In electric vehicle, battery and charging news are Volvo Trucks, Nikola Corp., Proterra Electric, MINI, ABB, WAVE, Tevva, SkyRail and Volta.
Volvo Trucks Opens Showcases Electric Models
Volvo Trucks North America recently celebrated the opening of its new electromobility showcase at its Customer Experience Center in Dublin, Virginia. The custom-designed facility offers its customers the unique opportunity to test drive the Volvo VNR Electric model around a 1.1-mile closed track, where drivers can experience real-world road conditions. Additionally, the 36,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility features new Volvo VNR Electric component displays, training, and fully operational charging infrastructure.
For the past two years, Daimler Truck and Torc Robotics have intensified their collaboration with their common goal to enable safe deployment of autonomous trucks (SAE Level 4) and shape the future of the trucking and logistics industry at large. Currently the partners are testing the next generation of trucks with SAE Level 4 intend technology on public roads in Virginia, New Mexico and Texas. This next generation of test trucks has integrated more sensors at higher resolutions to enhance object detection at longer ranges. Daimler Truck and Torc started their collaboration in spring 2019. Initial public road testing on highways began in September in southwest Virginia, where Torc is headquartered. Additionally, closed-track road testing has been conducted in Madras, OR, at Daimler Trucks North America’s High Desert Proving Grounds. In 2020, Daimler Trucks and Torc expanded testing of autonomous truck technology (SAE Level 4) to additional locations, also adding a new testing center in Albuquerque, NM.
Nikola Corp. Partners with OPAL Fuels
Nikola Corporation, a global leader in zero-emissions transportation and energy infrastructure solutions, and OPAL Fuels LLC, a trusted leader in delivering renewable natural gas and renewable fueling infrastructure for heavy-duty truck fleets, have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on the development, construction, and operation of hydrogen fueling stations in North America and the use of renewable natural gas (RNG) in hydrogen production. Under this strategic engagement, Nikola and OPAL Fuels intend to co-develop and co-market hydrogen refueling infrastructure to accelerate the adoption of heavy-duty zero-emission fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV).
This collaboration will combine Nikola’s proposed FCEV bundled lease offer, which will include Nikola’s FCEVs, vehicle service and maintenance and hydrogen fuel supply, with OPAL Fuels’ significant experience in developing, constructing, and operating heavy-duty truck fueling stations to deliver a complete end-to-end solution.
Austin Captial Metro Will Buy Proterra Electric Transit Buses
Proterra Inc, a leading innovator in commercial vehicle electrification technology, today announced that Capital Metro in Austin, Texas has approved a plan to purchase 26 40-foot Proterra ZX5 Max electric transit buses, featuring a total of more than 17 megawatt hours of battery storage capacity. The plan approved by Capital Metro also contains options for the agency to acquire an additional 126 40-foot electric transit buses and chargers over five years.
The procurement plan approved by Capital Metro marks one of the largest acquisitions of battery-electric transit buses in North America.
Capital Metro’s first Proterra ZX5 Max buses are slated to be delivered in 2022.
Today’s announcement is Capital Metro’s third and largest procurement of Proterra battery-electric transit buses. Over the past year and a half, the agency introduced its first six Proterra electric-transit buses as well as its North Operations electric bus yard, which utilizes Proterra Energy interoperable charging infrastructure to support the agency’s growing fleet of electric transit buses.
Designed and manufactured in the United States, Proterra’s electric transit buses are equipped with the company’s industry-leading battery technology systems. The 40-foot Proterra ZX5 Max selected by Capital Metro features 675 kWh of energy storage to deliver up to 329 miles of drive range on a single charge, which represents the most energy storage and longest drive range of any 40-foot electric bus available in the market today.
MINI USA Finds Americans Want Electric
-A new consumer survey carried out by MINI USA finds that American consumers are increasingly looking to electrify their daily on-road travel. Releasing the results during National Drive Electric Week, the survey commissioned by Engine’s CARAVAN® reveals that half of all consumers expect the American automotive market to be mostly electric within just 15 years. Not only that, but 80% of those surveyed would also consider an electric vehicle (EV) as their primary or secondary vehicle – a clear sign of progress in the mass adoption of EVs as the ideal mode of everyday transportation for both work and leisure.
While range remains a commonly discussed concern relative to consumers’ daily driving patterns, the survey revealed that 78% of respondents do not travel more than 50 miles per day on average. With most all electric cars today offering a range over 100 miles, this shows EVs are compatible for a strong majority of American drivers.
