EV Battery and Charging News: Octillion Energy, ELMS, Nauto, EVgo, VW, Ford, Goodyear, Bridgestone, , SEA Electric, Lucid, Blink, Arrival, Tritium, ARAMCO, ZEV & GM

In electric vehicle, battery and charging news are Octillion Energy, ELMS, Nauto, EVgo, Ford, Goodyear, Bridgestone, Volkswagen, 24M Technologies, SEA Electric, Lucid Group, Blink, Arrival, Tritium, ARAMCO, ZEV and GM.

EVgo Ready for CA Grants

EVgo Inc.  the nation’s largest public fast charging network for electric vehicles (EVs) and first powered by 100% renewable electricity, announced that it was selected for proposed awards for various grants from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) through the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to install new high powered direct current fast chargers (DCFC) to help the state meet its transportation electrification goals. The five proposed awards are funded by the California Volkswagen Mitigation Environmental Trust and support the state’s ZEV Action Plan.

Public funding helps accelerate the deployment of infrastructure to support EV adoption. EVgo currently has more than 330 sites and 820 fast charging stalls across California. This new set of sites will add 5 more fast charging locations, 38 charging stalls, including one large site in Los Angeles with 18 charging stalls enabling more retail drivers and fleets around the city to make the transition to electric vehicles. All of these sites will include power-sharing and power-routing 350kW fast chargers, capable of charging most vehicles up to 80% in 15 to 45 minutes*.

“As a home state company, EVgo thanks CARB and BAAQMD for their leadership in supporting EV adoption and for selecting EVgo for these proposed funding awards,” said Jonathan Levy, Chief Commercial Officer at EVgo. “EVgo has a long track record of successfully partnering with public sector agencies to deploy fast charging, and these new sites will help enable Californians across neighborhoods and income levels take advantage of the benefits of driving electric.”

The California Volkswagen Mitigation Environmental Trust, which resulted from the dieselgate scandal, allocated $5 million to fund light duty zero-emission infrastructure. A minimum of 50% of the funds are directed to disadvantaged and low-income communities to expand EV charging access across the state. EVgo has a long history of working to install charging infrastructure across California, including the first chargers in Compton and Inglewood, California, and continues to work with local community-based organizations to ensure equal access to EV charging infrastructure. Currently, more than 80% of Californians live within a 10-mile drive of an EVgo fast charger, ensuring access to a reliable network for the growing number EV adopters in the state.

* Actual charging speed depends on vehicle’s charging capability.

No More Reservations for Ford F-150

Ford has stopped taking reservations for the electric F-150 Lightning after recieving 200,000 refundable $100 deposits since May.

Bridgestone Supplies Tires for Audi Q4 e-tron

Bridgestone has been selected as tire supplier for the Audi Q4 e-tron – Audi’s first compact, fully-electric SUV. To meet Audi’s demanding technical requirements for the Q4 e-tron, Bridgestone developed custom-engineered ultra-low rolling resistance summer tires with ENLITEN Technology. Sustainable and lightweight, ENLITEN Technology reduces tire rolling resistance by up to 30% and weight by up to 20% to extend EV driving range and reduce environmental impact thanks to improved resource productivity.1

Goodyear Partners for Monolith for Carbon Black from Sustainable Sources

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company announced that it has signed a collaboration agreement and letter of intent with Monolith for the development and potential use of carbon black produced from methane and/or biomethane for tires. Goodyear is a leader in the industry in embracing this form of carbon black produced through a plasma-based methane pyrolysis process, which will help advance Goodyear’s work to identify and use more sustainable materials.

VW and 24M Partner for Next Gen Lithium-Ion EV Batteries

Volkswagen Group (VWAG) and 24M Technologies, Inc. (24M) announced they have entered into a strategic partnership to manufacture next-generation lithium-ion EV batteries using the 24M SemiSolid™ platform. The partnership is focused on the development of production technology for SemiSolidTM battery cells for use in VWAG electric vehicles (EVs).

