EV, Battery & Charging News: GM, Lion Electric, Borg Warner, Leviton, Wallbox, Gravity, Volta, Mercedes-Benz, ACE, Qmerit & DocGo

In electric vehicle, battery and charging news are GM, Lion Electric, Borg Warner, Leviton, Wallbox, Gravity, Volta, Mercedes-Benz, ACE, Qmerit and DocGo.

Lion Electric & Transit Truck. Bodies Launch Electric Heavy-Duty Truck

The Lion Electric Company (NYSE: LEV) (TSX: LEV) (“Lion” or the “Company”), a leading manufacturer of all-electric medium and heavy-duty vehicles, and Transit Truck Bodies (“Transit”) announced the launch of a new lightweight, aerodynamic, 100% electric heavy-duty truck perfectly suited for last-mile urban delivery, that was developed under an upfitter partnership model.

Designed by Transit, this zero-emission vehicle built on a Lion6 chassis features an e-Classik box, which is much lighter than the standard model and has been specifically adapted to urban roads. This vehicle was developed as part of the Mobel mobilization project that the government of Quebec is helping to finance.

DOE Grant for Borg Warner

Borg Warner, a global product leader in delivering innovative and sustainable mobility solutions for the vehicle market, has received a $4.09 million U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Award to design and develop a cost-effective, advanced direct current fast charger (DCFC). BorgWarner received one of 25 research, development and demonstration projects which aim to advance electrification, reduce vehicle emissions and improve EV charging infrastructure.

BorgWarner will lead the 36-month DCFC project in coordination with US-based suppliers and research partners, including Michigan State University, eTransEnergy, Cityfi, the State of Michigan, and Barton Marlow, in addition to component supplier support from Wolfspeed, Inc. Kickoff of the project is slated for Q1 of 2022.

Leviton Evr-Green DC Charging Station

Leviton announced the launch of the Evr-Green DC charging station, the latest expansion to its portfolio of electric vehicle (EV) supply equipment. Ideal for rest stops, retail locations and other commercial and public applications, the Evr-Green DC provides a smart solution for high-power direct current (DC) charging for the latest electric vehicles on the market.

The Evr-Green DC station’s self-contained AC to DC power conversion system  provides EVs with direct DC power, which unlike AC charging stations, does not require the vehicle to convert power. According to the Alternate Fuels Data Center of the Department of Energy, DC charging stations can average 60-80 miles of range in only 20 minutes of charging, which is more efficient when compared to  2-20 miles of range per hour for an at home Level 1 AC station or more common Level 2 AC station. Built with CCS1 and CHAdeMO charge connectors, the Evr-Green DC allows the latest EV models to charge. An LCD screen on the front of the unit allows drivers to easily interact with instructions and information, making the stations easy to use.

Wallbox Begins Work on Arlington Factory

Wallbox (NYSE:WBX), a leading provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging and energy management solutions worldwide, announced the commencement of construction at its Arlington manufacturing facility, the company’s first U.S.-based EV charger manufacturing facility. The 130,000 square-foot high-tech plant is expected to have enough capacity to fully support Wallbox’s expansion plans in North America over the next decade. This announcement comes on the heels of the start of production at Wallbox’s new state-of-the-art factory in Barcelona, which began in December 2021 and will be inaugurated later this month.

Investing approximately $11 million USD* into initial construction, Wallbox is expecting to begin production within the facility by early Fall 2022. Initial construction is planned to allow the EV charger and energy management company to manufacture over 250,000 units in 2022, and over 500,000 in 2025.

The facility will begin with production lines for Wallbox’s Pulsar Plus AC chargers, its powerful best-selling home charger that can charge any electric car on the market, including Teslas with a converter. Production lines for Wallbox’s Quasar 2, its next-generation bi-directional DC charger that enables your car to power your home, Supernova, its fast public charger with 130kW power, and Hypernova, its ultrafast public charger with between 150kW and 350kW of power, are anticipated to follow in 2023.

