EV, Battery and Charging News: ProLogium, Mercedes-Benz, Proterra, VTA,  Bridgestone, ABS, ARI, EVgo, Li-Cycle,  Quatum Scape, StoreDot, Continental, Ford, Volvo & Voltero

In electric vehicle, battery and charging news are  ProLogium, Mercedes-Benz, Proterra, VTA,  Bridgestone, ABS, ARI, EVgo, Li-Cycle,  Quatum Scape, StoreDot, Continental, Ford, Volvo and Voltero.

ProLogium Partners with Mercedes-Benz

ProLogium, a leader in solid-state batteries, and Mercedes-Benz have signed a technology cooperation agreement to develop next-generation battery cells. The first Mercedes-Benz test vehicles equipped with solid-state batteries co-developed with ProLogium are expected to be introduced in the coming years. The companies also agreed on milestones that would enable integration of the solid-state battery technology into a range of passenger vehicles in the second half of the decade.

ProLogium focuses on the development of next-generation batteries, including solid-state battery with silicon anode, lithium metal anode and bipolar technology. Since its origins, ProLogium has engaged on a technology path with safety, performance, and scalability in mind, and has planned a technology development roadmap that spans across the next generations of battery technology. Armed with 15 solid years of R&D and manufacturing experience, ProLogium’s technology will be a strong force to contribute to the acceleration of global energy transition.

Mercedes-Benz plans to go all electric by 2030 wherever market conditions allow. With its solid-state battery R&D and manufacturing know-how, ProLogium is a strong partner for Mercedes-Benz to maintain its role as a leader in battery technology.

Werner Ent. Will Integrate Cummins’ Hydro & CNG Engines

-Werner Enterprises (Nasdaq: WERN), a premier transportation and logistics provider, and Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI), global power solutions provider, have announced that Werner will begin validation and integration of Cummins’ recently announced 15-liter natural gas and 15-liter hydrogen internal combustion engines in its vehicles. Cummins will begin integrating these new powertrains in Werner trucks in the second half of 2022, starting with the 15-liter natural gas product.

Santa Clara Valley VTA Integrates Proterra Microgrid Tech

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) will install an innovative clean energy microgrid and EV fleet charging system with Proterra and Scale Microgrid Solutions to help power the agency’s transition to a 100% zero-emission bus fleet, following a grant that was awarded for the project by the California Energy Commission this week.

In the event of an extended power outage, such as a public safety power shutoff, electricity stored in the microgrid’s battery storage system can provide back-up power at VTA’s Cerone bus yard to allow the agency to continue operating battery-electric buses, serving riders and providing emergency transport if needed.

The solar PV and battery energy storage system will give VTA operational flexibility on when to purchase the utility power needed to charge its vehicle fleet, saving the agency on its electricity costs and further reducing its total operating costs compared to continued diesel bus operations.

During a typical day, the clean energy microgrid will allow VTA to produce low-cost renewable energy and purchase off-peak energy from PG&E that is then stored in the battery storage system for consumption during peak price periods. The energy cost savings gained through the project can be put toward the agency’s other operating needs, like transit service.

Expected to come online in late 2023, the project showcases how clean energy paired with fleet-scale EV charging can enable the adoption of fully-electric vehicle fleets and further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Bridgestone Retail Readies for BEV and Hybrid Repairs

Bridgestone Retail Operations (Bridgestone), a subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas, announced plans to expand its electric and hybrid vehicle services at 44 of the company’s Firestone Complete Auto Care and Wheel Works stores in Austin, Texas and San Francisco, Calif. The advanced services are part of the company’s broader initiative to address an increasingly electric car parc and contribute to a more sustainable society.