As part of the partnership, VWAG will make a strategic investment into 24M. In addition to the direct investments, VWAG will establish a wholly owned subsidiary that will, in cooperation with 24M, develop a SemiSolidTM battery cell production technology for automotive applications.

With EV demand on the rise, carmakers need battery solutions that are beyond R&D and can be implemented immediately and cost effectively. The SemiSolidTM manufacturing platform delivers on both. Through strategic partnerships with energy innovators like GPSC, Kyocera, AXXIVA, LucasTVS, FREYR, Koch Strategic Platforms and now VWAG, 24M has built an ecosystem to rapidly scale the SemiSolidTM manufacturing platform.

FREYR Battery VW and 24M

FREYR Battery (NYSE: FREY) (“FREYR”), a developer of clean, next-generation battery cell production, welcomes the strategic partnership and investment announced between FREYR’s partner, 24M Technologies, Inc. (“24M”) and Volkswagen Group (“VWAG”) to manufacture next-generation lithium-ion EV batteries using 24M’s SemiSolid™ platform. The partnership is focused on the development of production technology for SemiSolid™ battery cells for use in VWAG electric vehicles (EVs).

As part of the partnership, VWAG will make a strategic investment into 24M. In addition to the direct investment, VWAG will establish a wholly owned subsidiary that will, in cooperation with 24M, develop a SemiSolid™ battery cell production technology for automotive applications.

SEA Electric and MTE to Electrify School Buses

SEA Electric and Midwest Transit Equipment (MTE) have partnered to update 10,000 school buses with battery-electric power-systems, the biggest deal of its kind to date, which paves the way for a zero-emissions future for children’s transport in North America.

MTE, one of the largest school bus dealers in the country, will be able to provide clients with a near new 100% electric bus at a fraction of the cost of a new electric school bus.  The deal will cover both Type A and Type C school buses, with the deliveries scheduled over the next five years.

These buses will be powered by SEA Electric’s SEA-Drive(R) power system that currently powers buses and work trucks on four continents and six countries with over a million miles of real-world use globally.

SEA Electric will power near-new fully electric buses and extend their service life by ten plus years.  This partnership promotes the ESG principle of secondary use, while reducing waste, eliminating diesel particulates and most importantly positively impacting the health and wellbeing of our students.

Each bus will have the ability to deliver full vehicle-to-grid capabilities, with the SEA-Drive(R) power system able to feed electricity back into the power grid to improve stability when connected to a charging station.

Lucid Group Selects B of A for Lending

Lucid Group  which is setting new standards with its advanced luxury electric vehicles (EVs), announced it has selected Bank of America as its preferred lending partner. Lucid customers can apply for financing online at Bank of America or work with concierge agents for a seamless financing experience. Lucid began deliveries of the Lucid Air in October and has more than 17,000 reservations across all models.

SG Block Partners with Blink Charging

-SG Blocks, Inc.  a leading designer, innovator and fabricator of modular structures, announced that SGB Development Corp. (“SGB DevCorp”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, will collaborate with Blink Charging Co. (Nasdaq: BLNK, BLNKW) a leading owner, operator, and provider of electric vehicle (“EV”) charging equipment and services, to deploy Blink’s EV charging technology via SG Blocks’ modular designs.

This agreement expands the original 2020 Master Development and Production Agreement, executed between SG Blocks and Blink, to include SGB DevCorp, the Company’s real estate development subsidiary, whose mission is to maximize the delivery of affordable multifamily housing developments. SGB DevCorp expects to use Blink’s technology in all current and future development sites, elevating the amenities offered at each location and enabling each resident the opportunity to reduce their own carbon footprint.