Attainability of EVs has also increased in the eyes of the American consumer. Close to half (47%) of all those surveyed believe that EVs have become more affordable and attainable in the last two years. This is also reflected in the 32% of respondents who claimed they’d consider purchasing an electric car within the next five years.
Younger consumers hold an especially positive attitude toward EVs, with Gen Z and Millennial consumers, indicating they are more likely to consider purchasing an EV in five years at 39% and 41%, respectively. They are also twice as likely to believe that electric cars fun to drive compared to older generations.
“Our latest survey shows that more consumers are shifting their attention to electric vehicles as they become more attainable and compelling to own relative to gas models.” said Mike Peyton, Chief Motorer and Vice President, MINI of the Americas. “EVs are especially becoming more attractive to a new generation – ’Gen EV’ as we say. These are people who are young, fun-seeking and environmentally minded, and want more attainable, fun-to-drive EV choices such as the MINI Cooper SE.
In addition to generational distinctions, regional differences were clear in the survey results. Consumers in Western states felt more optimistic (61%) about electric overtaking gas-powered vehicles in 15 years. In addition, more than half of consumers in the West also responded that they have become more knowledgeable about EVs in the last two years.
In a final observation, the MINI EV survey underscores that education remains a point of continued emphasis in the EV conversation. Despite a significant majority of Americans (78%) driving far less than the range threshold of most EVs, the survey revealed that just under half of respondents believe EV range is compatible with their daily driving patterns. In light of National Drive Electric Week, the MINI survey results show opportunity still exists to have an honest conversation about the place electric vehicles already have on American roadways as a fun, reliable, and accessible option for all.
ABB’s Fastest Charging
ABB is today launching an innovative all-in-one Electric Vehicle (EV) charger, which provides the fastest charging experience on the market.
ABB’s new Terra 360 is a modular charger which can simultaneously charge up to four vehicles with dynamic power distribution. This means that drivers will not have to wait if somebody else is already charging ahead of them. They simply pull up to another plug. The new charger has a maximum output of 360 kW and is capable of fully charging any electric car in 15 minutes or less, meeting the needs of a variety of EV users, whether they need a fast charge or to top their battery up while grocery shopping.
“With governments around the world writing public policy that favors electric vehicles and charging networks to combat climate change, the demand for EV charging infrastructure, especially charging stations that are fast, convenient and easy to operate is higher than ever,” said Frank Muehlon, President of ABB’s E-mobility Division. “The Terra 360, with charging options that fit a variety of needs, is the key to fulfilling that demand and accelerating e-mobility adoption globally.”
“It’s an exciting day for ABB, who as the global leader in electric vehicle fast charging, is playing a key role in enabling a low carbon society,” said Theodor Swedjemark, Chief Communications and Sustainability Officer at ABB. “With road transport accounting for nearly a fifth of global CO2 emissions, e-mobility is critical to achieving the Paris climate goal. We will also lead by example by switching our entire fleet of more than 10,000 vehicles to non-emitting vehicles.”
Available in Europe from the end of 2021, and in the USA, Latin America and Asia Pacific regions in 2022, Terra 360 is designed with the daily needs and expectations of EV drivers in mind. Leveraging the rich field experience gained by ABB E-mobility’s large installed base, the Terra 360 delivers speed and convenience along with comfort, ease-of-use and a sense of familiarity.
WAVE Develops 1-Megawatt Charging for Class 8 Trucks
Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification (WAVE), a subsidiary of Ideanomics and a leading developer of high-power inductive charging solutions for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, announced its participation in a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) electrified powertrain project to develop the 1-megawatt wireless charging system for Class 8 electric trucks.
The primary recipient of the cooperative agreement is Kenworth, who will collaborate with WAVE and Utah State University on system design. The project calls for WAVE systems at each end of a 400-mile regional haul route between Portland, OR, and Seattle, WA. Each charging station will deliver 1-megawatt of power from roadway-embedded charging pads, stationed at designated facilities in Seattle and Portland, to a specially equipped Kenworth T680 next-generation battery EV, enabling the vehicle to exceed its standard 150-mile range and complete the 400-mile route. At 1-megawatt, the system aims to charge the T680 batteries in 30 minutes or less. By comparison, a 250kW charger (equivalent to a high-power passenger vehicle charger today) would take over 1.5 hours.
