EV News: , Honda, Ford, Honeywell, GM, ElectReon, Volvo Trucks, AMPLY, WAVE, Redwood Materials, Toyota, GreenPower, Panasonic, WiTricity, EvGo & Chargepoint

Happy National Drive Electric Week—In electrification news this week are, Honda, Ford, Honeywell, GM, ElectReon, Volvo Trucks, AMPLY, WAVE, Redwood Materials,Toyota, GreenPower, Panasonic, WiTricity, EvGo and ChargePoint.

Ford Mustang Mach-E is Pro–Police

The Ford Pro all-electric police pilot vehicle based on the 2021 Mustang Mach-E SUV just became the first all-electric vehicle to pass the rigorous Michigan State Police 2022 model year evaluation. Testing included acceleration, top speed, braking and high-speed pursuit, as well as emergency response handling characteristics. Michigan State Police is one of two law enforcement agencies that annually test new model year police vehicles and publish the results for use by agencies nationwide.

“The fact that the Mustang Mach-E successfully stood up to the grueling Michigan State Police evaluation demonstrates that Ford can build electric vehicles that are capable, tough and reliable enough for even the most challenging jobs,” said Ted Cannis, CEO of Ford Pro. “We understand the needs of our commercial customers and are committed to unlocking new electrification opportunities for them.”

Ford Pro submitted the all-electric police pilot vehicle for testing in the Michigan State Police 2022 model year evaluation Sept. 18 and Sept. 20. Michigan State Police will publish results for vehicles tested on its website later in the fall.

Honeywell Used By Ultium

Honeywell announced that Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture between LG Energy Solution and General Motors (GM), will use Honeywell’s Quality Control System (QCS) to ensure the quality and integrity of the lithium-ion batteries produced at its new manufacturing plant in Lordstown, Ohio. Due to be completed in 2022, the 2.8 million square-foot factory will produce lithium-ion battery cells for GM electric vehicles ranging from Cadillac sedans to Hummers and will be one of the largest electric vehicle battery plants in the United States.

Honeywell’s QCS will deploy compact, high-precision scanners and basis weight sensors to serve as the quality control platform for four of the Lordstown plant’s production lines. Honeywell’s system will help Ultium Cells meet key quality requirements by measuring electrode coat weight, a key parameter in the production of battery cells. In addition, Honeywell’s modular platform and proven industry expertise will help Ultium Cells ensure long-term success by adapting new measurement and control technology as battery cell production requirements evolve.

NY Gov–Wants to Greenlight ACT in NY

In New York Governor Hochul’s Department of Environmental Conservation initiated a rule-making for the adoption of the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) rule, which will deliver zero-emission trucks to New York State, helping to slash diesel emissions, improve air quality, and spur the electric truck market.

This development comes on the heels of environmental justice, public health, transportation, clean energy, and environmental advocates in New York urging Governor Hochul to greenlight the ACT rule. Beginning in 2025, the regulation requires manufacturers to sell an increasing percentage of new electric trucks annually through 2035.

A forthcoming report from M.J. Bradley & Associates shows that the ACT rule, if adopted, will deliver huge public health, economic, and climate benefits by 2050 for New York:

●      Preventing 231 hospital visits and 237 premature deaths

●      Avoiding 155,116 of lost work days from respiratory illnesses

●      Achieving  $2.7 billion in state public health savings

●      Slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 64 million metric tons

●      Adding thousands of new jobs and GDP growth of $453 million

There will be a virtual public hearing on November 9 and the deadline for public comments for the ACT rule is November 17.

E.ON Board Member for Customer Solutions Patrick Lammers and Volkswagen Group Board Member for Technology Thomas Schmall put in operation the first E.ON Drive Booster in Essen. The innovative product makes fast charging easier and more affordable for operators and customers. As a flexible fast charger, it requires no civil engineering work or adjustments to the grid connection and can charge two electric vehicles simultaneously with 150 kW. This means the expansion of a dense public network of fast-charging stations – as is essential for the future success of e-mobility – can become a reality much sooner than was previously assumed.

ElectReon Receives ECE R10 Cert

ElectReon (Tthe leading provider of in-road electric vehicle charging technology for shared, commercial and passenger vehicles, has obtained ECE R10 certification—the United Nations and European Economic Community’s Electromagnetic Compatibility approval—for the company’s deployments across the world. ElectReon is now able to integrate its vehicle-side technology with any electric road vehicle and is considered completely safe for vehicles, drivers, passengers, and other road users. ElectReon is the first company of its kind to obtain this landmark approval.

The ECE R10 approval pertains to ElectReon’s proprietary, vehicle-side hardware technology which acts as a power receiver unit during active wireless charging – this unit receives energy from the coils under the road that then powers the onboard energy storage device, and the Management Unit -which controls the entire system charging and system management capabilities. Following this approval, ElectReon will now be able to fully operate and open to the general public the bus service lines that are wirelessly charged by the company’s technology both while parked and driving along their set routes in the company’s public projects around the world: in Tel Aviv – where students are transported from the local train station to the campus, Sweden – where passengers are transported from Gotland airport to the city of Visby, and Germany – where employees are transported from the ENBW company facilities to the nearby train station.

This is also a major step for the company in becoming ready to operate commercially at a global scale as receiving this standard will allow automakers to integrate the wireless charging components developed by the company into existing and vehicles manufactured in the future. This means that car manufacturers and the company will be able to integrate ElectReon technology both in vehicles that are in production phase and in vehicles that have already been marketed to consumers. Thereby enabling the company to advance its strategy for platform diversification and the integration of its technology in additional vehicles ready for wireless charging.