The first project between the two companies plans to deploy 300+ EV chargers at SGB DevCorp’s site in Lago Vista, Texas. The innovative residential project features one- and two-bedroom units utilizing modular construction practices. Modular designed projects such as Lago Vista reduce the overall time to completion and have a smaller carbon footprint through the reduction of consumed materials and building in a controlled environment (such as the SG ECHO factory). Modular design and construction also allows for efficient installation process as new technology reveals itself or needs to be developed. Modular construction is one of the fastest growing verticals in construction because of its ecological and financial benefits.

Arrival HVBM Plant in Charlotte

 Arrival (NASDAQ: ARVL), on a mission to make air clean by replacing all vehicles with affordable electric solutions produced by local Microfactories, announced that it is establishing a High Voltage Battery Module (HVBM) assembly plant on Charlotte’s west side, adding 150 jobs and investing approximately $11.5 million. This will be Arrival’s third facility in Charlotte, including its North American headquarters in South End and its Van Microfactory also on the west side.Arrival assembles its own proprietary battery modules that can be used in all of its platforms, enabling the customer to configure their battery requirements according to their specific needs. The in-house design fits within Arrival’s plug-and-play hardware and software architecture that allows for scalability, upgradability and ease of repairs and maintenance. Arrival’s proprietary software runs across all of its in-house components, diagnosing potential issues and optimizing the customer experience, improving the total cost of operations. Operators are able to replace just one module instead of a whole pack, saving both costs and downtime.The modules manufactured in Charlotte will be used in the Arrival Bus and Van being produced at nearby Microfactories. Earlier this week, Arrival also announced a collaboration agreement with Li-Cycle, a leading lithium-ion battery recycler in North America, to create a closed-loop EV battery supply chain in the U.S. and Europe. Arrival believes its vehicles will be truly sustainable – and this local HVBM facility will be a key piece of Arrival’s broader sustainability strategy – being situated locally and creating easily upgradable components that can prolong the life of the vehicle. The wider strategy also includes a zero-waste production goal and the use of recyclable composite materials for the vehicle body that are more durable than steel and don’t require painting.///

Tritium Reveals New Architecture PKM

Tritium Holdings Pty Ltd (“Tritium” or the “Company”), a leading global developer and manufacturer of direct current (“DC”) fast charging technology for electric vehicles (“EVs”), unveiled the PKM, the Company’s new architecture and line of fast chargers.

The PKM line is designed to break the linear relationship between the power conversion equipment, which manages the electrical grid feed to the site, and charger power output, which manages electricity delivery to an EV. This development grants charge point operators the freedom to share one central source of converted DC power around the site. Since the infrastructure is shared, less equipment is needed, enabling operators to deploy more charging stations and increase the number of fast chargers available for EV drivers.

The PKM represents the Company’s most innovative line of fast chargers, greatly expanding the Company’s unique approach to modular and scalable charging architecture, with a groundbreaking system focused on providing customers with the flexibility to size charging sites for today’s demand and also easily scale infrastructure to meet future site and EV charging capabilities.

“One of the biggest challenges in the EV charging industry right now is increasing utilization without increasing driver waiting times for a charge. Operating and capital costs are traditionally proportional to peak power requirements, yet the revenue our customers generate comes from average power delivery,” said Tritium Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer David Finn. “The PKM provides a new, distributed architecture that delivers unique site capital efficiency and scalability. With the PKM150, we’ve built a strong foundational model for this new platform that will offer our customers the opportunity to deploy more capital efficient sites, which will in turn allow them to build more charging sites across their networks.”

The PKM150 is the first fast charging system to be announced on the Company’s new PKM architecture. The PKM150 system leverages Tritium’s patented liquid-cooled modular design, pioneered with the Company’s award-winning RTM fast charger, and provides customers with the opportunity to choose between 50kW, 100kW or 150kW of dual-cable charging station power to meet their business needs. The modular construction of these chargers makes them faster and easier to service and build compared to non-modular systems. Through the modular design, Tritium can provide customers with chargers, components and modules that have been rigorously field tested and are interchangeable between models. This vision is already being realized, with up to 80% of the same components being used between the RTM and PKM150 charging stations.

