EV, Battery and Charing News: Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, Valvoline, Driivz, EVgo, Shyft & TREES

In electric vehicle, battery and charging news are Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, Valvoline, Driivz, EVgo, Shyft and TREES.

Tesla Recalls Boombox Feature

Tesla is recalling close to 60,000 vehicles who have the “Boombox” external sound feature the company plans to update and remove the feature with an over the air update. The boom box feature makes it possible for the driver to overpower the external sound meant to alert pedestrians and other vehicles because electric cars don’t make a lot of sound.

MBZ Intelligent Wallbox Charging

The new Mercedes-Benz Wallbox charges electric cars and plug-in hybrids fast, intelligently and conveniently. This unit is optimized for charging with up to 22 kW[1]. Thanks to the technical setup of the new Mercedes-Benz Wallbox for remote functions[2], customers can for the first time optionally start and stop charging processes using the Mercedes me App[3], track the current charging status and display the charging history. Another new feature is the integrated energy meter[4]. In addition, it is technically possible to receive software updates “over-the-air” via the customer’s own Internet connection in the future. This makes the wall-mounted charging station particularly future-proof.

  • Technical prerequisites for remote functions via Mercedes me App
  • Software updates “over the air” (OTA) to expand the range of functions possible in future
  • State-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz product design to match the EQ vehicles
  • Eligible for grant funding through many national programmes to support electric mobility
  • Market launch expected in April 2022 in Europe and successively in other countries

With the new Mercedes-Benz Wallbox, the intelligent power grid at home is already becoming a reality to a certain extent. Users can connect it to their own Internet connection via Ethernet cable or WiFi. In this way, they can conveniently operate the wallbox with the Mercedes me App2 on their smartphone – no matter where they are. For example, they can control the charging process of their vehicle. With the help of an integrated energy meter, the current status of the charged electricity as well as the overview of all charging processes can be conveniently read in the Mercedes me App. An overview of charging costs is also available. To protect against unauthorized use, the Mercedes-Benz Wallbox can be activated or locked via the app or via RFID[5] card.

The Mercedes-Benz Wallbox also has the technical option of receiving software updates “over-the-air” in the future. In this way, additional practical functions can be added continuously, for example access control with RFID or the smart integration of the wallbox into the customer’s own energy network and energy management system.

Valvoline Pilots EV Services

Valvoline Inc.  a global leader in vehicle care powering the future of mobility through innovative services and products, has announced that it has begun piloting electric vehicle (EV) services in its retail stores. These pilots, in a limited number of our retail locations, are the next step in advancing Valvoline’s strategy to extend its world-class preventive auto maintenance service model to EV owners, OEMs and fleets.

“For 150 years we’ve been bringing innovation to the automotive aftermarket,” said Heidi Matheys, Chief Marketing & Transformation Officer of Valvoline. “As Valvoline continues to transform its retail offerings and extend its existing offerings to EV owners, we are able to offer our quick, easy, trusted approach to automotive maintenance regardless of a vehicle’s power source.”

The Valvoline retail service centers that are piloting the program are providing inspection and maintenance-based services such as 12-volt battery replacement, tire rotations, key fob battery replacement, cabin air filter replacement, wiper replacement and state safety inspections. Many of these services are already performed in Valvoline’s retail locations today but will now be piloted with a specific focus on electric vehicles. Phase two is expected to include additional services targeted to EVs and will begin summer 2022 in select company-owned stores.

Today’s news comes on the heels of the recent announcement naming Valvoline one of four initial U.S. service partners for Arrival, a global company that is on a mission to make air clean by replacing all vehicles with affordable electric solutions produced by local Microfactories.////

The Grid is Ready for EVs

– The EV revolution is on a tear, as direct electrification becomes the main driver of a decarbonised economy. The electricity grid will remain stable despite exponential growth of the EV market and high electrification ambitions, reveals new EY-Eurelectric study. But timely planning of charging infrastructure and coordination between public authorities, electricity utilities, grid and charge point operators will be paramount to success.

130 million electric vehicles, up from 3.3 million today, will hit the European roads by 2035, shows the Eurelectric-EY study. By then, 65 million chargers need to be installed to unlock a seamless user experience. Of those, 85% will be residential, while 4% will be on public highways.

Jean-Bernard Lévy, Eurelectric’s President said:

“Electrification is now an irreversible megatrend in road transport. The challenge ahead is speeding up infrastructure rollout in a well-coordinated manner to respond to growing charging needs while ensuring the optimal use of the electricity network.”

Charging infrastructure rollout must keep up with the EV market growth. It is thus urgent to tackle existing bottlenecks: permitting and grid connection delays of up to 36 months, funding constraints, availability, access to real-estate and interoperability restrictions.