Volvo Trucks Innovates in Innovation Lab

Volvo Trucks North America is building a community of innovators that are designing solutions to support the global transition to more sustainable transport systems. The Innovation Lab at Volvo Group, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, is a place where Volvo Trucks can collaborate with start-ups to combine real-world insights, analyze emerging trends, and validate new products and services aimed at helping customers improve both their economic and environmental sustainability goals.

“Volvo Trucks is committed to continuing to lead the global movement to decarbonize transport. When we commercialized our Class 8 Volvo VNR Electric model, we recognized the critical need to work with an array of partners to build a successful ecosystem for electromobility—considering everything from the point of sale, to building a comprehensive service network, developing a skilled workforce, and ensuring access to a stable and cost-effective power supply,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president, Volvo Trucks North America. “Volvo Trucks is collaborating with companies across the industry to demonstrate a range of strategies to achieve these goals, including supporting emerging solutions providers through our Innovation Lab at Volvo Group.”

At the Innovation Lab, ideas and collaborations often originate from the start-up community. One successful example is AMPLY Power, an electric vehicle charging and energy management provider that joined the lab in 2019. As a member of the Innovation Lab, AMPLY has shared its insight into some of the charging infrastructure challenges that could deter fleet operators from investing in a battery-electric fleet. In turn, Volvo Trucks has shared its valuable real-world experience gained from working with multiple customers that have installed charging infrastructure to support the deployment of Volvo VNR Electrics.

“The Innovation Lab in Silicon Valley is the perfect environment for Volvo Group and the start-up ecosystem to co-create solutions that bring value to all industry stakeholders,” said Fredy Daza, director of the Volvo Group Connected Solutions Innovation Lab. “Having AMPLY as a member of our ‘Innovation Community’ has helped provide visibility to some of the challenges in deploying and reliably managing charging infrastructure for Class 8 electric vehicles, which is essential to the success of the transport industry’s electrification journey.”

The Volvo VNR Electric model, commercialized in December 2020, has been deployed to numerous fleets in the U.S. to support drayage, local and regional distribution, pickup and delivery, and food and beverage distribution. Volvo Trucks and AMPLY plan to team up to support a California fleet customer in designing and managing its electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure plan to maximize cost savings, charging efficiency and vehicle uptime. AMPLY is also supporting the charge management program for Manhattan Beer Distributors, which is deploying its first five Volvo VNR Electric trucks in its New York beverage distribution fleet.

“The Volvo Trucks North America and AMPLY collaboration offers a simple low-risk solution to deploying and scaling heavy-duty electric fleets,” said Vic Shao, CEO, and founder of AMPLY Power. “Customers need integrated solutions that offer guaranteed performance and uptime of their EV fleet, while optimizing charging operations for lowest cost energy.”

AMPLY Collaboration with VNA & Manhattan Beer Dist.

— To ensure electric truck fleets are equipped with the necessary charging infrastructure and energy management services, AMPLY Power is collaborating with Volvo Trucks North America on customer programs to maximize uptime and cost savings for electric Class 8 heavy-duty truck fleets. AMPLY Power, a comprehensive electric vehicle charging and energy management provider, joined the Innovation Lab at Volvo Group as a member of the collaboration space established in Silicon Valley.

The Innovation Lab in Silicon Valley has allowed the two companies to collaborate on solutions that support the transformation towards more sustainable transport systems. AMPLY provided valuable insights into the infrastructure barriers and common challenges that deter fleet operators from switching to electric vehicles. In turn, AMPLY gleaned valuable knowledge surrounding the needs of heavy-duty truck fleets and tailored some of its solutions specifically for these types of operations.

Through ongoing collaboration, AMPLY Power and Volvo Trucks North America are now working on bi-coastal projects with two heavy-duty electric truck fleets. A notable customer that the two companies are working with is Manhattan Beer Distributors, one of the largest beverage distributors in the country and based in New York City.

“The goal of the Innovation Lab is to create a pathway where Volvo Group and start-ups can co-create and jointly validate new digital solutions and business propositions with Volvo Group stakeholders and customers,” said Fredy Daza, director of the Innovation Lab at Volvo Group Connected Solutions. “The Manhattan Beer Distributors project is a real-world example of how Volvo Group is accelerating advanced transportation solutions by collaborating with startups in the Silicon Valley ecosystem.”

“We are pleased to have AMPLY Power managing the charging operations for our new electric trucks and ensuring our deployment of EVs is seamless and cost-effective,” said Juan Corcino, senior director of fleet operations & sustainability for Manhattan Beer Distributors. “As a leader in sustainable transportation for New York, we have long focused on minimizing the environmental footprint of our operations, and AMPLY’s charge management services help us further these goals cost-effectively.”

The Manhattan Beer deployment includes five Class 8 Volvo VNR Electric models operating on distribution routes with heavy payloads and return-to-base operations. The trucks have a range of 150 miles and a battery capacity of 264 kWh, needing approximately 70 minutes to reach 80 percent charge. Further collaborations will be planned and announced as AMPLY and Volvo Trucks continue to deploy more electric vehicles.

“Readiness of infrastructure deployment and seamless transition from diesel to electric is essential for a customer’s business transformations towards zero emissions,” added Roopa Shenoy, director of total offer for electromobility at Volvo Trucks North America. “Leveraging expertise in energy management systems as well as making sure the total cost of operation is prioritized with a charging solution, AMPLY is able to offer a comprehensive solution in the electrification journey. We are looking forward to learning from these early deployments and  continuously adapting and evolving our total offer of electromobility solutions.”