“Our customers are critical to Tritium’s success, and through our more than ten years of fast charging experience they have provided Tritium with the valuable insights and a description of the features they need to optimize their business,” said Tritium Chief Revenue Officer David Toomey. “The PKM150 leverages customer feedback along with the data and knowledge Tritium has acquired from delivering more than 3.6 million high-power charging sessions, to provide Tritium’s highest degree of product performance and flexibility. With the PKM150, our customers can truly grow and scale their fast charging infrastructure to meet rapidly evolving industry, growing driver and battery technology demands through our advanced hardware and software.”

The DC microgrid unique to the PKM architecture transmits power across the system at 950V DC rather than 400V alternating current (“AC”). This design reduces the gauge of cabling in half, which can lead to up to tens of thousands of dollars in savings for small charging sites and hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings for large charging sites.

MP Materials Building RE Maget Plant in Fort Worth Texas

MP Materials Corp. (NYSE: MP) announced that it will build its initial rare earth (RE) metal, alloy and magnet manufacturing facility in Fort Worth, Texas. The company also announced that it has entered a binding, long-term agreement with General Motors (NYSE: GM) to supply U.S.-sourced and manufactured rare earth materials, alloy and finished magnets for the electric motors in more than a dozen models using GM’s Ultium Platform, with a gradual production ramp that begins in 2023.

In Fort Worth, MP Materials will develop a 200,000 sq. ft. greenfield metal, alloy and neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnet manufacturing facility, which will also serve as the business and engineering headquarters for its growing magnetics division, MP Magnetics. The facility will create more than 100 skilled jobs and be located in the AllianceTexas development owned and operated by Hillwood, a Perot company.

MP’s initial magnetics facility will have the capacity to produce approximately 1,000 tonnes of finished NdFeB magnets per year with the potential to power approximately 500,000 EV motors annually. The NdFeB alloy and magnets produced will also support other key markets, including clean energy, electronic and defense technologies. The facility will also supply NdFeB alloy flake to other magnet producers to help develop a diverse and resilient U.S. magnet supply chain.

“MP Materials has built an exceptional magnetics team and important commercial relationships that will accelerate our mission to restore the full rare earth supply chain to the United States,” said MP Materials Chairman & CEO, James Litinsky. “This is a momentous occasion for the reshoring of the American supply chain, and we are grateful for GM’s confidence, commitment and leadership.”

NdFeB Magnets Are Essential to Modern Tech
NdFeB permanent magnets are critical inputs to the electric motors and generators that enable EVs, robots, wind turbines, drones, defense systems and other technologies to transform electricity into motion and motion into electricity. Although development of permanent magnets originated in the United States, the U.S. has virtually no capacity to produce sintered NdFeB magnets today.

Like semiconductors, which became linked to virtually every aspect of life as computers and software proliferated, NdFeB magnets are fundamental building blocks in modern technologies and will increase in importance as the global economy electrifies and decarbonizes. Adamas Intelligence, an independent research firm, expects global NdFeB demand to double by 2030 driven largely by increased production of EVs.

Scaling Domestic RE Magnet Production to Support the EV Revolution
MP Materials’ initial Fort Worth metal and magnet facility is deliberately sized to achieve commercial economics at the minimum required scale. This measured approach will enable MP Materials to refine its production processes and technologies, and apply learnings to future, higher volume facilities.

MP Materials’ Fort Worth facility will consume less than 10% of the 6,075 tonnes of NdPr oxide MP Materials expects to produce annually at Mountain Pass. The company envisions building additional alloy and magnet capacity in the future to consume a greater percentage of its primary production and supply growing U.S. demand.

Environmental Sustainability & Recycling
MP Materials’ operations spanning California and Texas will provide certainty of provenance and sustainability. Mountain Pass is a closed loop, zero-discharge RE production facility with a dry tailings process that recycles more than one billion liters of water per year. The facility operates in full compliance with U.S. and California environmental regulations.