While electric vehicle services today account for less than 10% of total services at Bridgestone’s retail operations nationwide, demand is expected to increase significantly by the end of the decade. It is estimated that battery electric and hybrid vehicles will represent more than half of the overall U.S. car parc by 2030.* Moreover, the number of electric vehicle models in the U.S. is expected to increase from 50 in 2019, to more than 200 available electric vehicle models by 2026.**

“It’s an exciting time to be in the automotive service industry as mobility evolves to be cleaner and more sustainable,” said Marko Ibrahim, president, Bridgestone Retail Operations. “We truly believe what’s good for society is good for business, which is why we are increasing our investments in plug-in vehicle services in two key markets with plans to expand further in the future. The steps we take now will ensure we are the service provider of choice for new-energy vehicles.”

Bridgestone also announced it will install a total of 50 level two plug-in charging stations at 25 Firestone Complete Auto Care and Wheel Works stores in the first quarter of 2022. Provided by Blink Charging, a leading owner and operator of electric vehicle charging equipment and services, the charging stations will be installed at stores in Austin, TexasDenverLos Angeles; and San Francisco, where the current volume and growth of electric vehicles is significant.

New advanced electric and hybrid vehicle services offered in Austin and San Francisco consist of inspections, diagnostics, maintenance and repairs involving high-voltage components, including health checks and troubleshooting for batteries, electric motors and electrical systems. Bridgestone currently offers low-voltage hybrid and battery electric vehicle services at all of its Firestone Complete Auto Care, Tires Plus, Hibdon Tires Plus and Wheel Works retail stores nationwide. The company also implements basic and advanced safety training for work on hybrid and electric vehicles at all technician levels.

Bridgestone retail stores further contribute to the company’s sustainability goals through a robust recycling program that resulted in diverting 12.7 million tires, 5.6 million pounds of scrap metal and 18.1 million metal drums from landfills in 2020, in addition to reducing paper use equivalent to one Central Park worth of trees.

ABS Intros Alliance I48-3.0

American Battery Solutions (ABS), a leader in the design, development and manufacturing of advanced battery systems, announced the launch of its Alliance™ I48-3.0 Lithium-Ion battery during the 2022 PGA Show (www.pgashow.com) this week. The I48-3.0 offers industry-leading power, enhanced range, durability, and zero maintenance for golf cars and other electric vehicles in an industry standard GC2 size. Additionally, the I48-3.0 offers up to 75 percent greater discharge capabilities than any other standard-sized Lithium-Ion battery, enabling it to endure the power of the most abusive aftermarket motor controllers offered on the market.

ARI & Enel X Partner with GSK to Transition to EVs

– ARI®, a leading global fleet management provider specializing in complex car and truck fleets, and Enel X, the advanced energy services arm of the Enel Group,  announced that they will collaborate with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to transition the healthcare company’s North American fleet to 100 percent electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030. Through the pilot project, part of GSK’s commitment to the EV100 initiative, ARI, a division of Holman, and Enel will help GSK implement a holistic sustainability solution that includes the deployment of electric and hybrid plug-in vehicles and installation of more than 100 charging locations.

ABI EV Sales to reach 19% in 2027

According to ABI Research, a global technology intelligence firm, Electric Vehicle (EV) sales will move from 7% of total new vehicle shipments in 2021 to 19% in 2027. Improved battery range, support for DC fast charging, and higher charging power are OEM embedded innovations that have made EV ownership more appealing. However, in-vehicle and charging user experience improvements are still required to bring EVs to the mainstream.

“While OEMs have made significant improvements in EV technology, there are still important obstacles that OEMs and the EV ecosystem must overcome to drive mass adoption. From a customer perspective, the lack of accurate range and charging information and a below-par public charging experience are the main obstacles preventing adoption by typical automotive buyers. Additionally, carmakers are still struggling to reduce production costs and, consequently, EV prices. As a result, EV ownership is still concentrated around wealthier tech-savvy early adoptions,” explains Maite Bezerra, Smart Mobility and Automotive Research Analyst at ABI Research.

