This week in EVs: Electric Jeeps, Chevy Equinox, reborn VW bus

There's going to be tons of car news next week as the Detroit Auto Show makes its return after 48 years. OK, so the pandemic and the show's shifting calendar only made it feel like 48 years, but January 2019 was still a long time ago. As we await that wave of headlines, let's look back at the substantial week that already was, specifically in terms of the electric car news that broke.

Electric Jeep Recon and Wagoneer S blaze trail to brand's EV future

Jeep declared Thursday to be 4xe Day as it revealed loads of previously unknown information about its future electrification efforts. The biggest surprise was the extremely cool and 100% electric Jeep Recon. Although it looks like a Wrangler, it's absolutely not a Wrangler replacement, and is indeed quite different for reasons besides its powertrain (independent front and rear suspension, fully enclosed fenders, fixed roof). As the photos attest, though, you'll be able to remove the doors and rear-quarter windows just like a Wrangler. And again, it's electric. Expect the Recon to be one of the most eagerly anticipated new vehicles over the next couple of years. Yes, years, plural. Production will start in 2024 with reservations accepted starting early next year.

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There was then the Wagoneer S. Despite the name, it isn't a sportier Wagoneer variant or even an electric Wagoneer. In fact, the name is temporary according to chief designer Ralph Gilles. This sleek SUV, which sure looks like Jeep's attempt at a Range Rover Vilar (not a bad thing), will apparently have a 600-horsepower electric powertrain. It too will be produced in North America starting in 2024 with reservations starting early next year.

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There actually WILL be an electrified Wagoneer, however: the Grand Wagoneer 4xe PHEV. That's good since the Grand Wagoneer gets pretty atrocious fuel economy. Details were light regarding specs, but we did get a half-decent photo. Finally, the first of these electrified Jeeps to launch will be the Avenger. Yes, Chrysler/Stellantis is dusting off an old Dodge name for a Jeep. That Dodge in question wasn't sold in Europe, though (good for them), which is important since the Jeep Avenger will only be sold on the other side of the pond. It's mechanically based on the same platform as several French Stellantis EV SUVs, and only goes 249 miles on the far more generous European WLTP test cycle. Those two elements probably help explain why it won't be sold in the United States. Still, something to look for when visiting Belgium.

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2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV revealed, starting price 'around' $30,000

This thing looks good, right? Like, really really good. There's an argument that it looks better than the Ford Mustang Mach-E and GM didn't have to name it a Camaro to do it. Nope, it's the Chevy Equinox EV, and despite the name, it has absolutely nothing to do with the blah crossover currently sold. It's actually going to be a twin of the Honda Prologue. It will start arriving in dealerships fall of 2023 with all trims available at some point within the 2024 model year. It'll be made in Mexico just like the Mach-E.

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VW ID. Buzz First Drive Review: Instantly recognizable (and likeable)

We get our first real drive of the production VW ID. Buzz ... aka the all-electric, next-generation VW bus. It's only for Europe, though, as we'll be getting a larger, more minivan-sized version for 2024. Lots of buzz about this one. Sorry.

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Rivian and Mercedes-Benz partner for joint van plant

Rivian has been hit harder than most by parts shortages, so good news and additional partnerships has be considered good news for the startup maker of really cool electric trucks and Amazon cargo vans. Rivian and Mercedes-Benz have announced that the two companies plan to collaborate on an electric van factory. The factory will be located in Europe at an existing Mercedes facility, and it will build next-generation vans from both automakers.


Everything you need to know about Elon Musk's future Tesla battery promise 

Tesla could halve the cost of a Model Y battery and more than 8% of the car's starting price


Nissan still analyzing Inflation Reduction Act on EV credits, executive says

Although the Nissan Leaf is one of the few EVs that still qualify for the federal government's $7,500 tax credit after passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, Nissan is still analyzing how the new law will affect its future EV plans. That includes the upcoming Ariya, shown below.

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