The vertically integrated nature of MP’s operation also provides flexibility to optimize recycling pathways using a first principles approach. Waste generated during the alloy and magnet production process will be recycled. End-of-life magnets can also be re-processed into high purity separated RE oxides at Mountain Pass. The recycled oxides can then be refined into metal and, once again, produced into high performance magnets. MP’s vertically integrated operation also allows for the development of more novel recycling pathways that shortcut these traditional approaches. The company is currently developing end-of-life, circular recycling concepts with significant commercial entities.

MP Materials (NYSE: MP) is the largest producer of rare earth materials in the Western Hemisphere. The Company owns and operates the Mountain Pass Rare Earth Mine and Processing Facility (Mountain Pass), the only rare earth mining and processing site of scale in North America. MP Materials produced approximately 15% of the rare earth content consumed in the global market in 2020. Separated rare earth elements are critical inputs for the magnets that enable the mobility of electric vehicles, drones, defense systems, wind turbines, robotics and many other high-growth, advanced technologies.

ARAMCO & GAUSSIN Partner for Hydrogen

ARAMCO, one of the world’s leading integrated energy and chemicals companies, and GAUSSIN (ALGAU – FR0013495298), a pioneer in the clean and intelligent transport of goods and people, have started a partnership in the hydrogen vehicles business.

The signing of this agreement took place in the presence of H.E. Khalid Al Falih, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Investment and H.E. Franck Riester, France’s Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, as well as Aramco’s President and CEO, Amin H. Nasser.

Christophe Gaussin, CEO of Gaussin, was personally invited to participate in the delegation of French CEOs accompanying French President Emmanuel Macron on his state visit from December 2-4, 2021, to Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. The business delegation included organizations such as Airbus, Ardian, Egis, Air Liquide, Engie, GL events, HSBC and EDF.

The agreement between Aramco and Gaussin aims to establish a modern manufacturing facility for hydrogen-powered vehicles in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As a first step, Gaussin and Aramco will study the feasibility of a manufacturing facility and a hydrogen distribution business to serve the Middle East region.

The two companies also agreed that Aramco’s new Advanced Innovation Center (LAB7) will be closely involved in Gaussin’s development of hydrogen-powered vehicles and the development of a remote controlled/autonomous hydrogen racing truck. LAB7 aims to integrate Aramco’s composite materials into Gaussin’s existing range of products to reduce the weight, energy consumption and cost of these vehicles.

Aramco will also be sponsoring the world’s first hydrogen-fueled racing truck, which has been developed by Gaussin and which will compete in the January 2022 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia – the Gaussin H2 Racing Truck (see press release, November 9, 2021) which will run as an experimental new energy vehicle. Aramco’s sponsorship of Gaussin’s participation in the Dakar Rally continues to promote low-emission transportation technology developments.

The Mobility House Shows Successful Smart Charging in Stockton

The Mobility House announced Stockton Unified School District has reduced over 120,000 pounds of carbon emissions since the start of the 2021 school year, or equivalent of consuming 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel. Leveraging The Mobility House’s smart charging and energy management system ChargePilot, the district continues to ensure all buses remain available for assigned routes while minimizing charging costs. In conjunction with California Energy Commission’s new blueprint grant, The Mobility House will also use the district’s 92 vehicle fleet to analyze charging requirements, operations and potential vehicle-to-grid (V2G) revenue opportunities for other school districts./

“Seeing Stockton Unified School District’s electric buses now in action, and measuring their early positive impact on the community, is perfect momentum for The Mobility House to carry into the STN EXPO,” said Zoheb Davar, director of business development and growth for The Mobility House. “On their path to becoming the nation’s leading zero-emission school district, Stockton’s electrification initiatives are a blueprint for schools across the country to proactively reduce their carbon footprint while streamlining fleet operations.”