As EV battery range improves and public charging infrastructure expands – 7.1 million charging points will be available globally in 2025 up from 1.6 million in 2021 – focus is shifting to improve the EV ownership experience to drive loyalty in existing drivers and build trust in electrification to prospective EV buyers. This includes receiving accurate real-time information about the battery range and charging information through the in-vehicle infotainment system and companion app interfaces, which is not widely available today. To that end, carmakers and navigation software developers (e.g., HERE, TomTom, ChargeTrip) must partner with charge point operators (CPOs) and e-mobility service providers (eMSPs)  to bring EV routing, charge point information, and even payment in-vehicle via a connected strategy. In 2025, 72% of EVs sold will have embedded connectivity.

Pricewise, carmakers can significantly reduce production costs by implementing (electrical/electronic) E/E architectures optimized for EVs, such as centralized and zonal architecture. Additional electronic components, such as Battery Management Systems (BMS) offered by companies such as NXP, can also improve the efficiency of existing batteries while providing more accurate range estimation. Furthermore, new business models that separate vehicle and battery (e.g., NIO’s Battery-as-a-Service (BaaS)), can lower the price entry point and make EVs more price competitive.

“Besides vehicle-specific measures, wider EV adoption will require utility companies to radically change last-mile energy distribution to accommodate the increased demand and consumption without expensive network investments. That can be achieved by using input from energy management platforms offered by eMSPs (e.g., Virta, Blink, ChargePoint) for better planning and distributed energy resources (DERs), including EV batteries via bi-directional charging (V2G) for efficient energy allocation and storage. The recent agreement between Nuvve and New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) demonstrates that utility companies are starting to place value in V2G solutions,” Bezerra concludes.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Bringing Electric Vehicles into the Mainstream application analysis report.

EVgo to Power Chargers at CBL Properties

EVgo Inc. (NASDAQ: EVGO), the nation’s largest public fast charging network for electric vehicles (EVs) and only platform powered by 100% renewable electricity, and CBL Properties (NYSE:CBL) announced a partnership to add EVgo fast charging to select retail locations, including the first EVgo station in Kansas. The partnership supports EVgo’s plans to expand its public network in response to increased demand for EV charging in new markets and the growing segment of EV drivers that rely on public charging. Visitors to the EVgo stations at CBL Properties can charge up to 80% in 15-45 minutes while they shop and run errands.

CBL Properties’ portfolio of nearly 100 properties across 24 states, is comprised of malls, outlets, lifestyle retail centers and open-air centers. The new charging station at Overland Park adds to the growing portfolio of operational EVgo sites at CBL Properties, including the Greenbrier Mall in Chesapeake, Virginia, the Volusia Mall in Daytona Beach, Florida, and an additional site in development at Laurel Park Place in Livonia, Michigan, slated to come online in early 2022.

Li-Cycle Recycling Spoke at Ultium Cells Mega-Factory in Warren OH

–Li-Cycle Holdings Corp. (NYSE: LICY) (“Li-Cycle” or the “Company”), an industry leader in lithium-ion battery resource recovery and the leading lithium-ion battery recycler in North America,  announced that the Company will operate its sixth and largest lithium-ion battery recycling Spoke facility at the Ultium Cells LLC (“Ultium Cells) battery cell manufacturing mega-factory site in Warren, Ohio. Ultium Cells is a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution. This new Spoke continues Li-Cycle’s strategic execution and focus on growing its integrated Spoke & Hub network in North America, including through commercial partnerships.

The Company’s new Spoke facility will be co-located on the same site as Ultium Cells’ battery cell manufacturing mega-factory currently under construction in Warren, Ohio and will support Li-Cycle’s previously announced multi-year agreement to process the battery manufacturing scrap from that mega-factory. Ultium Cells will construct a new building for the Company’s recycling facility, and Li-Cycle will install and operate its proprietary Spoke technology and equipment at the facility after construction is complete. The co-located Spoke will enhance Li-Cycle’s ability to serve Ultium Cells’ recycling needs by providing on-site conversion of battery manufacturing scrap to intermediate products.

The Company expects its Ohio facility to substantially reduce the costs associated with moving and handling battery manufacturing scrap materials, given its proximity to Ultium Cells’ mega-factory. The new Spoke facility will also be optimized for the particular types of battery manufacturing scrap generated at the Ultium Cells plant, enhancing production efficiency. The co-location represents an innovative model for Li-Cycle’s continued execution of its global Spoke & Hub model.

