim Tesla, thanks to a generous and trusting friend. He kept it in “Chill” mode around town and then had multiple chances to test out the inertia-teasing Cheetah Mode, including one that “squeezed [his] inner sinuses so hard that the offending blockage rapidly vacated [his] left nostril” and another that sent his sunglasses from his head to the back seat. 

Poor guy. Now his Dodge Viper feels slow. Read the full story here and offer your condolences in the comments below it. 

Recently added to the “What did Musk do now?” files…

ev news roundup: a(nother) billionaire-backed ev, the coolest reveals at the la auto show, and more

In this file photo taken on May 2, 2022 Elon Musk arrives for the 2022 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Photo by Angela Weiss /Getty

Elon Musk is facing legal action from a thrash metal drummer and one of Tesla’s smallest investors who is hoping to force the founder to give back his 2018 package of stock grants valued at US$56 billion. Richard Tornetta sued in 2018 and cleared a motion to dismiss the year after, which caught the attention of some experts who say similar “nuisance cases” are often tossed out. The suit alleges Musk bullied shareholders and his board of directors into agreeing to the package’s terms, allowing Musk to buy one per cent of Tesla’s stock at a discount whenever performance and financial targets are met. Musk’s argument is that the package kept him focused on the brand and helped bring on a 10-fold rise in stock price.

Coleman Molnar

Coleman Molnar learned to drive in his family’s rusty farm pickup as a teenager and continues the forearm-strengthening tradition today from behind the wheel of his 1983 Volkswagen Westfalia. Spot him in the slow lane, or on Instagram @Lietco

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