The Mobility House’s ChargePilot software intelligently optimizes the charging performance of electric bus fleets. Based on factors like real-time travel schedules, battery life, local utility rates and peak demand charges, ChargePilot delivers reliable, clean transportation at the lowest cost to fleet operators. In addition to Stockton Unified School District, ChargePilot has been deployed at more than 500 electric charging installations, including Ocean View School District as well as at the largest U.S. and European fleets.

Nauto to Supply Safety Tech for ELMS

Nauto, a leading provider of AI-based vehicle safety technology for commercial fleets and the automotive sector, announced it has launched a partnership with Electric Last Mile Solutions, Inc.  a pioneer of electric and intelligent mobility solutions for commercial vehicle customers.

ELMS plans to offer Nauto’s advanced predictive-AI fleet safety platform as a customer option, available pre-installed on new vehicles. The partnership will help drivers of ELMS vehicles avoid collisions and enable fleet managers to improve operational efficiency, reduce vehicle downtime and provide cost savings from discounted insurance premiums. Nauto’s safety platform option will be available through the ELMS Air + Driver Safety Package.

“ELMS vehicles understand their environment, containing advanced sensors with deep learning and predictive behavioral algorithms that improve operational efficiency and reduce downtime,” said Jonathan Ballon, Chief Strategy and Digital Officer, ELMS. “Together with Nauto, ELMS customers will dramatically increase the safety and performance of their drivers.”

Trained on more than 1.3 billion AI-processed driving miles and used by the world’s top commercial fleets, Nauto’s AI solution is designed to warn drivers of imminent collisions before they happen. These predictive alerts may translate into critical extra time for drivers to react, helping to avoid collisions and reduce the costs that result from them. Nauto technology has demonstrated its ability to deliver preventive warnings with 95-99% accuracy, and dramatically reduce risky driving behaviors in just a few weeks.

Customers of ELMS’ Urban Delivery and Urban Utility vehicles will leverage Nauto’s technology across various use cases and industries, including parcel delivery, telecom, utilities, hauling, and e-commerce.

“As a commercial EV leader, it’s a natural fit for ELMS to continue to innovate. This partnership will upgrade the safety capabilities across ELMS fleets, and help keep communities safe,” said Stefan Heck, CEO, Nauto. “We look forward to working with ELMS to reduce risk for not only drivers, but also vulnerable road users like cyclists, children, and pedestrians. Nauto’s fleet customers drive a disproportionate number of urban miles, which are the most complex, highest risk roads where fatalities take place. Together we’re working towards vision zero – zero emissions, zero fatalities.”

Octillion Energy Supplies 1,500-2,000 EV Battery Packs a Day

Octillion Energy, a global supplier of advanced high-density lithium-ion battery packs for passenger cars, trucks, buses, and energy-storage systems, announced it has achieved the milestone of shipping over 1,500 battery packs a day and expects to hit 2,000 packs per day this month.

Averaged over the course of a year, Octillion expects to sell approximately 200,000 battery packs in 2021, which equals more than three gigawatt hours (GWh). The company anticipates tripling that volume in 2022 to almost 600,000 batteries.

“These are remarkable numbers and show how we’re now a global force in providing high-density, high-output EV batteries,” said Paul Beach, president, Octillion Power Systems, the United States-based subsidiary of Octillion Energy. “We’re especially proud of our role in supplying batteries for the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV. It’s the best-selling electric vehicle in China and helping us to drive our production of battery packs.”

Octillion is a global supplier of advanced high-density lithium-ion battery packs for passenger cars, trucks, buses, and energy-storage systems. The company has operations in six locations in Asia and North America with a global workforce of more than 400 employees. Battery manufacturing facilities operated by Octillion are in the U.S., China, and India.

Octillion has delivered more than 300,000 EV batteries to the global EV market with more than 4.5 billion kilometers driven on its systems. Octillion’s advanced circuit boards for its battery management systems are designed in California, while the packs themselves are often built in the country where the vehicles are operated.