The existing electricity grid will be able to accommodate the transition to EVs, but advance planning and coordination are needed to ensure that it copes with future peaks in energy demand and increased loads. Once EV penetration reaches 50% on an urban distribution network, uncontrolled charging could lead to voltage deviations and affect the quality of power supply.

The study explores several mitigating solutions to such challenges. While ensuring that charge points are situated where they deliver maximum customer convenience and provide the right investment incentives, it recommends:

  • digitalising the grid to understand, anticipate and optimise customer behaviour, grid impacts and network needs,
  • installing smart chargers to manage capacity and prevent the grid from buckling under the pressure of millions of EVs plugging in simultaneously,
  • integrating energy storage solutions in the charging infrastructure for situations when demand for rapid and high-power charging is heightened

Eurelectric represents the interests of the European electricity industry. With members in over 30 European countries, we speak for more than 3,500 companies in power generation, distribution and supply. For more information, visit: eurelectric.org

– Nova Bus, a member of the Volvo Group and a leading North American transit bus manufacturer, is thrilled to announce its largest electric bus contract to date. It has been awarded a contract for 20 LFSe+ in addition to 20 options, for a total of 40 electric buses, by the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO), as part of a sustainability initiative. The METRO Board authorized the immediate purchase of 20 of those electric buses and this order will be their first electric bus purchase on a total fleet of 1,300.

The buses are expected to be in operation by the fourth quarter of 2022, and they will initially have routes that serve communities more affected by carbon emissions and ones that have been chosen by Houston Complete Communities.

With an electric drive motor coupled with BAE Systems’ next-generation power electronics focused on efficiency, these electric buses provide reduced maintenance costs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Nova Bus continues to invest in new technologies to provide the value and flexibility its customers and transit operators demand. The LFSe+ is the perfect pairing of Nova Bus’ proven expertise with the latest innovations in clean and sustainable technologies.

“This is great news for New York and a big step forward for sustainable transportation,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “The purchase of forty of Nova Bus’ LFSe+ zero-emission, long-range, electric buses, destined for Texas, and built in Plattsburgh, NY is a culmination of years of innovative design and great planning. Nova Bus’ electric bus production is a critical pillar of the North Country’s economy and is creating a greener future for transportation.”

Vontier Buys Driivz

–Driivz, the leading end-to-end EV charging and smart energy management software platform, today announced its acquisition by Vontier Corporation (“Vontier”), a global industrial technology company focused on transportation and mobility solutions.

The acquisition accelerates Vontier’s strategy to provide smart, sustainable mobility solutions. Driivz’s white-label solutions allow utilities, gas and oil companies, automakers, and EV charging service providers to deliver a set of advanced, yet easy-to-use solutions to players in the ecosystem such as fleets, hosts, municipalities, commercial and industrial buildings and MDUs.

Driivz will continue to be led by Doron Frenkel and will be run as an independent company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Vontier.

FLEETCOR Invests in Motorq and Mina

–FLEETCOR Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: FLT), a leading global business payments company, today announced a minority investment in Motorq, a leading connected-car data and analytics company, and a follow-on investment with Mina, a cloud-based digital re-charging software platform. The U.S. partnership with Motorq and international partnership with Mina establishes a new standard for managing commercial fleets with electric vehicles (EV) by simplifying the charging and payment process.

FLEETCOR’s complementary relationships with Motorq and Mina strengthen an advanced suite of management tools that provide businesses with data, controls, and digital payment capabilities regardless of the mix of fleet vehicles including EVs that require access to at-home charging. The investments also provide the capital to scale FLEETCOR’s product offering more quickly across regions.

Driven by a need for businesses to reimburse employees who charge their company EVs at home, FLEETCOR is partnering with Motorq in the U.S. and Mina in the U.K. to capture charge event data directly from EVs and home charging stations, respectively. These solutions allow fleet customers to accurately track all EV charging events, and by doing so enable reimbursement of employees for at-home charging.

“As businesses increasingly look to adopt EVs on a global basis, managing fleets becomes more challenging,” Ron Clarke, chairman and chief executive officer, FLEETCOR Technologies, Inc. “We are at the forefront of this transition by providing a comprehensive advanced management platform to help customers efficiently manage fleets with any fuel mix. With these investments, we’re uniquely positioned to realize sustained growth in the U.S. and in Europe as EV continue to become more prevalent among commercial fleets globally.”