With its full-scale charge management system, AMPLY helps fleet operators like Manhattan Beer Distributors manage their energy infrastructure and charging needs for their electric vehicle operations. AMPLY covers everything from site design for efficient energization and movement of vehicles in the depot to software and hardware that communicates with the grid and manages loads to automatically charge vehicles when prices are lowest, or power is cleanest. To manage the charging operations, AMPLY deploys its OMEGA software platform to charge vehicles based on the fleet’s priorities, provides real-time alerts to help guarantee uptime and delivers detailed Scope 2 emissions reporting.

“We are honored to be working with Volvo Trucks, as their leadership has truly pushed the heavy-duty trucking space forward into electric,” said Vic Shao, CEO and founder of AMPLY Power. “For these distribution truck fleets, uptime is mission-critical, and heavy payloads have to be guaranteed. As such, we are focused on optimizing charging operations so that fleets experience the shortest charging times at the lowest cost possible.”

The collaboration with Volvo Trucks comes on the heels of AMPLY Power’s partnership with environmental non-profit WattTime to provide customers with access to emission reductions data and the ability to automatically charge when greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generating plants are low. The company also recently unveiled a new project with Red Hook Terminals in which AMPLY will manage the charging for ten electric yard tractors at its container terminal in Port Newark, New Jersey, representing the single largest deployment of zero-emission battery-electric trucks in the eastern United States.

WAVE Supply Charging for AVTA

WAVE, a subsidiary of Ideanomics  and the leading high-power inductive charging solution provider for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles finalized a large, multi-million dollar purchase order from the Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) for 28 additional wireless charging systems.

This order comes after the 2019 announcement that AVTA would become the first fully electric fleet powered by wireless chargers, a direct result of its partnership with WAVE. As the largest electric mass transit bus fleet in the United States, AVTA currently serves a population of more than 450,000 residents in the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale as well as northern Los Angeles County, Calif.

WAVE was wholly acquired by Ideanomics in January 2021 and allows transit agencies to electrify their fleets with in-route charging, which reduces vehicle weight, increases passenger capacity and extends a vehicle’s range. There is no need for manually attached power conductors or above ground charging equipment, eliminating both the risk associated with plug-in chargers and the visual clutter of large overhead lines. With systems ranging from 125kW to 500kW and a 1MW charger in development, WAVE is leading the way for a more sustainable future for public transportation.

EV Chargers Increase Property Values

City planners across the country are responding to the increase in demand for electric vehicles with the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. In addition to more municipal EV chargers now open to the public, auto dealerships and other environmentally friendly businesses are also helping the U.S. strengthen its green transportation infrastructure. As more EV charging stations come online, the cost and personal impact of purchasing an electric vehicle continues to decrease for U.S. consumers. But that’s not the only change. Real estate professionals also report that U.S. property values for homes with EV charging stations and those with public stations nearby are increasing.

Ford Invests in Redwood Materials

Ford Motor Company and Redwood Materials today announced they are working together to build out battery recycling and a domestic battery supply chain for electric vehicles. Ford and Redwood’s goal is to make electric vehicles more sustainable, drive down the cost for batteries, and ultimately help make electric vehicles accessible and affordable for more Americans.

Ford and Redwood are collaborating to integrate battery recycling into Ford’s domestic battery strategy. Redwood’s recycling technology can recover, on average, more than 95% of the elements like nickel, cobalt, lithium and copper. These materials can be reused in a closed-loop with Redwood moving to produce anode copper foil and cathode active materials for future battery production. By using locally produced, recycled battery materials, Ford can drive down costs, increase battery materials supply and reduce its reliance on imports and mining of raw materials.

Ford is investing more than $30 billion in electrification through 2025, including the collaboration between Ford and Redwood, which will help deliver on Ford’s plans to localize the battery supply chain.

This builds on Ford’s previously announced plans to scale battery production through multiple BlueOvalSK battery plants in North America starting mid-decade. By building out a domestic, sustainable supply chain with recycled materials, Ford can drive down battery costs and help protect the environment. BlueOvalSK is the U.S. joint venture that Ford and SK Innovation intend to form, subject to definitive agreements, regulatory approvals, and other conditions.

Last week, Redwood announced it will produce strategic battery materials, supplying anode copper foil and cathode active materials to U.S. partners. Redwood plans to transform the lithium-ion battery supply chain by offering large-scale sources of these domestic materials to reduce the cost and environmental footprint of electric vehicle production. The local supply of these two materials is a key part of Ford’s commitment to reduce the environmental impact of battery manufacturing and continue to ramp up electric vehicle production in the U.S.

Redwood Materials, founded by JB Straubel and based in northern Nevada, is creating a circular supply chain for batteries and helping partners across the electric vehicle and clean energy industries by providing pathways, processes, and technologies to recycle and remanufacture lithium-ion batteries.

Longer-term, Ford and Redwood plan to work together on the best approach to collect and disassemble end-of-life batteries from Ford’s electric vehicles for recycling and remanufacturing to help reduce the cost associated with battery repairs and raw materials to manufacture all-new batteries.

To further advance these business opportunities between the companies, Ford invested $50 million into Redwood Materials to help the company expand its footprint in the U.S.

Clearway VPPA with TMNA

Clearway Energy Group (Clearway) announced that it has signed a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) with Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) to support Clearway’s 100 MW Wildflower Solar project in DeSoto County, Mississippi. Toyota will purchase the majority of the electricity the project will generate, 80 MW, to replace the high emission electricity used in its operations with zero emissions renewable electricity on the grid. Wildflower is scheduled to begin operations in 2023 and is located in proximity to Toyota’s manufacturing facility within the state.