The U.S.-based facility will play a vital role in expanding the company’s presence in North America, a market that is making a big push into automotive electrification with the Biden Administration targeting 50% of all new car sales to be electric by 2030. Expanding its U.S. presence is expected to allow Wallbox to improve delivery time, reduce freight costs, and qualify for subsidies offered by the U.S. government; all aspects that further allow Wallbox to provide the best products for its customers. The new facility is anticipated to create approximately 250 direct jobs in the region by 2030. Wallbox also entered into partnerships with U.S. suppliers, for the design and construction of the facility, storage racking, and its new assembly line.

Gravity Premieres Urban Fast-Charger

Gravity, the pioneering electric vehicle infrastructure & fleet start-up, debuted its new urban fast-charger (TFC-C1) at the New York Auto Show that solves the speed, space and power challenges impeding EV adoption in urban areas.

At 360kW, Gravity’s device delivers a faster charge than any other equipment on the market, while sized to fit virtually in any constrained indoor parking space, with floor, wall, and ceiling mounting options. Gravity is installing 24 of the new chargers at its Manhattan Plaza public charging hub on 42nd Street this spring, where they’ll serve the public and Gravity’s growing fleet of EV yellow taxis.

Gravity’s fast-charging equipment also solves one of the key constraints holding back EV adoption: the high costs of power.  Because electric bills are largely driven by peak-demand charges, adding high-powered EV charging to a site can dramatically increase electricity costs. Gravity’s charging system continuously balances the power demand from each vehicle with the demand from other site uses, while flexibly allocating power to chargers and managing total site peak-demand. This system ensures the largest driver of electricity bill costs holds roughly constant, while supplying each vehicle with the maximum power it can handle, lowering the cost of EV charging and helping smooth demand on the grid.

Volta Intros PredictEV Fleet for SCE

Volta Inc. (NYSE: VLTA), an industry-leading electric vehicle (“EV”) charging network powering vehicles and commerce, announced the launch of PredictEV® Fleet, the second product within its suite of machine learning and artificial intelligence (“AI”) solutions for infrastructure planning, with a multi-year commitment from Southern Company (NYSE: SO), the second-largest utility company in the United States.

Volta’s PredictEV® product suite is utilized by ​​multiple government agencies, utilities, retailers, real estate developers, municipalities, and more to inform intelligent EV infrastructure expansion and investment.

“Nearly one in every five vehicles in the U.S. is owned by a company, making fleet electrification an important business opportunity and a critical component to a carbon-free transportation future for all,” said Drew Bennett, Executive Vice President of Network Operations at Volta. “Our fleet product enables data-driven electrification planning for both fleet operators and the utilities that serve them to ensure strategies are future-proof and efficient.”

Using advanced AI and analytics, PredictEV Fleet analyzes data on existing vehicle fleets and premises and provides customers with critical insights to build fleet electrification plans, including:

  • A range of recommended EVs to replace internal combustion engine vehicles with similar specifications;
  • Optimal Volta-provided or other EV supply equipment (“EVSE”) to serve the fleet’s charging needs;
  • Estimated costs and savings with a calculation of total cost of ownership;
  • Integration of applicable rebates and incentives, such as federal, state, and utility programs offered by Georgia Power and other Southern Company-owned utilities;
  • Carbon mitigation by shifting to EVs.

Additionally, the product establishes data-sharing relationships between fleets and utilities to inform the grid strategies required to support the increased demand for electricity.

In 2020, Southern Company announced an internal fleet electrification goal to convert 50 percent of its electric companies’ light-duty vehicles and equipment to electric by 2030. Southern Company is a founding partner of the venture capital firm Energy Impact Partners (EIP) and collaborates with EIP portfolio companies to bring technology and business model innovation, like PredictEV Fleet, to life for the benefit of its customers, communities, and family of businesses.

