EV, Battery & Charging News: Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, DOE, WiTricity, InCharge, EVgo, Azolla, Highland, Amazon, DEKRA, SEA & Volta

In electric vehicle, battery and charging news are Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, DOE, WiTricity, InCharge, EVgo, Azolla, Highland, Amazon, DEKRA, SEA & Volta.

New MBZ Battery Plant in AL

Mercedes-Benz (ticker symbol: MBG) opens a new battery plant in Bibb County, Alabama, a few months ahead of the start of production of all-electric Mercedes-EQ vehicles in the United States. The world’s most valuable luxury automotive brand is getting ready to go all electric by ramping up production of electric cars on three continents. The new U.S. battery factory underscores the importance of the United States within the Mercedes-Benz global production network and the status of Alabama as an export hub for luxury SUVs also in the electric era.

Mercedes-Benz will produce the EQS SUV and EQE SUV in its plant in Alabama, as part of a global push to produce all-electric vehicles at seven locations on three continents. The state-of-the-art battery factory in Bibb County will provide batteries for the new EQS SUV and the EQE SUV.

Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG:

“The opening of our new battery plant in Alabama is a major milestone on our way to going all-electric. With our comprehensive approach including a local cell sourcing and recycling strategy, we underline the importance of the U.S., where Mercedes-Benz has been successful for decades. We’re proud to create new, future-proof jobs to build all-electric SUVs ‘Made in the USA’ at a plant that is such an established part of our production family since 25 years.”

The Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, has been the production plant for large SUVs bearing the three-pointed star since 1997. Now the plant goes electric with the EQS SUV. Mercedes-Benz is providing a first glimpse of the spacious, progressive and highly digitalized interior of the EQS SUV, ahead of the vehicle’s official world premiere on April 19th.

JOBS EVSE Tool is Valuable

-With the sale of electric vehicles on the rise, the race is on to build a network of convenient, affordable electric vehicle charging stations to keep the cars running.

“Given the emphasis on electrifying our transportation system, the JOBVS EVSE tool is valuable for determining the job creation potential of installing electric vehicle charging stations for individual states, regions or the entire U.S.”

In line with U.S. goals to shift away from fossil-fuel burning vehicles, the $1.7 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated $5 billion to states to build a network of 500,000 electric charging stations across the nation by the end of the decade

The environmental benefits of ​“going electric” are clear. But states competing for a piece of federal funding will need to demonstrate economic benefits related to installing charging stations, including the potential to generate jobs.

To aid that effort, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory recently launched JOBS EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment). The online tool allows users to quickly estimate the economic impacts associated with the development, construction and operation of electric vehicle charging stations.

“Given the emphasis on electrifying our transportation system, the JOBVS EVSE tool is valuable for determining the job creation potential of installing electric vehicle charging stations for individual states, regions or the entire U.S.,” said Marianne M. Mintz, principal transportation systems analyst at Argonne. ​

The JOBS EVSE model is part of Argonne’s suite of JOBS tools that use anticipated dollar flows within a specific economy to estimate the economic impact of installing alternative technologies. JOBS EVSE was developed with funding from the DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office. The tool is built on a Microsoft Excel-based platform.

The JOBS EVSE model was developed by Yue Ke, a postdoctoral researcher at Argonne. The model focuses solely on the electric vehicle supply equipment that will be needed by different types of charging stations.

Users can create their own specific scenarios in the JOBS EVSE tool including geographic region, number of charging stations, electricity price and other factors.

The model factors in the charging station equipment, investment, operating costs and revenues for the entire energy supply chain and the related economic growth. The JOBS EVSE tool analyzes the operations and maintenance costs of a charging station for up to 10 years.

Along with the $5 billion in federal funding for charging stations, the infrastructure law allocated another $2.5 billion for local grants, primarily to fill gaps in the charging networks located in rural areas and disadvantaged communities.u

Grant for WiTricity in MI for DSPL

WiTricity, the leader and pioneer in wireless charging for electric vehicles (EVs), announced it has been awarded a $50,000 grant by the state of Michigan and the Michigan Mobility Funding Platform to deploy an electric vehicle (EV) wireless charging station at the Detroit Smart Parking Lab (DSPL).