Once complete, Li-Cycle’s Ohio Spoke facility will have the capacity to process up to 15,000 tonnes of battery manufacturing scrap and battery materials per year, bringing Li-Cycle’s total global recycling capacity to 55,000 tonnes of lithium-ion battery input per year. The Spoke facility is expected to be operational in early 2023 and is anticipated to create at least 35 new jobs. The primary output product of the Spoke will be black mass, a powder-like substance consisting of a number of highly valuable materials, including lithium, cobalt and nickel, which Li-Cycle will convert into battery grade materials at its Hub facility in Rochester, New York, scheduled for completion in 2023.

QuantumScape Shows Data for Fast Charging

QuantumScape Corporation (NYSE: QS), a leader in the development of solid-state lithium-metal batteries, released data showing its battery cells have completed 400 consecutive 15-minute fast-charging (4C) cycles from 10% to 80% of the cell’s capacity while retaining well above 80% of the initial energy – a first for this type of battery technology. QuantumScape conducted the tests on commercially relevant sized single-layer prototype battery cells at multiple temperatures (25 °C and 45 °C), 3.4 atmospheres of pressure and 100% depth of discharge.

Internal combustion engine vehicles can be refueled in about 5 minutes, whereas today’s leading lithium-ion electric vehicle (EV) batteries typically need around 30 minutes to fast charge from 10% to 80% capacity at a rate that doesn’t reduce the battery’s lifetime. This longer charge time prevents EVs from providing the same user experience as internal combustion engine vehicles. If QuantumScape can successfully deliver today’s demonstrated capability into the marketplace, the time difference between recharging EVs and refueling their combustion-engine counterparts will be only several minutes, which could help enable broader EV adoption.

The materials used in today’s EV batteries, such as the graphite in the anode, have physics-based rate limitations that can cause permanent damage when charged repeatedly at fast rates, reducing the range the vehicle can travel. This can put EV drivers in the position to choose between the convenience of fast charging and preserving their battery range. QuantumScape tested battery cells from a commercially available third-party EV with the same protocol and found that those third-party cells rapidly degrade after only a few dozen charge cycles.

QuantumScape’s lithium-metal battery cells retained more than 80% of their initial energy after 400 cycles of 15-minute (4C) fast charge between a 10% and 80% state of charge. For a vehicle with 400 miles of range, 400 cycles represent approximately 160,000 total driving miles.

“We believe QuantumScape’s lithium-metal technology provides a pathway to significantly improved fast-charging performance in EVs,” said Jagdeep Singh, co-founder and CEO of QuantumScape. “We believe innovations like this are crucial to narrowing the performance gap between EVs and combustion-engine based vehicles, and represent the future of the electrified transportation sector.”

StoreDot Improves Battery Tech for Fast Charging

StoreDot, the pioneer of extreme fast charging (XFC) battery technology for electric vehicles (EVs), has revealed advanced technology that extends the lifespan of batteries, making them highly effective not only during the vehicle lifespan, but also for ‘second life’ applications.

This improved technology, which furthers StoreDot’s commitment to advancing the entire battery ecosystem, combines the innovative electrochemistry system of the company’s silicon dominant cells to ensure that there is minimal drop off in performance even as the battery ages beyond its useful EV life.

A robust performance is maintained even after 1000 cycles and 80% capacity, the point at which rival lithium-ion fast charging technologies start to rapidly deteriorate in performance. Even after 1700 cycles, long after the accepted industry norm, StoreDot’s batteries maintain 70% of the original capacity, making them highly effective in second life usage for less dynamic applications such as in energy storage and grid load balancing systems.

Dr Doron Myersdorf, StoreDot CEO “StoreDot is well known for creating extreme fast charging technologies and helping drivers overcome charging anxiety which is currently the biggest barrier to EV ownership. But we believe in advancing the entire battery eco-system, ultimately delivering an optimum solution to sustain the transition to full EV electrification. This latest development is proof of that. We now have the ability to hugely extend the life of our batteries, long after their vehicle service life. This not only has benefits for the drivers of EVs, allowing them to maintain performance of their vehicles for many more years, but also in second-life applications.