Mercedes-Benz’ Carbon Neutral Plans

At its first digital ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) Conference for investors and analysts, the inventor of the automobile announced measures aimed at cutting CO2 emissions, creating lasting value for all stakeholders. As stated at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in November 2021, Mercedes-Benz is committed to a faster transition to electric cars. “The desire for individual mobility keeps growing. Our mission is to meet this need in a sustainable way. Mercedes-Benz has a clear roadmap how to become carbon-neutral. By 2030, we want to reach the half-way mark. In order to make faster progress in protecting the climate we need maximum dedication and more collaboration among governments, companies and society as a whole,” says Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG.

The company aims to at least halve CO2 emissions per passenger car over the lifecycle by the end of this decade compared to 2020 levels. To achieve this goal, the key levers include: electrifying the vehicle fleet, charging with green energy, improving battery technology, an extensive use of recycled materials and renewable energy in production. Mercedes-Benz plans to cover more than 70 percent of its energy needs through renewable energy by 2030 by rolling out solar and wind power at own sites as well as through further Power Purchase Agreements.

Electric only – well on the way to zero tank-to-wheel emissions
Electrification of the Mercedes-Benz portfolio has been progressing in leaps and bounds for some time. The aim is to achieve up to 50 percent share of plug-in hybrid and BEVs by 2025 on the way toward going all-electric by 2030 wherever market conditions allow. The portfolio already includes six, and soon nine, all-electric models. To-date, Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the EQA, the EQB, the EQC (WLTP: combined electrical consumption: 25-21,3 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km)1, the EQS, the EQE 350+ (WLTP: combined electrical consumption: 18,7‑15,9 kWh/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/100 km)1 as well as the EQV. Further models will follow: the EQS SUV, the EQE SUV and the EQT. The company plans to assert its leadership in electric mobility among commercial vans, too, through the ongoing electrification of its entire model range.

Green Charging –renewable electricity for electric vehicles
In the lifecycle of an electric vehicle, using renewable energy for charging is a significant lever for helping to avoid CO2 emissions. Mercedes-Benz enables “green charging2” at all of the around 300,000 public charging points in the Mercedes me Charge network throughout Europe and ensures that a sufficient amount of electricity from renewable sources is fed into the grid.

Battery – decreasing carbon footprint through innovative cell chemistry and battery recycling
The battery is the biggest lever for reducing CO2. With the current EU electricity mix, supply chain and production account for more than half of the lifecycle CO2 emissions. This proportion can be reduced significantly through the use of renewable energy. By transitioning to CO2-neutral cell production, it is possible to cut emissions for the production of the entire battery pack by 20 percent. Additional CO2 savings are expected to be achieved through further measures – e.g., by improving the anode and cathode production process. Strategic partnerships have thus been formed to develop and industrialize highly advanced and competitive cell technologies. With more than 800 watt-hours per litre at cell level by mid-decade, high-silicon anodes offer great potential in respect of energy density. At the same time, Mercedes-Benz expects to be able to use LFP batteries in its series-production vehicles. These batteries have a completely cobalt-free cathode. Together with research partners the company is also working on solid-state batteries. To keep control of the battery lifecycle in-house, the company is starting a CO2-neutral recycling factory in Kuppenheim3, Germany, to recycle end-of-life electric vehicle batteries using a new hydrometallurgical technique which increases the recycling rate to 96 percent.

Green steel and Aluminium – pulling out all stops to lower emissions and to support a sustainable future
Mercedes-Benz is setting up a green steel supply chain4 to massively expand its use of low-CO2 and zero‑CO2 steel. Working closely with steel suppliers, the company is consciously steering clear of carbon offsets, focusing instead on the avoidance and reduction of CO2 emissions. In 2021, the company became the first car maker to take an equity stake in Swedish start-up H2 Green Steel (H2GS), with the aim of introducing green steel in a number of production models by as early as 2025. Through the adoption of a circular economy approach, Mercedes-Benz is steadily increasing the proportion of secondary aluminium it uses. Furthermore, it is the first automotive manufacturer to commit to sourcing only primary aluminium certified by the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) for its stamping plants and foundries in Europe in future. This confirms that the raw materials are obtained and processed responsibly and in an ecological manner irrespective of the source country — from mining through melting and refining all the way to the gates of the Mercedes‑Benz plants. This requirement will be rolled out to other locations outside Europe in the medium term.