Linamar Corp to Make eMatrix Modular Battery Packs
Linamar Corporation announced that it has entered into an exclusive Manufacturing and Licensing Agreement with Michigan-based eMatrix Energy Systems, Inc. to gain access to leading modular battery pack technology. The agreement positions Linamar as the exclusive manufacturing partner of eMatrix’s modular battery packs and grants Linamar exclusive licensing privileges in key markets. With the new partnership and investment, Linamar has taken a meaningful minority equity position in eMatrix ownership. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.
Under the umbrella of Linamar’s recently announced eLIN Product Solutions Group, this initiative is the Company’s first expansion into Power Storage solutions. The deal leverages Linamar’s expertise in manufacturing and supply chain management, as well as existing infrastructure and industry relationships to accelerate and expand the scaling of eMatrix’s product offerings. Further, the transaction allows Linamar to participate as both a shareholder and contract manufacturer with this rapidly growing startup.
eMatrix’s modular battery pack systems feature a unique pack design easily assembled to scale to customer needs, uses standard battery cells and are controlled with a unique Battery Management System designed to optimize thermal performance. The resultant system is scalable, flexible, lower cost and drives better efficiency in performance. The modular battery pack systems provide a highly competitive product offering to customers across Linamar’s Mobility and Industrial business segments.
“Fully-automated charging simplifies the electrification process,” said Kenworth General Manager and PACCAR Vice President, Kevin Baney. “The technology we’re developing with WAVE and Utah State will foster important advancements that extend Class 8 battery-electric vehicle range and reduce recharge times, enabling the T680 Next-Gen Battery EV to compete with the range of diesel models.”
WAVE was selected for the project because of its demonstrated commercial success in delivering high-power wireless charging solutions for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. As an example, the Antelope Valley Transit Authority in northern Los Angeles County, who recently placed a $2.2 million order, operates the largest battery-electric bus fleet in the U.S., powered by 12 WAVE wireless chargers over 100 square route miles.
“At the megawatt power levels required by Class 8 EVs, there are significant advantages to eliminating mechanical movement and human contact associated with current charging technologies,” said WAVE Chief Technology Officer, Michael Masquelier. “The work we are doing with Kenworth and Utah State University will help enable fleet operators to extend the range of heavy-duty EVs, making the industry’s zero-emission goals more attainable”
The fully automated, hands-free WAVE system charges vehicles during scheduled stops, eliminating battery range limitations and enables fleets to achieve driving ranges that match that of internal combustion engines. Wireless charging systems offer several compelling benefits over plug-in-based charging systems, including reduced maintenance, improved health and safety, and expedited energy connection. Furthermore, wireless in-route charging enables greater route lengths with smaller batteries while also maintaining battery life.
Tevva Reveals Truck
Electric truck pioneer Tevva has unveiled the new Tevva Truck – the first British designed 7.5-tonne electric truck intended for mass production.
The Tevva Truck will address the immediate industry need to electrify, with the EU committed to net zero emissions by 2050 alongside a proposed ban on the sale of all polluting vehicles by 2035.
Allison Transmission to be Offered by Flyer Industries
Allison Transmission, a leading designer and manufacturer of conventional, electric hybrid and fully electric vehicle propulsion solutions, today announced that New Flyer Industries Canada ULC and New Flyer of America Inc. (together “New Flyer”) will begin offering eGen Flex in early 2022, Allison’s next generation electric hybrid propulsion solution. New Flyer is North America’s largest transit bus manufacturer and a subsidiary of NFI Group Inc. (NFI), one of the world’s leading independent global bus manufacturers.
LA Working on SkyRail Monorail
Demonstrating a very strong commitment to diversity and opportunity in the transportation sector, Los Angeles SkyRail Express (LASRE) is partnering with 33 Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) as it performs pre-development work on an innovative monorail transportation solution for LA’s traffic-congested Sepulveda Pass/405 Corridor between the San Fernando Valley, Westside, and ultimately LAX.
Going beyond meeting minimum requirements called for in its Pre-Development Agreement (PDA) contract with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), LASRE is proactively affording every practicable opportunity for the DBE community to participate in the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project.
“Diversity and inclusion are core values for the LASRE team,” said Teresa Maxwell, LASRE DBE Liaison Manager. “DBEs are an integral part of the team and the LASRE Academy workshops and DBE mentoring plan demonstrate our commitment to including small minority and women-owned firms and supporting them throughout every phase of the project so they are successful.”