ZEV Partners with AAMCO for  ASP

Zero Electric Vehicles, Inc. (the “Company” or “ZEV”) has partnered with AAMCO Transmissions and Total Car Care of: MesaEast MesaGilbert/SanTan, Gilbert/Chandler (AMMCO Phoenix) to Electrify Vehicles by establishing an Authorized Service Provider (ASP) network to provide EV vehicle conversions and post conversion warranty support throughout the Southwest US region.

As a ZEV ASPAMMCO “Phoenix will initially be certified to ZEV standards for the Athena program which provides conversion and on-going support of Class 2-4 commercial vehicles throughout the region.  Athena – the fastest path to electrification for commercial fleets – brings new life to existing assets, uses trusted and proven industry components, and is typically completed in a 1-day turnaround in a certified shop.

AMMCO “Phoenix is also serving as our launch partner for the Athena program across the broader national AMMCO franchise network and will provide active on-going support in enabling and certifying other AMMCO franchisees to provide these services professionally and with high quality in their respective regions.

Wayne Martella, Leader of AMMCO “Phoenix“, notes: “There is no better time than now to work with local technology innovators such as ZEV to bring low-cost electric vehicle solutions to commercial fleets.  Our partnership with ZEV complements our Total Car Care program while tapping into the deep technical expertise and many years of experience our staff has in vehicle service and support”.

AMMCO ‘Phoenix is uniquely equipped to support our fleet customers. This partnership helps accelerate AMMCO’s move into EV services while also bringing immediate scale and regional support capabilities to our customers.”, advises Michael Mayfield, SVP of ZEV Services and Support.  “Also, with both Companies being based in the Phoenix Metro area, the synergies between our Companies are easily developed, enhanced, and continuously managed to ensure a seamless service experience.”

inTEST Corp Acquires Acculogic

inTEST Corporation (NYSE American: INTT), a global supplier of innovative test and process solutions for the automotive, defense/aerospace, industrial, life science, semiconductor and telecommunications markets, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Acculogic Inc. (“Acculogic”) and its affiliates, a global manufacturer of robotics-based electronic production test equipment and application support services, for approximately USD$9 million. The purchase price is expected to be funded with borrowings under the Company’s existing delayed draw term credit facility. The transaction is expected to close within the next 30 days, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

IIJA Superfunding for Electricfication

– The $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) provides significant funding to electrify and modernize transportation. Already ahead of the curve is sustainable technology company Motiv Power Systems. Focused on providing a seamless pathway to the electrification of medium-duty trucks and buses, the company announced successful testing for the Electronic Stability Control System (ESC) on its EPIC4 platform. The Double Lane Change Handling test, conducted by the Transportation Research Center Inc (TRC Inc.), examined the use of automatic computer-controlled braking of individual wheels to help operators maintain control in critical or hazardous driving conditions. Motiv Power Systems EPIC4 is the first medium-duty class 4 electric vehicle (EV) to pass this type of validation, providing added safety to drivers and passengers of the many all-electric trucks and buses built using the Motiv EPIC4, including school buses.

As a broad-spectrum technology application, ESC plays a vital role in the future of EV safety. Vehicles equipped with this advanced technology can assist drivers on their daily routes during sudden turns or decelerations, which might otherwise cause roll-over or skidding due to loss of road traction.

“I’m proud of Motiv to lead the medium-duty EV industry in the adoption of this critical safety technology – electric vehicles should be held to the same or higher safety standards than their internal combustion alternatives,” said Jim Castelaz, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Motiv.  “While it is an especially high-impact safety feature for those EPIC chassis built into school and shuttle buses and one more step in maximizing passenger safety, this technology also provides safety for pedestrians, bikers, and others nearby.”