Sustainable materials in series production – now and in the near future
Several sustainable materials are already in series production in some vehicle models. These include seat upholstery fabrics from 100 percent recycled PET bottles as well as floor coverings made with yarns from fishing nets recovered and fabric remnants from old carpets. The EQS and EQE will even feature cable ducting made with recycled landfill waste. Indeed, the components in the EQS, manufactured with efficient use of resources through recycled and renewable raw materials, already weigh more than 80 kilograms. By applying its “Design for Environment” and “Design for Circularity” approaches to the selection of materials, Mercedes-Benz Cars aims to increase the use of recycled materials per vehicle by 2030 to 40 percent.

The bigger picture – Environmental, Social and Governance responsibility go hand in hand
Mercedes-Benz has been producing CO2-neutrally in all own plants as of this year. In addition, the company aims to further expand production of renewable energy by rolling out solar and wind power at all sites.

Mercedes-Benz has a holistic concept of ESG across all departments. The transition to CO2-neutrality and the associated expansion of electric mobility bring many challenges, including those relating to raw materials such as cobalt or lithium, and supply chains. As part of the risk-based Human Rights Respect System Mercedes-Benz increases transparency and takes appropriate measures in relation to 24 raw materials with an elevated risk. The corporate ambition is to ensure that human rights are respected along the entire supply chain: from the mines where raw materials are obtained to the processing companies, and finally to own production.

Along with sustainability and integrity, diversity forms the foundation of the sustainable business strategy of Mercedes-Benz. The company is convinced that sustainable success can only be achieved with diverse teams. One area of action for Diversity & Inclusion Management is the advancement of women. They make up the equivalent of 37.5 percent of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG: Three of the eight members of the Board. Mercedes-Benz wants more qualified women in senior management positions and is aiming for a share of 30 percent in 2030.

The shift towards climate neutrality is changing the financial world and green financing is gaining in importance. Therefore, the variety of green financing instruments like “Green ABS” and green KPI-linked bilateral funding agreements will be increased. Mercedes-Benz also expects a significant increase in EU taxonomy aligned CapEx until 2026 in accordance with its all-electric strategy. Analysis of the ESG ratings of Mercedes-Benz is an important aspect to identify and close transparency gaps. In 2021, the company was able to significantly improve those ESG ratings.

ACE Formed for LFP LM:FP

— Advanced Cell Engineering (ACE) has been formed to develop, market and license next-generation battery cell technology for electric vehicle batteries and grid-level energy storage. The new company is uniquely positioned to accelerate the clean energy future with its advanced LFP (lithium iron phosphate) and LM:FP (lithium multi-metal iron phosphate) battery cell chemistries which offer considerably higher energy density in a safe, cost effective battery cell. Cells using ACE chemistries can be produced on standard manufacturing equipment, which means existing factories can easily be converted to the new technology. The firm has 3 patents pending and is in active discussions with potential customers for licensing and commercial deployment.

ACE is led by John Kaufman, renowned battery veteran and former Chief Executive of International Battery. In addition to Mr. Kaufman, long-time Sony battery executive Masayuki Yasuda has joined the company as Chief Operating Officer.

“LFP and LM:FP are the future of electric vehicle battery technology. For decades, the goal for all battery cell companies has been a high energy density cell that is safe and affordable. ACE has that technology and is ready to enter the market now,” said John Kaufman, CEO of ACE. “With ACE’s platform, EV owners will benefit from the unmatched safety of LFP chemistry without any compromise in vehicle range. We’re thrilled to be bringing this significant technology advancement to market.”

Located in North America, ACE is well-positioned to become part of a secure and clean supply chain serving the booming EV industry. Its headquarters is located in Stuart, Florida, where it will also have a research lab and pilot production facility.