EVgo Preferred by Subaru

EVgo Inc. (NASDAQ: EVGO), the nation’s largest public fast charging network for electric vehicles (EVs) and first powered by 100% renewable electricity, announced the company has been selected as the preferred EV charging partner of Subaru of America, Inc. This news comes on the heels of Subaru unveiling its first ever zero-emissions vehicle, the all-new 2023 Solterra EV SUV, at the LA Auto Show in November and opening reservations this month. Subaru drivers will have access to all the benefits of EVgo’s industry-leading network, with its proven reliability, broad geographic reach and 24/7 customer support.

With EVgo’s network powered by 100% renewable electricity, Subaru drivers can enjoy a zero-emission driving experience, as well as the convenience of charging at more than 800 public fast charging locations and 1,200+ L2 charging stalls spanning 68 metropolitan areas and 35 states. In addition, drivers can access more than 46,000 L2 and DC fast charge public chargers through EVgo’s roaming partners across the country. EVgo continues to build out its fast charging network, and is currently planning to have approximately 16,000 charging stalls deployed by 2027.

All Subaru EVgo account holders can also count on the 24/7 customer support of the EVgo Charging Crew for assistance. All Subaru drivers will have access to EVgo’s mobile app for finding fast chargers, initiating, and monitoring charging sessions, and earning and tracking EVgo Rewards™ points towards free charging credits.

The 2023 Subaru Solterra is the automaker’s first all-electric SUV and its first battery-electric vehicle to be released globally. Slated to begin sales in mid-2022, the new Solterra features standard Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, active safety technology and estimated range of over 220 miles.

Shyft Premiers Class 3 Delivery EV 3/10

The Shyft Group the North American leader in specialty vehicle manufacturing, assembly, and upfit for the commercial, retail, and service specialty vehicle markets, announced it will reveal its all-new electric delivery vehicle on their proprietary, purpose-built Class 3 EV chassis at the NTEA Work Truck Week trade show taking place in Indianapolis from March 8-10.

“Unable to find a viable EV chassis option in the market, we decided to build our own,” said Shyft Group CEO Daryl Adams. “We developed our proof of concept by leveraging nearly 50 years of experience in custom chassis production and last-mile delivery and will put prototypes in our customers’ hands for testing and validation in the 2nd half of 2022. Leveraging the infrastructure that supports our coast-to-coast manufacturing and service footprint, we’re poised to produce at scale to support the sharply rising demand for last-mile delivery vehicles as well as our customers’ carbon-neutral goals.”

Using the company’s proprietary Work-Driven Design® process, the electric vehicle is a purpose-built walk-in delivery van that will reach a new benchmark in delivering optimal driver ergonomics and user experience. Vehicle prototypes are expected to reach customers for route testing in the coming months, with production expected to begin by mid-2023.

Shyft is also helping customers in the transition to electric vehicle fleet management by providing an industry-first, purpose-built, portable power cube, which will also be featured at the show.

Shyft’s proprietary battery-powered chassis features customizable length and wheelbase, making it well-suited to serve a wide range of medium-duty trucks. The chassis’ modular design will accommodate multiple GVWR classifications, based on build-out and usage. The lithium-ion battery packs provide an approximate range of 150 to 175 miles with the opportunity to enhance range through expanded battery options.

With a high degree of configurability, the all-electric chassis is adaptable to last-mile delivery, work truck, mass transit, recreational vehicle and other emerging EV markets.

The Shyft Group will hold a press conference at Work Truck Week to unveil the new EV delivery van and chassis on Wednesday, March 9, from 10:00 to 10:25 a.m. in booth #3511.

In addition, Shyft brands DuraMag and Utilimaster will also make news at Work Truck Week, with press conferences scheduled for Thursday, March 10. DuraMag will present its new S-series all-aluminum service body at 10:00 a.m. in booth #3053, while Utilimaster follows at 10:30 a.m. in booth #3049 to show the Velocity R2, an under 10,000 lb. GVWR walk-in van built on a RAM ProMaster chassis.

fuildfreeride’s TREES

fluidfreeride, a leading retailer in the electric scooter industry, shows their continued commitment and support for a cleaner, healthier environment by planting one million trees across the globe in partnership with the non-profit organization, Trees for the Future (TREES). In celebration of this milestone, consumers can use the code 1MILLIONTREES on fluidfreeride.com to receive 10% off their entire line of premium e-scooters for one week until February 15. A percentage of all proceeds will continue to be donated to Trees for the Future in support of the company’s social corporate responsibility commitment.

TREES trains farmers in agroforestry, teaching them to grow sustainable farming systems called Forest Gardens. The average one-acre Forest Garden is home to more than 4,000 trees and sequesters about 63 metric tons of carbon over 20 years. Forest Gardens restore the soil and natural biodiversity of the land while providing food and income opportunities to the farming family. Fernau adds, “Not only does this capture CO2 and improve biodiversity, it puts an end to poverty and hunger through a sustainable system that is better for our planet.”