The Wildflower project marks the second VPPA between Clearway and Toyota in as many years, building upon the agreement that TMNA signed for the Black Rock wind farm now nearing completion in Grant County, West Virginia. That project is also located near another of Toyota’s manufacturing facilities.

“We are excited to once again partner with Toyota to support their ambitious net-zero goals,” said Valerie Wooley, vice president of origination at Clearway. “Additionally, we’re as equally excited to be partnering with them again in the local communities where we work and live, helping create healthier communities and growing the local economy.”

The Wildflower VPPA portion Toyota will purchase is expected to generate electric power equal to approximately 8% of what Toyota takes off the grid for its domestic energy use in North America.

“Toyota continues to aggressively shift to renewable energy sources for our operations while also working to improve the lives of the people in communities where we work and live, all a part of our efforts toward carbon neutrality,” said Kevin Butt, regional environmental sustainability director at Toyota Motor North America.

The Wildflower project adds to other solar and wind projects and VPPAs that Toyota has pursued to accomplish one of its global Environmental Challenge 2050 goals – to eliminate all carbon emissions from its operations. Toyota Motor Corporation issued the challenge as a set of six goals where the ultimate goal is achieving a positive net impact on society. Separate from the VPPA signed this time with Clearway, Toyota has shown its commitment to renewable energy with on-site solar energy generation and has been identified as one of the top 20 corporate users of installed onsite solar capacity in the U.S., according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

During peak construction, Wildflower will create hundreds of jobs and generate millions of dollars in spending in the local community. The site will also utilize several permanent operations and maintenance jobs. During the life of the project, Wildflower Solar will provide $10 million to DeSoto County through tax revenues, supporting area public services as well as an additional nearly $14 million for Mississippi public schools. The project will generate enough clean energy to power nearly 16,500 homes each year.

GreenPower Delivers to  Fraser Academy

GreenPower Motor Company Inc.  a leading manufacturer and distributor of zero-emission, electric-powered medium and heavy-duty vehicles, today announced that it has delivered an EV Star Plus to Fraser Academy, a leader in the empowerment and education of students with dyslexia and language-based learning differences in Vancouver. The zero-emission Class 4 passenger bus will be used for a variety of student transportation needs. The EV Star Plus is eligible for a voucher of $50,000 from the B.C. SUVI voucher program, which will further benefit the school and its students. The estate of the late Hilda Atkinson and GreenPower CEO Fraser Atkinson are strong supporters of the institution and have donated $175,000 to Fraser Academy.

The EV Star Plus is equipped with flexible passenger seating along with rear curbside access to allow students to safely load luggage or sporting gear. The 7.5 meter EV Star Plus is the only bus in its class that was designed from concept as a battery-electric vehicle and comes with a standard J1772 Level 2 and CCS DC Level 3 fast charge system, allowing for optimal flexibility in route planning for various duty cycles. It delivers a range of up to 250 kilometers and a Level 3 DCFC charge time of 2 hours.

Spring Free EV Launches

-Spring Free EV, a financial technology company built to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) through innovative fintech products, debuted. The company, which is led by serial entrepreneur and former Sidecar founder and CEO Sunil Paul, has the bold mission to reduce CO2 emissions by one gigaton by 2030 through a new vehicle financing approach that makes EVs more accessible to everyone. Spring Free EV is backed by Reid Hoffman, Marianne Wu, Mark Pincus, Ev Williams, and others. The company currently has fleet relationships with several auto manufacturers, including Tesla and Nissan, and works with fleet managers in six states with plans to expand to 20 states by the end of 2021.

Honda Sets 70K Target for Prologue SUV

Honda today announced an initial annual sales target of 70,000 units for the Prologue SUV, Honda’s first new volume battery-electric vehicle (BEV), when it goes on sale in 2024. Following the launch of Prologue, Honda brand electrified vehicle sales will be boosted by the introduction of additional vehicles based on its new e-Architecture now being developed. This will take Honda to anticipated sales of 500,000 BEVs by 2030, and ultimately leading to 100 percent zero emission vehicles sales in North America by 2040.

As with other automakers, Honda’s initial zero emission vehicle sales goals of 40 percent by 2030 are contingent upon fair and equitable access to state and federal EV incentives intended to encourage American consumers to purchase electric vehicles. Honda has urged Congress to ensure that all vehicles made in America are treated equally.

“Launching our first volume BEV in 2024 is the start of an exciting new direction for Honda,” said Dave Gardner, executive vice president of National Operations at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “We are working with our dealers to plan the transition from sales of primarily gasoline-powered vehicles to selling 100-percent electric vehicles by 2040.”

Honda’s initial approach to selling the Prologue will be regional, focusing on California and the ZEV states, including the BEV-friendly sunbelt states of Texas and Florida. Honda anticipates these regions will represent the bulk of sales at the onset of launch due to higher customer acceptance and regulatory requirements. As EV infrastructure expands and customer interest grows nationwide, the company will rapidly expand sales and marketing efforts to other areas of the country.

In April 2021, Honda global CEO Toshihiro Mibe outlined the company’s vision for global sales of electrified vehicles as part of Honda’s strategy to achieve carbon-neutrality for its products and corporate activities by 2050. This vision calls for the sales ratio of battery-electric and fuel cell electric vehicles in North America to progress from 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2035 to 100 percent by 2040. More details about

Following the 2024 introduction of Honda Prologue, co-developed with GM and based on the Ultium platform, Honda will introduce a series of electrified vehicles in the second half of the decade based on the Honda developed e-Architecture and production of BEVs beginning at Honda plants in North America.