“Not only will this transformative development encourage more people to drive EVs, but this technology has huge benefits for sustainability too, reducing the need to retire and recycle an expensive component that can now serve in critical second life applications.”

This latest innovation works in tandem with StoreDot’s recently announced self-repairing cells system, which identifies underperforming cells in the electric vehicle and takes them out of service to unobtrusively fix them. The company has also recently had patents granted for technologies that give electric vehicles a constant range throughout the life of their vehicles, even as the battery deteriorates.

StoreDot is in advanced talks with leading global car makers and remains firmly on track to deliver mass-produced XFC batteries, which provide a 50% reduction in charging time at the same cost, by 2024.

Continental & Volterio Develop Charging Robots

Continental is revolutionizing the charging of electric vehicles. Together with startup Volterio, Continental’s development and production service provider Continental Engineering Services (CES) is developing an intelligent charging robot that will make filling up with electricity much easier and more convenient in the future. To this end, CES and Volterio have now officially entered into a partnership that will see the latter develop the first near-production systems for the jointly designed charging robot by mid-2022. With CES meeting all necessary certification criteria of the automotive industry, it will then also develop the system to production maturity and ultimately take over the production of the charging robot. Volume production of the system is planned for 2024 and will take place in Germany. The innovative development once again underscores Continental Engineering Services’ strategic focus on sustainable technology and service solutions. Intelligent charging solutions for electric vehicles in particular are key milestones on the road to comprehensive, environmentally-compatible, sustainable mobility.

The fully automatic charging solution comprises two components: one unit in the underbody of the vehicle and another on the garage floor. As soon as the car is parked, the two components connect automatically via a smart system, which among other options is controlled via ultra-broadband – a radio-based communication technology for short-range data transmission. A practical advantage of this is that the car does not have to be parked accurately. The charging robot corrects for deviation of up to 30 centimeters from the ideal parking position. In addition, it is irrelevant what angle a vehicle is positioned in relation to the floor unit. The conical design of the physical connector between the floor and vehicle unit permits any alignment and orientation between the units.

Ford Brings Electrification to Sonoma Vineyards

One of the most forward-thinking winegrowing counties in the United States is looking to advance its sustainability mission, and the Ford Pro suite of electric vehicles, charging and telematics services has been tapped to help make that happen.

Ford Pro and the Sonoma County Winegrowers, a group of more than 1,800 grape farmers in Northern California, are launching a pilot program that will add Ford F-150® Lightning Pro pickups, E-Transit cargo vans, and Ford Pro Intelligence products and services to three pilot farms in Sonoma County, one of the world’s most renowned wine regions.

The heart of the mission is to demonstrate how electric vehicles and web-based fleet management tools can have a positive impact on the agriculture industry in terms of increasing productivity, improving sustainability and lowering the total cost of fleet ownership anywhere from 10% to 20%2.

“Ford Pro is thrilled to team with the Sonoma County Winegrowers to further their sustainability goals and begin their transition to fully integrated all-electric fleets with on-site charging,” said Wanda Young, Ford Pro global chief marketing officer. “Ford Pro and the Sonoma County Winegrowers are driven by many of the same tenets – to accelerate productivity while operating responsibly.”

The pilot program is launching with Bevill Vineyard Management and Vino Farms in Healdsburg, and Dutton Ranch in Sebastopol – which collectively represent about 4,000 acres in the vineyard-rich Russian River Valley. Young anticipates the program will expand in the coming months to include other farming operations in the county.

New Active Grip Control on Volvo Electric Trucks

Volvo Trucks launches a new, patented safety feature for electric trucks – Active Grip Control. The new technology significantly improves stability, acceleration and braking in slippery conditions.

Thanks to the fast response of the electric motors, the force generated between the wheels and the road can be controlled in an instant to proactively prevent wheel spin.