The DSPL, announced by Governor Whitmer in August 2021, is operated by the American Center for Mobility (ACM) and is an open innovation platform and real-world testing site for parking-related mobility, logistics and EV charging technologies. The DSPL was established by Bedrock, Bosch, Ford Motor Company and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

WiTricity will install a working prototype of its WiTricity Halo™ wireless EV charging system at the DSPL. WiTricity will also upgrade an existing EV with wireless charging capabilities to complete the demonstration, showing how EVs equipped with wireless charging can be charged with no cords, cables, or plugs – simply by parking. The demonstration will also show that WiTricity wireless EV charging is just as fast and as efficient as the plug-in alternative. Visitors to the DSPL will experience wireless EV charging in action, see that wireless EV charging is ready for broad commercialization, and understand first-hand how it can spur EV adoption and contribute to a greener future. The technology will be available at the DSPL in late summer 2022.

MVUSD InCharge for Electric Buses

 The Moreno Valley Unified School District (MVUSD) has approved an ambitious project from InCharge Energy, Creative Bus Sales and IC Bus to deploy 42 electric school buses and an electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure to support the new fleet. The electric buses – expected to be the largest operating electrified school bus fleet in California – will serve more than 31,000 students from 42 schools in this Southern California community.

“This electric bus project is vital to our students’ futures and it would not have been possible without the help of InCharge Energy, Creative Bus Sales and IC Bus,” said Jim Burleson, Director of Transportation for the Moreno Valley Unified School District. “We know children on school buses are exposed to five times more atmospheric pollutants, which puts them at risk of quite a few health conditions over time. We need initiatives like this to protect our children now and to ensure future generations thrive in a healthy environment.”

This electrified school bus fleet will have substantial benefits for the Moreno Valley community. First, the quieter electric buses will reduce noise pollution and provide a safer transportation option for all students, especially for special needs and medically fragile students. Second, the vehicles drive more smoothly for students due to its continuous drivetrain and quiet operation. Third, bus drivers can better serve their passengers in the virtually silent vehicles. Fourth, the new electric buses will reduce more than 1.2 million pounds in carbon emissions across the Moreno Valley, which has an “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” rating on the Air Quality Index. Finally, the school district expects 75% cost savings on bus maintenance, fuel and operations, allowing more funding to go to classrooms.

This initiative represents the largest electric school bus purchase in California. IC Bus and Creative Bus Sales will supply the school district with 42-passenger IC electric buses while InCharge Energy will install and maintain 43 ABB TERRA 24 kW DC fast chargers. InCharge Energy will begin work on the EV charging infrastructure in April. The school district expects to be driving students in all 42 buses by the start of the new school year.

InCharge Energy worked closely with MVUSD and Creative Bus Sales to generate grants and incentives from the federal government, the state of California and Southern California Edison, which bolstered the school district’s commitment to this electrification project. The two companies secured vouchers from California’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Program (HVIP) for vehicles, hardware and installation. The school district also received funds from California’s Carl Moyer program and partnered with the South Coast Air Quality Management District for a US EPA Airshed Grant. Southern California Edison will provide funding support from its Charge Ready program for necessary utility upgrades, EV chargers and their installation.

“We’re excited to partner with MVUSD and many other industries and school districts on large-scale electrification projects like this, which will help solve some of the social inequalities and community health challenges that result from our current high-polluting transportation model,” said Terry O’Day, COO of InCharge Energy. “With this school bus fleet transition for Moreno Valley, we hope other school districts see the positive impacts on the community and start the process to electrify their own bus fleets. There are plenty of resources to help school districts begin this journey – and save money from the outset.”

For more information about InCharge Energy services and funding opportunities, please visit: www.inchargeus.com

EVgo Expand Save Mart Locations

EVgo Inc. (NASDAQ: EVGO), the nation’s largest public fast charging network for electric vehicles (EVs) and first powered by 100% renewable electricity, announced an expansion to their EVgo Advantage™ program in partnership with The Save Mart Companies, California’s largest regional, family-owned grocer operating in more than 200 stores throughout California and Northern Nevada. The EVgo Advantage platform enables drivers to use promotions delivered from EVgo after a charging session is started at one of the Save Mart, Lucky California, or FoodMaxx locations. Since the program began in 2019, EVgo has been running promotions at five Lucky/Lucky California locations and will now add seven additional Lucky California and Save Mart stores to the program. EVgo Advantage helps retailers capture increased traffic from EV charging customers and differentiate against nearby retailers while also delivering more value to EV drivers who shop while they charge.