Honda Electrified Vehicle History
Honda has a long history of leadership in bringing electrified vehicles to market in the U.S., beginning almost a quarter century ago with the EV Plus electric vehicle (1997); to America’s first mass-produced hybrid, the Honda Insight (1999); the Honda FCX (2002), the industry’s first fuel cell vehicle in the hands of individual customers, and the Clarity series (2017). As Honda prepares for the launch of Prologue, the company will introduce hybrid-electric systems to more core models to continue to reduce CO2 emissions and bridge customers to the volume battery-electric vehicles now in development.

“We know customers who have a good experience with a hybrid vehicle are more likely to buy a battery electric vehicle in the future,” said Gardner. “Our strategy is focused on introducing a higher percentage of hybrids in core models in the near term, making a committed effort to achieve higher volume leading to the introduction of our Honda Prologue.”

Honda achieved record sales of electrified vehicles in each of the past three years, with sales momentum continuing in 2021. Led by CR-V Hybrid and Accord Hybrid, Honda just recorded its best-ever first-half year of electrified vehicle sales.

Allison Transmissions Partners with JJE

Allison Transmission, a leading designer and manufacturer of conventional, electric hybrid and fully electric vehicle propulsion solutions, and Jing-Jin Electric (JJE), a Chinese electrified propulsion leader in components, assemblies and systems for global automotive and commercial vehicle customers, have signed a broad, global strategic collaboration partnership agreement to accelerate the development of industry-leading electrified powertrain solutions for global commercial vehicles.

The companies will leverage JJE’s leadership in electric motor and inverter development and its strong presence in the Chinese commercial vehicle electrified powertrain market, while harnessing Allison’s deep experience and investments in fully electric and electric hybrid commercial duty propulsion systems, commercial vehicle duty cycle expertise, global OEM relationships, and a worldwide distributors and dealers channel.

Allison brings more than 100 years of experience in building reliable and valued propulsion solutions, including two decades of electrified propulsion systems development and commercialization. JJE brings more than 10 years of experience in industry leading electric motors and power electronics, as well as central and direct drive electrified propulsion architectures.

The combined capabilities will enable the strategic collaboration partnership to offer innovative and reliable electrified propulsion solutions, to commercial vehicle manufacturers around the world. The partnership will further allow both parties to benefit from a global manufacturing presence and service networks to support customers in local markets. Together, the companies will further define product portfolio scope, manufacturing locations and supporting resources to be provided by each party. In addition, Allison has committed to provide debt financing in support of JJE North America’s commercial vehicle electric drive product development, testing and manufacturing acceleration efforts.

Panasonic EV Battery Plans

Electric vehicles (EVs) have a growing presence all over the world. Helping to power the ever-increasing number of EVs on the roads is Panasonic’s cylindrical automotive battery business. A pioneer in the automotive battery segment, Panasonic has been leading the industry through constant refinement–and now this profit center is on the cusp of yet another evolution.

Seizing Challenges to Create New Value

Panasonic’s cylindrical lithium-ion batteries were originally designed to deliver outstanding longevity and light weight to notebook PCs, but the emergence of demand for automotive use batteries in the late 2000s led to the development of Panasonic’s automotive battery business. Although the performance requirements for this new application was a challenge, the company drew on decades of experience producing various types of batteries, and in 2017, Panasonic commissioned a manufacturing plant for cylindrical automotive batteries in North America. Dedicated to producing automotive batteries on an unprecedented scale, the facility was developed with an eye on positioning Panasonic to play an active role in a future where EVs have become ubiquitous against the backdrop of a global commitment to addressing environmental issues.

hawn Watanabe, Head of Energy Technology and Manufacturing, spearheaded the launch of the North America plant. “We set up the North America operation by drawing on the know-how we’ve gained from lithium-ion battery production in Japan–know-how that has allowed us to build a plant that is five times the size and three times the speed of conventional facilities. Due to the nature of the product, we had to meet extremely high standards for safety and quality, and with a new workforce in a location with a different culture and language while also being agile and precise. We couldn’t compromise on any of these points if our goal was uninterrupted production of high-precision batteries.”

“Taking up the challenge, we communicated with each other, localized the meticulous manufacturing system used in Japan and made further improvements based on local needs. Collectively, we have forged a strong relationship of trust with our US colleagues, and the results speak for themselves.”

Panasonic is currently working on two types of cylindrical automotive batteries: the 1865 and 2170. The first two digits indicate diameter (18mm/21mm) and the second two indicate height (65mm/70mm). The latest models boast the world’s highest level of energy density.

One key to achieving high energy density is improving the chemical composition of the active materials (the materials that store electricity) in the cathode and anode so that more electricity can be stored. Another is increasing the amount of active material within the limited space of each battery. In both areas, Panasonic has leveraged on technological know-how to achieve the highest level of performance.

Today’s batteries need more than just performance to be competitive–they also need to be sustainable. Panasonic has succeeded in drastically reducing the amount of cobalt in its lithium-ion batteries. Explains Watanabe: “We started researching lithium-ion batteries in the 1980s, and since then have been keenly aware of the need to address the issue of rare metals. Our goal from day one was to minimize the amount of cobalt used for automotive batteries.”