The feature clearly improves acceleration in slippery conditions. Tests performed with the Volvo FH Electric on a low friction surface with a loaded trailer showed ​45% improvement at full acceleration.​​

“The improvement when going up a slippery, gravel road is really impressive. I believe this will increase productivity, not least for our construction customers,” says Anna Wrige Berling, Traffic & Product Safety Director at Volvo Trucks.

If the truck starts to skid, multiple sensors allow the vehicle’s control system to react to the road surface conditions and utilize the vehicle’s electric motors, along with other actuators, in an intelligent way to help the driver stay on the road.

The new feature is also designed to reduce the risk for jack-knifing ​and oversteering when driving unloaded.

“With Active Grip Control we are giving our dri vers further improved ability to traverse difficult roads and terrain – even during the most challenging of conditions. This is a unique function that Volvo Group has protected by patents,” explains Anna Wrige Berling.

Improvements can also be seen when braking, as the function can be used for controlled regenerative braking without going into ABS. This increases efficiency, since more time is spent in regeneration, allowing for a smoother braking experience.​

The Active Grip Control feature will be available on the heavy-duty Volvo FH, Volvo FM and Volvo FMX Electric trucks, that are used for regional haul and construction operations. A version of the feature will also be available on trucks with a diesel or LNG driveline.///

Addionics Funding for 3D Electrodes

-Addionics, a chemistry-agnostic battery technology company, announced it has raised $27 million in a Series A funding round to scale up its efforts to redesign battery architecture with the company’s Smart 3D Electrodes, which improves the cost and performance of batteries with any chemistry – existing or emerging. The funding round was led by Deep Insight, a deep tech investment firm founded and backed by Jeff Horing, the founder of Insight Partners, together with Catalyst Fund, Delek Motors and Dr. Boaz Schwartz. Additional investments include strategic and financial support from Novelis, Magna International, JX Nippon Mining & Metals, Union Tech Ventures, 8090 Partners, GiTV, Talcar Corporation, Bridges Israel impact investment fund, Doral Energy Tech Ventures (Doral Energy CVC), and Dr. David Deak. Existing investors that participated in the round include NextGear Ventures, Magna Capital Partners and Vasuki Global Tech Fund.

Along with his investment, Dr. Deak joins Addionics’ board of directors, leveraging his past experience leading supply chain projects and battery engineering programs on Tesla’s Gigafactory team. Former executive director at NIO Capital, Yair Shacked, has also recently joined Addionics’ advisory board.

Addionics is focused on redesigning battery architecture, replacing the electrode’s traditional 2D layered structure with an integrated 3D structure. This revolutionary approach results in batteries with increased energy density and power, enhanced safety, and longer lifetime – all without increasing battery cost. This innovation unlocks the full potential of next-generation battery chemistries to address rising global battery demand driven by electrification trends and decarbonization mandates.

The company’s core IP is its patented and scalable electrode fabrication process that significantly lowers manufacturing costs, enabling mass market adoption of 3D electrode structures for the first time. This drop-in solution is compatible with existing battery manufacturing facilities and assembly lines. In addition, Addionics’ proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm accelerates battery development time, optimizing electrode designs to meet any battery application and performance requirement. With the combination of Addionics’ patented manufacturing process and AI algorithm, manufacturers can build high performance batteries with reduced market prices at the giga scale.

Volcon Funding

– Volcon Inc. the first all-electric, off-road powersports company,  announced the pricing of an underwritten public offering (the “Offering”) of 6,666,667 shares of common stock, par value $0.00001 per share (“Common Stock”), to be issued by the Company, at a price to the public of $3.0 per Share. The gross proceeds from the Offering, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated Offering expenses, are expected to be approximately $20.0 million.

In addition, the Company granted Aegis Capital Corp., the underwriter, a 45-day option to purchase up to 1,000,000 additional shares of Common Stock, solely to cover over-allotments, if any, which would increase the total gross proceeds of the Offering to approximately $23 million, if the over-allotment option is exercised in full.

The Offering is expected to close on February 1, 2022, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.