Qmerit & Uplight Help Utilities

Together, Qmerit and Uplight offer complementary benefits for utilities and their customers, including integrating charger sales with managed charging to help utilities enroll more customers, shifting more load and setting up the grid for future EV growth. The partnership provides utilities with more quality touchpoints with customers as they embark on the electrification journey, and customers with better support around the installation and adoption of home- or business-based Level 2 charging.

“With consumer interest in EVs rapidly increasing, offerings that ensure seamless adoption must keep up. EV chargers are the fastest growing product category on Uplight Marketplaces, with the number of chargers sold increasing nearly ten times from 2020 to 2021,” said Uplight Vice President of E-Commerce Brad Chen. “Our partnership with Qmerit is a key step in helping the energy industry to embrace this opportunity to become even more customer centric and ease pain points.”

Research by Uplight shows that most electric vehicle owners do little or no investigation into charging before purchasing their vehicle. Similarly, most don’t consider turning to their utility for this information. Chen said this situation could change as stakeholders across the EV ecosystem do a better job of coming together around the needs of the buyer.

“You’re going to see a major shift as the market moves from the curious browser to the savvy shopper,” said Chen. “It’s all part of the process of EVs going from novelty to mainstream.”

Bowen agreed, adding that the pace of the EV revolution will depend on widespread adoption of home- and business-based charging.

“We are going to need a drastic surge in residential and commercial charging in order for EVs to fulfill their promise,” Bowen said. “Our partnership with Uplight is an example of the efforts underway to make this happen for the consumer.”

GM Partners with Glencore for Australian Cobalt

Glencore and General Motors Co. announced a multi-year sourcing agreement in which Glencore will supply GM with cobalt from its Murrin Murrin operation in Australia. Cobalt is an important metal in the production of EV batteries, and the cobalt processed from Australia will be used in GM’s Ultium battery cathodes, which will power electric vehicles such as the Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC HUMMER EV and Cadillac LYRIQ.

The agreement builds on a commitment both companies share to create strong, sustainable and resilient supply chains through collective industry and multi-stakeholder platforms. Both Glencore and General Motors are members of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), and Glencore’s Murrin Murrin operation is conformant with the OECD-aligned Responsible Minerals Assurance Process.

“GM and our suppliers are building an EV ecosystem that is focused on sourcing critical raw materials in a secure sustainable manner,” said Jeff Morrison, GM vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. “Importantly, given the critical role of EVs in reducing the carbon footprint of the transportation sector, this agreement is aligned with our approach to responsible sourcing and supply chain management.”

“We are delighted to announce this collaboration and support General Motors in delivering its electric vehicle strategy,” said Ash Lazenby, Glencore U.S. Cobalt marketer and trader. “Future facing commodities like cobalt play a pivotal role in decarbonizing energy consumption and the electric vehicle revolution. Glencore is already a leading producer, recycler and supplier of these commodities, which underpin our own ambition of achieving net zero total emissions by 2050.”

Cobalt is a metal that makes up only 0.001% of the earth’s crust. It is known for its heat-resistant properties and is added to lithium-ion battery cathodes to improve energy density and battery longevity.

By the end of 2025, GM plans to have capacity to build 1 million electric vehicles in North America, and has announced a series of actions to create a new and more secure EV supply chain, including projects targeting key EV materials and components:

  • Cathode Active Material (CAM) with POSCO Chemical. GM and POSCO Chemical are building a new facility in Quebec, Canada, as part of their joint venture to produce CAM for GM’s Ultium batteries.
  • Lithium with Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) to secure lithium produced by the first stage of its Hell’s Kitchen Project in California.
  • Rare earth materials with GE, to develop a rare earth value chain.
  • Alloy flakes with MP Materials, who will establish the first North American processing site for alloy flakes. The company will then expand into magnet manufacturing around 2025 at its new production facility in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • Permanent magnets with VAC, the largest producer of permanent magnets in the Western Hemisphere with nearly 100 years of experience. VAC will establish a North American footprint to support GM’s magnet requirements starting in 2024, including locally sourced raw materials and finished magnet production.