Cobalt, which has an ability to stabilize crystal structures, is an important material for achieving thermal stability. The type of cathode active material used by Panasonic–NCA*–requires less cobalt than the alternative–known as NCM**. Panasonic has progressively reduced the amount of cobalt in each battery to less than 5% through the use of alternative elements and surface treatment. Through a strategic partnership with Redwood Materials, a North American battery recycling operation, Panasonic is actively working to advance sustainability in the supply chain which will allow it to reuse cobalt and other materials. With the aim of realizing environmentally-friendly lithium extraction and production methods, Panasonic has also begun collaborating with an energy company for the validation and optimization of sustainable processes based on its industry knowledge. Panasonic’s newest batteries, which combine higher energy density with reduced cobalt usage, were introduced in all lines in FY2020.

*NCA: Cathode material for lithium-ion batteries based on lithium nickelate (nickel/cobalt/aluminum)
**NCM: Cathode material for lithium-ion batteries based on a ternary system (nickel/cobalt/manganese)

Core ‘Strengths’ Driving Next Evolution

Capacity is the next stage in the evolution of the automotive battery. Panasonic is moving ahead with development of a next-generation large cylindrical automotive battery, which has a cylinder diameter more than twice the current size, and the first step will be to set up a test line in Japan to verify safety and performance. The market is eagerly awaiting the larger battery for two reasons: greater capacity means fewer batteries are needed to achieve the same level of performance; greater capacity also reduces the number of mounts on the vehicle body, reducing the number of weld points and contributing to better overall cost.

But capacity has its own challenges, including new designs and a higher level of safety assurance. With comprehensive quality control governing each process and manufacturing technology capable of producing larger electrodes, Panasonic has the accumulated know-how to deliver both capacity and safety.

The evolution of Panasonic’s automotive batteries is driven by the pursuit of “optimal value” for the customer. Increased capacity is one such example. Panasonic’s true strength is its ability to accommodate the needs of user scenarios, such as long-distance driving and city driving, by leveraging its advantages in energy density and environmental performance.

Panasonic is committed to addressing and resolving global environmental challenges, and the automotive battery business has an important role to play in promoting sustainable mobility. Said Watanabe: “The electrification of vehicles is an effective means for promoting the diversification of mobility power sources. We will continue to take on the challenge of providing solutions to global environmental problems through the evolution of our technology.”

As part of the transition to a holding company structure in April 2022, there will be the creation of a new energy business company, Panasonic Energy Corporation, which will play a key role in achieving the Group-wide goals of becoming carbon-neutral and generating more energy than is consumed. As the world moves toward decarbonization, the automotive battery business is steadily increasing its presence–in Japan, the United States and Europe. Further innovation will accelerate the evolution of the automotive battery as an essential tool for reducing the burden on the global environment while promoting the ubiquity of EVs.

WiTricity Cheaper

-WiTricity, the company wirelessly charging the future of mobility, today released results of a study that evaluated the relative total cost of ownership (TCO) of adopting and running an electric vehicle (EV) fleet for last-mile parcel delivery when those vehicles were equipped with wireless charging instead of plug-in charging. The study found that when using wireless charging technology, last-mile EV fleets saved up to 50% in TCO.

In a standard plug-in model, EVs are essentially taken out of service to charge: a driver moves the EV to the charger, plugs in, and there the EV remains until sufficiently charged. In contrast, wireless charging lets fleets adapt their charging model to existing business workflows by bringing the charge to the EVs where they are: at the dock being loaded, at the depot being cleaned or prepped, or while parked. Untethered from the cord, vehicles have more time to charge, and can do so at lower power. The outcome: lower costs by flattening the curve on “demand charges,” the compensation paid to the utility for maintaining the grid with sufficient capacity to energize a customer’s needs at peak draw. Given that electric utility charges are one of the top three components of the lifetime cost of an EV (the other two are vehicle miles traveled and vehicle purchase price), the result is an impressive reduction in the overall TCO of going electric.

“With businesses and government agencies upgrading their last-mile fleets to be electric—from delivery vans to mail trucks—there are clear, major benefits of being able to charge those wirelessly,” said Alex Gruzen, WiTricity CEO. “Our analysis shows that WiTricity’s technology introduces great flexibility with significantly lower costs.”

WiTricity compared the use of 50kW plug-in charging to 24kW wireless charging with the fleet running two 8-hour shifts, leaving four hours per shift for charging and depot operations. The study found that wireless charging in place of plug-in charging:

  • Doubles the duration of charging operations. This is because wireless charging pads can be installed at key locations across the depot – loading docks, cleaning areas, parking areas – so vehicles can charge in parallel to other depot operations just by parking as they normally would.
  • Reduces peak electrical demand for the depot by half. Spreading the charging load across more time means that the demand charges from the utility are lower. This also has a further benefit of reducing overall stress on the electric grid.
  • Decreases exposure to back-up energy generation infrastructure and operation costs. Like the peak load calculations for energy demand charges, the demand for power from backup energy sources like micro-turbines or traditional diesel generators is lessened as well.
  • Cuts down on labor costs and maintenance. With wireless charging, no human intervention is required to plug and unplug, so there’s increased autonomy and lower labor costs. Additionally, wireless charging incurs very low maintenance because there are no serviceable parts, active cooling, or mechanical connectors that wear out or need to be replaced.

KORE Power Partners with ZEV

-KORE Power, Inc. (KORE) and Zero Electric Vehicles, Inc. (ZEV) have signed a joint development agreement to bring together two leading U.S. clean energy innovators to design, develop and manufacture low-cost, highly configurable electric vehicle solutions that accelerate electrification of the transportation sector.

