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Refreshed 2022 MINI Cooper SE debuts at Amelia Island

The 2022 Mini Cooper SE alongside the 2009 Mini E

Photo courtesy of MINI

The Amelia Island Concours is an event that features some of the rarest and most desirable vehicles in the world today, but it has increasingly become a launchpad for automakers' latest models. This year, Mini took the opportunity to unveil updates to its Cooper SE. The all-electric car was shown off as an updated 2022 model.

The new Cooper SE features updated front and rear styling, an overhauled interior, and several new color options, including a multi-color roof. The Mini Cooper SE is still one of the more fun-to-drive EVs on the market, as its small size and low center of gravity make it just about the closest thing to a go-kart that can be legally driven on the road.

Mini at Amelia Island2009 Mini E alongside 2022 Cooper SEPhoto courtesy of MINI

The SE comes standard with an 8.8-inch digital gauge cluster, a heated steering wheel, lane departure warnings, and SiriusXM satellite radio. Pricing remains reasonable, making the Cooper SEthe most attainable EV on sale today, according to Mini. The car's base pricing is held at the previous model year's number, and starts at $29,900. Even after the $850 destination charge is added, the car clocks in at a great price. That's before any federal or state tax credits are applied, which can make the car's final price tumble below $20,000 for many buyers.

The 2022 Mini Cooper SE gets attractive updates and a stellar price, so what's the downside? Well, range is the biggest one. On a full charge, the Cooper SE will only be able to travel 114 miles – a far cry from other EVs' abilities, which can top 300 miles for some cases. To be fair, those vehicles cost more, so it's a tradeoff that buyers will have to negotiate. That range is still more than suitable for an urban commuter, and two major EV publications agree. The car won Urban Green Car of the Year from Green Car Journal and took second place for Greenest Car by Greencars.org.

Mini at Amelia IslandUpdated 2022 Mini Cooper SEPhoto courtesy of MINI

Joining the 2022 Cooper SE was Mini's first all-electric vehicle, and established the automaker as an early player in the EV space. Mini, along with parent company BMW, used the vehicles as rolling test beds for EV technology, and referred to the first customers as "Electronauts." The cars were only available for a one-year lease at a cost of $850 per month, and offered up to 100 miles of range and 204 horsepower.

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The EQB lands this summer with a not-so-bad starting price.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is pressing ahead with its electrification goals. Following the release of the EQS flagship electric sedan last year, the automaker is readying the EQB, an electric SUV with up to seven seats. Today, Mercedes announced pricing for the vehicle, and it's surprisingly reasonable. Two trim levels will be offered for the EQB in the United States: Exclusive and Pinnacle, and wecould see an AMG variant at some point down the road.

The EQB comes in two variants, including the EQB 300 and EQB 350, both of which come with all-wheel drive. The EQB 300 offers 225 horsepower and the 350 delivers 288 ponies. Those aren't super-serious numbers and they don't have to be. The EQB competes with vehicles like the Volkswagen ID.4, so mind-blowing performance isn't exactly the goal. Mercedes hasn't given range estimates yet, but they should fall in line with the competition.

2023 Mercedes-Benz EQBThe EQB will come in two powertrain variants, each with two trims.Mercedes-Benz

The SUV comes standard with a 10.25-inch configurable digital gauge cluster and a 10.25-inch touchscreen. Mercedes includes a good list of standard safety features, including lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, and active brake assist. Additionally, the EQB's navigation system routes the vehicle for the best efficiency and can help locate charging stations.

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB 300 starts at $56,800, including a $1,050 destination charge. A range-topping Pinnacle trim is available for $59,350. The EQB 350 starts at $60,350. Mercedes says the SUV will go on sale in summer 2022.

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Electric pickup truck

Ford F-150 Lightning could get tank turn

Ford patented a tank turn feature in late 2020.

Ford

The F-150 Lightning is packed with cool tech and capability, but we're learning that Ford has even bigger plans for its first electric pickup. Inside EVs found an exciting document on the Lightning Owners Forum that shows ford applied to patent a tank turn feature like the one we saw Rivian pull off a few years ago, where the truck spins around a center point using its electric motors. Rivian's tank turn feature still hasn't made it to market, so it's possible that Ford beats them to the punch.

Ford F-150 LightningTank turn allows the truck to spin while almost completely stationary.Ford

Ford applied for the patent in October 2020, but it's just now making its way out. In the document, Ford gives an example of how it could work: "Methods, apparatus, systems and articles of manufacture are disclosed to perform a tank turn. An example vehicle includes a first wheel and a second wheel, the first wheel located on an end of a first axle, the second wheel located on an end of the second axle, the end of the first axle opposite to the end of the second axle, a first suspension coupled to the first wheel, a second suspension coupled to the second wheel, and a controller to drive the first axle in a first direction, drive the second axle in the second direction and decrease a first suspension load of the first suspension and a second suspension load of the second suspension."

As Inside EVs points out, Rivian's tank turn feature employs the R1 T's quad-motor setup to drive each wheel individually. The F-150 Lightning doesn't currently have a four-motor choice and instead offers two motors – one on each axle. It's important to note that Rivian patented tank turn and showed that it could work, but there hasn't yet been a production vehicle that offers the capability. Toyota filed a patent in 2019, but again it's just paperwork at this point.

Ford F-150 LightningNo automaker has brought tank turn to production yet.

To achieve the turn, Ford has a few options. The most obvious would be to offer a quad-motor upgrade in future model years. It's unclear if such a feature is in the works or if Ford plans to provide beefier versions of the Lightning, such as a Raptor variant with upgraded motors. The automaker could also design gearing to reverse the wheels on one side while the others drive forward, or it could use braking to lock the wheels and tighten the turning radius.

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