As retailers continue to look for new ways to bring customers into their brick-and-mortar stores, the EVgo Advantage platform enables retailers to connect with the EV driver segment and also provide loyalty building promotions to shop while they charge. EVgo’s Advantage is the company’s proprietary technology that enables EVgo to deliver promotions to drivers via text, email, and mobile app to incentivize shopping and increase incremental foot traffic for its retail site hosts. This industry-leading approach enhances the EV driver experience, encourages customer loyalty, and helps EVgo charging site hosts to attract more business.

EVgo conducted a survey and found that 80% of EV drivers shop while they charge their vehicles — and 45% of those EVgo charging sessions resulted in new incremental shopping visits.

Enel X, the advanced energy services arm of the Enel Group, and Ok2Charge announce a partnership under which Enel X provides Ok2Charge with co-branded smart electric vehicle charging stations to be installed across vacation rental properties worldwide, enabling guests to charge at the property rather than spending time searching for a charger. As the first solution designed specifically for the vacation rental market, the Ok2Charge smart EV charging platform integrates with major property management systems to provide an industry-first fully automated EV charging solution as a property amenity that can be deployed across a portfolio of managed properties. The agreement delivers a turnkey charging solution for managers and owners of vacation rental properties who want to meet the needs of the rapidly increasing number of EV drivers.

Azolla Hydrogen Project


Azolla Hydrogen has initiated a promising Mitacs-funded project with the Ivey Business School at Western University, Ontario. Led together with Principal Investigator Dr. Fredrik Odegaard, the research project aims to analyze the pathways of optimizing hydrogen fuel networks.

“The need for low-carbon fuels was yesterday. We simply cannot combat global warming without drastically changing the current fuel source of motor vehicles”

Azolla Hydrogen is one of few Canadian companies with the technology, infrastructure, and talent to assist and promote the adoption of low-carbon fuels. “Our technology’s premise is based on lean manufacturing to increase the efficiency of low GHG Hydrogen production, making it even more sustainable and part of the circular carbon economy,” says Jared Sayers, President and CEO of Azolla Hydrogen. The objectives of the research project are two-fold. First, Azolla seeks to analyze the processes and challenges in implementing an environmentally sustainable methanol-based hydrogen production network to supply vehicular fuel demand in North America. Second, Azolla aims to determine the optimal design of the aforementioned pathways to build a “clean fuel” network from the lens of a life cycle analysis.

As a first step, the research study will focus on designing and assessing feasible hydrogen fuel networks for the province of Alberta and the state of California as case studies. “The need for low-carbon fuels was yesterday. We simply cannot combat global warming without drastically changing the current fuel source of motor vehicles,” says Dr. Odegaard, Associate Professor at the Ivey Business School. “However, we also need to better understand the life cycle of carbon production and design fueling networks that are environmentally sustainable and economically scalable. And so, I am very excited to be part of this research project.”

This research project is expected to benefit Azolla Hydrogen’s understanding of the optimal clean fuel network and streamline the deployment of its innovative technology to the market. “We are proud to be able to accelerate the world’s adoption of a more sustainable future. With the support of this Mitacs funded project, Azolla Hydrogen in collaboration with the Ivey Business School will be able to propel the North American hydrogen economy forward and realize this sustainable future for us all – sooner rather than later,” states Jared Sayers.


Highland & TBB Lowers Upfront Costs of Electric School Buses

Highland Electric Fleets (Highland), the leading provider of turnkey electrification services for school bus fleets in North America, and Thomas Built Buses (TBB), one of the nation’s leading school bus manufacturers, are expanding their relationship to lower upfront costs and speed adoption of electric school buses. The two companies signed a letter of intent (LOI) that will allow Highland to provide electric school bus subscriptions through 2025 at prices that put them at cost parity with diesel.

The LOI builds on a successful relationship that resulted in the largest school bus fleet order in North America to date, a 326-bus order approved by Montgomery County Public Schools in February of 2021. The first 45-charger depot has been installed in Bethesda, Maryland, and the first 25 buses began transporting students this month. The LOI will enable Highland and TBB to replicate similar large-scale, multi-year deployments in the U.S. and Canada.