KORE is a U.S.-based manufacturer of high-energy-density lithium-ion pouch cells and module configurations for the electric vehicle and energy sector applications. ZEV is also a U.S.-based manufacturer of electric powertrain solutions for fleet customers with a commercially available low-cost, fast-turnaround configuration for light-medium duty fleet vehicles. ZEV is rapidly innovating EV thermal technologies including an advanced battery cell passive thermal management system that will deliver power conservation and optimize battery cell performance.

“This is a partnership for advancing clean transportation,” said Lindsay Gorrill, KORE CEO. “KORE and ZEV bring new levels of ingenuity to the electric vehicle space. Working together at our facilities in Arizona, we’ll make the U.S. a launchpad to deliver safe, reliable, and affordable electrification to the world with price parity.”

“ZEV provides an innovative electrification solution to quickly electrify light-medium duty fleet vehicles using our proprietary configuration to minimize cost and conversion time. This joint development with KORE will produce highly configurable battery pack solutions with optimized volumetric and gravimetric energy densities to meet the power demands from vehicle powertrains to auxiliary systems, e.g., HVAC, utility services, buckets, etc., to maximize vehicle range and cycle life,” said James L. Maury, President of ZEV. “Together, we will develop the next generation of battery management systems using technologies developed and manufactured right here in the U.S.”

Under the agreement, the KORE and ZEV teams focus on three key challenges facing electric vehicle applications–thermal management, safety, and module and pack configurability towards higher energy and power densities. The joint teams will work out of the KOREPlex in Buckeye, AZ, ZEV’s HQ and Production facility in Gilbert, AZ, and at the Battery Cell Research laboratory at Arizona State University, in Mesa, AZ.

KORE will provide ZEV with battery cells and supplies for their electrification solution through 2030.

“When we announced the KOREPlex would be built in Arizona, we noted the State’s growing clean tech sector and the world class research facilities,” Gorrill said. “This agreement brings together teams that are accelerating electrification, and we are here in the Valley of the Sun.”

KORE is the leading U.S.-based developer of battery cell technology for the electric transportation and energy storage industries. The company deploys its battery cells to their global customer base by leveraging the experience of its contract manufacturing partner. The new KOREPlex facility will add to the company’s current annual production capacity of 2 GWh to expand to a total annual capacity of 18 GWh by the end of 2023 to serve the rapidly growing battery market. KORE’s U.S. facility will create more than 3,000 new advanced manufacturing jobs in Arizona and strengthen U.S. energy security by creating a new domestic battery cell supply.

ZEV is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating barriers to EV adoption by advancing technologies that reduce EV costs, improve efficiency, and increasing reliability. ZEV offers fleet electrification using customizable kits to meet customer range requirements to maximize sustainability goals.

Analog for Lotus

Analog Devices, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADI) today announced that renowned British performance brand Lotus Cars is planning to incorporate ADI’s wireless battery management system (wBMS) in its next-generation electric vehicle (EV) architecture. ADI’s wBMS was selected for its increased design flexibility, battery repairability and lighter weight. The engineering collaboration will enable Lotus to safely propel its future EV fleet and continue pushing the limits of design and technology.

EVgo Offers Suite for Fleets

EVgo Inc. (NASDAQ: EVGO), a first mover in fleet electrification and owner and operator of the nation’s largest public fast charging network for electric vehicles (EVs) and first powered by 100% renewable electricity, today announced the expansion of EVgo Fleet Charging Solutions with a new suite of services to support fleets as they electrify their vehicles. EVgo, which serves over 300,000 customer accounts today including rideshare, autonomous, delivery, university, and other fleet clients, has developed the EVgo Optima™ software package and the EVgold™ service guarantee to make the shift to electric seamless for fleets.

EVgo Fleet Solutions

EVgo provides a variety of Level 2 and DCFC charging solutions for light, medium, and heavy-duty fleets, designed to meet their unique operational needs, including the ability to leverage a combination of:

  • Depot Charging Solutions: EVgo offers depot charging solutions with a range of flexible ownership models, from comprehensive turnkey solutions for mission-critical fleet operations to Charging-as-a-Service (ChaaS) offerings.
  • Dedicated Charger Network: With support from its expert real estate team, EVgo works with fleets to build dedicated turnkey sites away from base to enable charging at locations strategically important to their operations.
  • Public Network: Fleets have access to EVgo’s growing public charging network of over 800 fast charging and 1,200+ Level 2 locations, which bring the reliability of more than 98% uptime and deep coverage in urban core areas.

EVgo’s fleet solutions include a complete solution set of hardware, software, and operations, networking, and maintenance functions and capabilities supporting holistic cost-saving and optimization for fleet operations. This includes EVgo Optima, a “smart”, cloud-based software platform that ensures vehicles are optimally fueled at the lowest possible cost while adhering to facility and electrical grid constraints. As the industry’s most experienced owner-operator of DCFC and L2 charging solutions in the US, EVgo offers fleet customers EVgold, a best-in-class operations and maintenance service offering to maximize uptime, backed by rigorous, co-developed hardware at the EVgo Innovation Lab, based on power sharing and power routing architectures to enable simultaneous charging of multiple vehicles intelligently and cost effectively from a single set of charging hardware. The Company’s superior 24/7 customer support further reinforces reliability, safety and interoperability for EV fleets.

Automakers around the globe have announced more than $300 billion of EV investments, with fleet electrification for rideshare, delivery, municipal, autonomous, and other market segments further accelerating the shift to e-mobility. EVgo’s fleet solutions offerings help fleet operators manage the transition from fossil-fuel reliance to electric fleets at the pace that meets each fleet’s business needs, providing tools that allow them to unlock the economic and environmental benefits of electrification.