In business for over 45 years, TRC Inc. has been North America’s most advanced, independent mobility testing service provider, fulfilling the complex engineering, research, evaluation and testing needs of the world’s leading transportation companies. Motiv working with TRC to achieve this milestone certification is the next step in furthering the company’s already mature technology.

The Electric Power Intelligent Chassis® (EPIC) is Motiv’s family of battery-electric chassis built on proven OEM platforms like Ford’s E-450 and F-59. The EV technology on these chassis was the first all-electric system to receive Ford eQVM approval in 2017 and has since powered many vehicles, including school busses and. The last-mile operation and return-to-depot use case makes these vehicles a perfect candidate for electrification. Motiv’s technology is now in its fifth generation, packed with features and improvements based on their experience from real-world deployments over the past five years. To date, Motiv has over 1mil real-world electric miles through customers like USPS, Aramark, Cintas, and more. The ESC feature is expected to be available on the F59 chassis configuration in 2022.//

Merge Electric Fleet Solutions, a premier fleet electrification services and finance company, announced the close of a Series A funding round led by strategic investor Pickering Energy Partners (PEP). Merge will use the funding to accelerate team expansion and broaden its electrification services offerings to additional fleet segments.

Merge supports fleets through the entire lifecycle of EV transition including planning, deployment, operations, and financial services. The company’s unique vehicle-driven infrastructure planning process is built on an analytics engine that maximizes economic and environmental benefits while minimizing operational risk. This approach provides customers with a data-driven plan to hit measurable and realistic goals for pilot programs and full deployment.

Featuring a best-in-class founding team led by EV-industry pioneer Glen Stancil, Merge combines vehicle, infrastructure, and financial expertise to provide fleets with simple and affordable electrification solutions. The Merge team brings decades of EV experience from designing, delivering, and operating integrated charging solutions for residential and commercial applications on L2 and DC platforms at over 1,500 sites across 40 states.

GM and MP Partner for Supply of Rare Earth Metals

General Motors and MP Materials announced the formation of a strategic collaboration to develop a fully integrated U.S. supply chain for rare earth magnets. Under the long-term agreement, MP Materials will supply U.S.-sourced and manufactured rare earth materials, alloy and finished magnets for the electric motors used in the GMC HUMMER EV, Cadillac LYRIQ, Chevrolet Silverado EV and more than a dozen models using GM’s Ultium Platform, with a gradual production ramp that begins in 2023.

Neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnets are critical inputs that enable electric motors to transform electricity into motion. Although development of permanent magnets began in the U.S., there is virtually no domestic capacity to produce sintered NdFeB magnets today. This strategic collaboration seeks to accelerate the restoration of the U.S. rare earth supply chain at commercial scale with high resiliency and environmental sustainability.

MP Materials owns and operates the Mountain Pass rare earth mine and processing facility in California, the only active and scaled rare earth production site in America. Rare earth materials sourced from Mountain Pass will be transformed into metal, NdFeB alloy and magnets at a new production facility MP Materials  announced it will build in Fort Worth, Texas, delivering an end-to-end, U.S. supply chain.

GM Plant for Magnets

General Motors  is taking another major step forward in creating a strong, sustainable and scalable supply chain for electric vehicles. GM and VAC of Germany announced plans for VAC to build a plant in the U.S. that will manufacture permanent magnets for the electric motors used in the GMC HUMMER EV, Cadillac LYRIQ, Chevrolet Silverado EV and more than a dozen other models using GM’s Ultium Platform. The new plant would plan to use locally sourced raw materials.

VAC is a leading global producer of advanced magnetic materials and the largest producer of permanent magnets in the Western Hemisphere with nearly 100 years of experience.

“We are building a resilient and sustainable EV manufacturing value chain in North America from raw materials to components to drive GM’s growth and support a mass market for EVs,” said Shilpan Amin, GM vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain.  “Our work with VAC is another bold step forward that will help ensure that we meet our goal to lead the EV industry in North America in more than just sales.”