Highland offers a unique, full-service subscription model that includes everything a school district or fleet operator needs to integrate electric school buses into their existing fleets. The company provides the school buses, installs charging infrastructure, manages charging, provides fleet and driver training resources, and manages service to keep fleets running smoothly. Established in 2019, Highland has grown quickly throughout North America and is already providing its turnkey model to both school districts and third-party operators in several U.S. states.

300 Companies Sign Climate Pledge

— Amazon and Global Optimism announced that more than 300 companies have now signed The Climate Pledge, a nearly 600% growth in signatories over the past year. Among the nearly 100 new signatories joining  are the world’s largest container shipping company, Maersk; the leading enterprise software developer SAP; the North American timberland company Weyerhaeuser; the largest residential solar company in the U.S., Sunrun; and the leading brand in connected car and audio services, HARMAN. Pledge signatories in total generate over $3.5 trillion in global annual revenues and have more than 8 million employees across 51 industries in 29 countries.

Signatories to The Climate Pledge must agree to:

  • Measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis.
  • Implement decarbonization strategies in line with the Paris Agreement through real business changes and innovations, including efficiency improvements, renewable energy, materials reductions, and other carbon emission elimination strategies.
  • Neutralize any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent, and socially beneficial offsets to achieve net-zero annual carbon emissions by 2040.

“The effects of climate change are becoming more and more apparent in our surroundings and daily lives, and we firmly believe that the private sector must continue to innovate and collaborate across regions and industries in order to decarbonize the global economy at scale,” said Andy Jassy, Amazon CEO. “It’s an encouraging sign that more than 300 businesses have now signed The Climate Pledge, which commits them to confronting climate change head-on by incorporating real business changes that will make a lasting impact on our planet. We can only do it together.”

Many of the new Pledge signatories are already making great strides toward reducing their carbon emissions:

  • Maersk is providing industry-leading green customer offerings across the supply chain, including Maersk ECO Delivery, which targets emission reductions in ocean shipping. Amazon began participating in this service in 2020 and continues today. Amazon’s participation reduced emissions by approximately 20 KTonnes of CO2e (the equivalent of 50 million average passenger vehicle miles) in 2021.
  • SAP recently accelerated its target for achieving net-zero carbon emissions to 2030—20 years earlier than originally targeted.
  • Weyerhaeuser is sustainably managing forests and manufacturing wood products across North America to provide a sustainable supply of wood for homes and countless other products, while protecting wildlife habitat and serving as a natural climate solution through carbon sequestration and storage. Weyerhaeuser reforests 100 percent of its timberlands after harvesting—planting between 130 and 150 million trees each year.
  • Sunrun’s systems have prevented 8.1 million metric tons of carbon emissions, which is equivalent to negating 20 billion miles driven by an average passenger vehicle.
  • With a long-standing focus on purpose, sustainability is one of HARMAN’s key strategic business pillars. As part of HARMAN’s commitment to achieving net-zero carbon across Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions by 2040, it’s working toward ambitious, measurable shorter-term targets that aim to reduce emissions, energy usage, and waste across its value chain. HARMAN has introduced new product lines made from responsibly sourced and recycled materials and has committed to 100 percent renewable energy in all HARMAN factories by 2025.

The Climate Pledge also welcomes several companies that have previously received investments through the $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund, Amazon’s corporate venture capital fund that invests in companies that can help accelerate a path to meeting The Climate Pledge. These companies include BETA Technologies, an electric aerospace company, and Infinium, a renewable fuels technology company, which both aim to support decarbonization efforts in the global transportation sector. The sector was responsible for approximately 7.3 billion metric tons of carbon emissions in 2020. In fact, nearly 13% of signatories represent transportation, aviation, and logistics sectors, sending an important signal that there will be rapid growth in demand for products and services that help reduce carbon emissions in this key sector. Additionally, Climate Pledge Fund investee and new signatory Pachama is bringing quality, transparency, and scale to nature-based carbon markets. Pachama uses remote sensing and machine learning to measure carbon stored in forests and monitor them over time, allowing organizations and individuals to compensate for their emissions with confidence by supporting reforestation and forest conservation projects.

DEKRA to Research V-G Interoperability

The California Energy Commission has selected DEKRA to develop a Vehicle-Grid Innovation Laboratory (ViGIL) to increase interoperability of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. The lab will be located in Concord, CA, and is expected to open in the summer of 2022.