DocGo Electric Ambulance @NYIAS

-DocGo, a leading provider of last-mile mobile health services and integrated medical mobility solutions (Nasdaq: DCGO), announced that it will exhibit its new all-electric, zero-emissions ambulance at the New York International Auto Show, taking place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on April 15-24, 2022. The first of its kind to be registered in the U.S., the vehicle emits just 10% of the pollutants as compared to a standard gasoline powered ambulance. At the show, hundreds of thousands of attendees will have the opportunity to see the vehicle in-person and speak with a DocGo representative to learn more about it.

A leading automobile exhibition for more than a century, the New York International Auto Show is a combination of new ideas, technological innovation, exceptional concept cars and the latest cars and trucks. This year, 250,000 square feet of the show will be dedicated to electric vehicles.

“As a New York-based company dedicated to sustainability, we are honored to be a part of the esteemed New York International Auto Show this year,” said DocGo President Anthony Capone. “We look forward to showcasing our new all-electric ambulance and encourage all attendees who are interested in the future of eco-friendly medical transportation to visit our exhibit.”

With a continued commitment to sustainability through its “Zero Emissions” initiative, DocGo aims to have an all-electric fleet by 2032.

In addition to participating in the NY International Auto Show, Ambulnz by DocGo also provides emergency medical services at the Jacob K. Javits Center.

DocGo is redefining on-demand access to healthcare, leveraging its AI-powered proprietary technology and expert healthcare professionals. The company delivers Mobile Health services at scale for hospital networks, governmental entities, and enterprise customers to provide high-quality, affordable care to patients when and where they need it most. DocGo’s mobility solutions, enabled through coordinated logistics and focus on exceptional patient care, give patients much-needed access to medical attention outside of the traditional four walls of the medical establishment.

eAxle for Toyota bZ4X

BluE Nexus Corporation, AISIN Corporation, and DENSO Corporation announced that they have jointly developed an eAxle for Toyota’s new battery electric vehicle (BEV), bZ4X scheduled to be released in May 12, 2022. BluE’s first eAxle has achieved excellent dynamic performance and downsizing and helps vehicles increase their electric mileage.

BluE was established in April 2019 to develop and sell electric systems and driving modules. By combining the strengths of AISIN, DENSO and Toyota in electrification, BluE aims to further develop and popularize electric vehicles and to help realize a carbon-neutral society by meeting the needs of customers around the world.

The eAxle is an electric driving module that integrates a motor, an inverter, and a transaxle. BluE, AISIN, and DENSO have jointly developed three new models: a 150kW specification (front) for FWD vehicles and 80kW specifications (front and rear) for 4WD vehicles.

This product has achieved excellent dynamic performance and high torque by increasing output density. Optimizing cooling inside the eAxle utilizing simulations and technologies nurtured so far, adapting heat management technology and improving the double-sided cooling technology for inverter layers help to increase output density. Furthermore, top-class electric mileage has also been achieved through the optimal magnetic design of the motor, the joining technology to shorten coil ends, low-viscosity oil for the eAxle, and loss reduction technologies such as the new RC-IGBT.

Moreover, the eAxle has been significantly downsized through our technologies, including a built-in structure that incorporates an inverter into the transaxle, a downsized motor, and the shortened distance between the shafts by adopting an output shaft. The eAxle to be mounted in the front of a vehicle has a reduced longitudinal length, and the one to be mounted in the rear of a vehicle has a reduced height, helping expand the passenger and luggage compartment spaces.

AISIN has developed and produced more than 5 million electric units since the launch of its first hybrid transmission in 2004. Meanwhile, DENSO has developed and produced more than 20 million inverters since the launch of the first Prius in 1997.

In addition to the expertise of the AISIN and DENSO, the three companies have developed BluE’s first eAxle by utilizing BluE’s know-how regarding the optimization and modularization of components, and the company’s capability to adapt to a variety of vehicles.

BluE, AISIN, and DENSO will continue to develop compact, highly efficient, low-cost products by leveraging their respective strengths and know-how. The companies will also contribute to the realization of a carbon-neutral society through by installing products in electric vehicles of every description via BluE.

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