The LASRE team is comprised of several of the nation’s and the world’s leading transportation, construction, engineering, finance, and technology companies. This predominantly local team is led by John Laing, Skanska, BYD, Gensler, HDR, ACI, and Innova.
Each firm is either headquartered in Los Angeles or has a major regional center here. Combined, the team employs over 2,300 workers in the Los Angeles metro area.
LASRE’s DBE Contracting Outreach and Mentoring Plan builds further upon this commitment by engaging individual DBEs as protégés in a customized Mentor-Protégé Program that addresses their unique needs and focuses on helping the DBE protégés meet strategic business objectives. Additionally, through the LASRE Academy, workshops will be offered to DBE teaming partners to ensure capacity building opportunities are available to small businesses on the project.
If ultimately selected as Metro’s preferred team and technology, LASRE proposes to link the historically underserved San Fernando Valley to the Westside transportation and education hubs, including options to connect directly with UCLA, with a straddle monorail system that runs on narrow guide beams that both support and guide the trains.
Straddle-type urban monorail is proven to provide safe, comfortable and reliable transportation in dense urban areas all over the world, with the International Monorail Association listing straddle-type urban monorail transit systems in 42 cities worldwide, moving millions of passengers per day.
LASRE team members have worked on several such projects. For example, the Team’s lead structural engineering firm, Innova, itself a certified DBE, has provided structural design services on new monorail systems under construction in some of the world’s largest cities, including Bangkok, Cairo, and Sao Paulo. Further, BYD has extensive experience with such systems, including 14 contracted straddle-type monorail and automated people mover systems in operation, construction, or planning, in both Asia and the Americas.
In addition, LASRE technology supplier BYD also is a member of two teams that have been short-listed to build advanced technology automated people mover projects on the East Coast. BYD is part of Liberty Integrated Connectors, a team vying to build, operate, and maintain a new AirTrain system at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey; and also is a member of The LaGuardia Connectors, a team vying to build, operate, and maintain an AirTrain system for New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
Finally, LASRE’s selected lead construction company, Skanska, has compiled a very strong track record of success in Los Angeles County, both as a builder of several of Metro’s rail rapid transit lines, and as the builder of many Caltrans and local highway and bridge projects, employing thousands of local construction workers and many DBE firms.
Volta Gets Patents for Ads and Articulating Panels
–Volta Inc. (“Volta”), an industry leader in commerce-centric electric vehicle (“EV”) charging networks, announced the issuance of two utility patents to Volta Charging by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; U.S. Patent numbers 11,117,482 (the ‘482), and 11,132,715 (the ‘715).
The ‘715 patent, titled Systems and Methods for Providing Targeted Advertisements to a Charging Station for Electric Vehicles, covers a variation of Volta’s innovative method of providing targeted advertisements via EV charging stations. The patent’s claims include selecting and then displaying an ad at a charging station being actively used to charge an EV based on information known about the individual using that station. When the station is not charging an EV, a different set of ads may be displayed based on certain demographic information related to the location of that charging station.
The ‘482 patent, titled Charging Station with Articulating Panels, covers Volta’s invention of an EV charging station equipped with two electronic displays. Each display is hinged to a panel on the opposite sides of the EV charger’s frame so that the panels may open and close with respect to the frame. The design allows for convenient access behind the displays and inside the EV charger.
These patents join other patents in Volta’s U.S. and international patent portfolio, further protecting Volta’s unique charging station design and approach to maximizing outcomes for Volta’s brand and real estate partners, while also delivering a highly differentiated driver experience. Volta’s charging stations — which feature large, eye-catching digital displays — provide a premium content viewing experience for both the drivers who plug their vehicles into the stations and the customers who shop at nearby retailers. Brands running campaigns on Volta’s stations report experiencing positive results in brand awareness and increased purchase intent.
“Our value proposition for brand partners, site owners and drivers alike has always been predicated on our ability to innovate and adapt,” said Scott Mercer, Founder and CEO of Volta. “These new patents add to a portfolio that reflects the foundational elements of our product design and our rich user experience, further positioning us as a premium partner within the EV charging space.”
The ‘482 patent was issued on September 14th, while the ‘715 patent was issued on September 28th. Volta has also been granted nine U.S. design patents for its charging station related designs, in addition to international patents.