The project was awarded and funded through a competitive bid process focused on increasing capacity and throughput of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) standards testing and expanding testing for electric vehicle charging equipment.

The ViGIL will offer a range of state-of-the-art testing and certification services for electric vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, device manufacturers, electric vehicle charging station manufacturers, charging point operators, and service providers. Upon opening, services will include:

  • Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) 1.6 certification: Developed by the Open Charge Alliance, this certification includes interoperability and conformance testing to ensure proper functioning between the electrical vehicle charging station and the back-office.
  • CharIN testing: This certifies interoperability between electric vehicles (EV) and EVSE.
  • ISO/IEC 15118 certification: International standard for vehicle to grid (V2G) communication. Certification will include plug and charge.
  • Testing Section 3.40 of the NIST 2020 Handbook 44 (Electrical Vehicle Fueling): This code applies to devices, accessories, and systems used for the measurement of electricity dispensed in vehicle fuel applications, including EVSE submeters.

DEKRA will continue to develop new capabilities at ViGIL, including V2G bi-directional charging testing according to ISO 15118-20 and OCPP 2.0.1. As an innovation facility, the lab aims to allocate 20% of laboratory resources for universities and small businesses to encourage investment and participation in the EV industry.

Porsche Plans to be 80% Electric in 2030

Last year, almost 40 percent of all new Porsche vehicles delivered in Europe were already at least partly electric – i.e. plug-in hybrids or fully electric models. In addition, Porsche had announced its intention to be carbon-neutral on the balance sheet in 2030. “In 2025, half of all new Porsche sales are expected to come from the sale of electric vehicles – i.e. all-electric or plug-in hybrid,” announced Oliver Blume. “In 2030, the share of all new vehicles with an all-electric drive should be more than 80 percent.” To achieve these ambitious goals, Porsche is investing in premium charging stations together with partners – and additionally in its own charging infrastructure. Further extensive investments are flowing into core technologies such as battery systems and module production. In the newly founded Cellforce Group, high-performance battery cells are being developed and produced that are expected to be ready for series production by 2024.

In 2021, Porsche increased its deliveries in all global sales regions. Once again, the highest-volume individual market was China. With almost 96,000 deliveries, an increase of eight percent was recorded here compared to 2020. Porsche grew rapidly in North America: In the United States, the number of deliveries rose by an impressive 22 percent to more than 70,000 units. A very positive development was also observed in Europe: In Germany alone, Porsche increased its new vehicle deliveries by nine percent to almost 29,000 units.

SEA Electric Sees Electric Schools Buses for 84

Global leader in e-Mobility technology, SEA Electric, continues the push into the zero-emissions school bus space with the piloting of a Blue Bird Type C schoolbus powered by a SEA-Drive(R) 120b power-system.

The pure battery-electric Type C model can accommodate up to 84 passengers, offering school bus fleets with market-leading performance and value for money.

The technology underpinning the platform has been proven with more than 1.5 million miles of real-world telematics data, demonstrating SEA Electric to be a dependable business partner.

The battery solution has a 138kWh capacity and a projected life cycle of more than 10 years, at which time it is envisioned that the cells would be repurposed for continued use.

Standard charging through the integrated onboard charger can be provided through Level 2, Single Phase (208/240 VAC) up to 19.2kW, while optional fast charging is achieved via standard CCS Type 1, Level 3, DC fast charging, at a rate of up to 100 kW.

Notably, the system is also Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) capable, paving the way for future power grid security and revenue opportunities.

Supporting all SEA Electric products is a five-year battery warranty, with systems also backed by a three year or 50,000 mile warranty.

Volta Charges Tanger Outlets

Volta Inc. (NYSE: VLTA), an industry leader in commerce and people-centric electric vehicle (“EV”) charging, and Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. (NYSE: SKT), a leading owner and operator of upscale open-air outlet centers, announced a plan to install dynamic Volta charging stations at Tanger locations in nine markets throughout the U.S., unlocking two new geographies for Volta and expanding reach in others. The partnership is expected to grow in the coming months.

Providing shoppers with access to a mix of DC Fast and L2 charging solutions, Volta’s deployment plan will provide seamless, universal, and reliable charging tailored to Tanger shopper characteristics. The partnership is another milestone in Volta’s ongoing work to connect clean miles to commerce and Tanger’s commitment to building a more sustainable future through innovative, customer-driven experiences and amenities.