Backed by over a decade of building and operating the nation’s largest public fast charging network, EVgo is a valued partner to Uber, Lyft, Samsara, Electric Last Mile Solutions, and two leading autonomous vehicle (AV) companies, in addition to providing charging solutions to fleets across delivery, rental, freight and logistics segments. In July 2021, General Motors Company (GM) named EVgo a preferred provider for its Ultium Charge 360 fleet service.

Foxconn and Appear Inc. Announce Partnership to accelerate the expansion of Appear’s Graphene Battery technology in consumer electronics and electric vehicles.

Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer, and Appear Inc., a technology leader that is accelerating the fast charge-Graphene battery, today announced their manufacturing partnership. Together, the companies will accelerate Appear’s global expansion by utilizing Foxconn’s world-leading manufacturing capabilities to introduce new levels of manufacturing capabilities and scale for Appear’s proprietary battery technologies.

Appear Inc. has the reputation in technology circles for creating unique and innovative products. The partnership with Foxconn is a win-win. This cooperation will cover Appear’s know-how, technology, performance and networks in the energy industry. Foxconn will provide recognized product development capabilities and speed in the field of smart manufacturing.

“We are very excited to partner with Foxconn,” said Prashant Rurs, Founder and CEO at Appear Inc. “Our elite, innovative, futuristic technology together with Foxconn’s unmatched manufacturing and quality control practices will take the industry by storm.”

Appear’s engineers meticulously developed its fully flexible graphene battery before bringing it to commercial production. Graphene, which is similar to graphite, is pure carbon and has revolutionized many areas of manufacturing with its unique properties. Graphene is lightweight, stronger than steel, and one of the most conductive materials in the universe. These properties are the key to Appear’s proprietary applications for its groundbreaking Fast Charge Technology. Its graphene-enhanced Li-ion batteries provide exceptionally long lifespans, high capacities and faster charging times, while remaining incredibly safe and light.

ChagerPoint Partners with WEX

WEX (NYSE: WEX), a leading financial technology service provider, and ChargePoint, a leading electric vehicle (EV) charging network operating in North America and Europe, have announced plans to expand their existing relationship to provide seamless integration of EV charging for mixed fleets that include internal combustion engine vehicles (ICE). This expanded global partnership is expected to not only provide customers ready access to the largest public EV charging network for on-route charging needs, but also enable ‘depot’ and ‘at-home’ charging along with the means to facilitate employee reimbursement.

“By expanding WEX’s relationship with ChargePoint, we expect to position both companies to serve our customers’ full range of needs over the long-term, as more businesses evolve their fleets in efforts to address climate change,” said Scott Phillips, president of global fleet at WEX. “As a leader in the commercial fleet industry for nearly four decades, our customers across the globe rely on us to provide financial controls, powerful reporting, data solutions, and secure payments that keep their drivers on the road and on the job, while managing costs. WEX believes that partnering with ChargePoint will enable WEX to fully support any mix of EV and ICE vehicles that our customers operate.”

WEX and ChargePoint intend to offer a robust end-to-end solution to help mixed fleets incorporate on-route, depot and at-home charging solutions including streamlined program enrollment, centralized reporting and billing, real-time data on energy use to support driver reimbursement for commercial electric charging and installation services. The companies expect to offer at-work and fleet depot charging solutions for customers looking to install on-site charging stations at workplace facilities and integrate them into their fleet operations as well as private site charging solutions.

National Drive Electric Week Started 9/25-10/3

Electrify America today announced that its brand-neutral zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) education and awareness campaign, “Normal Now,” is once again sponsoring various Ride and Drive events around the country during National Drive Electric Week (Sept. 25-Oct. 3, 2021).

In the third year of helping fund these programs, the campaign is supporting its largest number of events to date – a total of 30, with six in California and 24 across the rest of the United States.

During Ride and Drive events, which will return to in-person settings this year, attendees will be able to test-drive an electric vehicle (EV), speak with local EV drivers, and learn about the many benefits of switching to electric. “Normal Now”-sponsored events will be outdoors and virtual, following local health and safety protocols.

National Drive Electric Week is a nationwide celebration of the benefits of ZEVs – a celebration even more relevant this year as the current presidential administration and local leaders across the country make EV adoption a bigger priority and as automakers continue pledging investments in more electric models.

“As the electric vehicle market grows along with availability of high speed charging stations, it is important to provide consumers with the opportunity for test drives and information on incentives and EV charging to help educate consumers on electric vehicle ownership,” said Misti Murphey, director of Marketing, Communications & CSR, Electrify America. “Over the last decade, Plug In America via their National Drive Electric Week events have been a key tool for providing EV education and raising EV awareness, and Electrify America is proud to share in this goal through another year of support for this important initiative.”

“Ride and Drive events are a valuable tool for educating the broader public about electric vehicles in order to drive EV adoption ,” said Joel Levin, executive director of Plug In America, a National Drive Electric Week organizer. “Electrify America has been a great collaborator the last three years, and we look forward to having their support again as we give drivers an EV experience they can’t get anywhere else.”

In 2020, Electrify America’s “Normal Now” campaign supported 24 virtual Ride and Drive events – and in 2019, 10 Electrify America-sponsored events led to more than 700 test drives in five U.S. states.

To view the full list of community events hosted throughout National Drive Electric Week, or to learn more about how to get involved in local initiatives, visit https://driveelectricweek.org/. And to help spread ZEV awareness during National Drive Electric Week and beyond, Electrify America encourages interested parties – including automakers, utilities, government agencies, community-based organizations and more – to visit https://toolkit.normalnow.com/ for a complimentary database of marketing assets from Normal Now.

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