EV, Battery & Charging News: EPA, Solo AVT, ABT, Natrion, Ideanomics, Peterbilt, DieHard, Intertek, Ford, SparkCharge, NI & Eaton

In electric vehicle, battery and charging news new are the EPA, Solo AVT, ABT, Natrion, Ideanomics, Peterbilt, DieHard, Intertek, Ford, SparkCharge, NI, Bank of America and Eaton.

VP Harris & Michael Regan Intros EPA’s $5 Billion Clean School Bus Program

The Lion Electric Company a leading manufacturer of all-electric medium and heavy-duty vehicles, today joined Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan at an event in Falls Church, Virginia for the official launch of the EPA’s $5 billion Clean School Bus Program. The program is now accepting applications and will award up to $375,000 per zero-emission school bus, including the LionC, the most ordered and delivered electric school bus on the market.

“We are honored to have been invited by Vice President Harris and EPA Administrator Regan in Virginia today for the official launch of this ambitious program which will accelerate the adoption of zero-emission school buses, to the benefit of the health of our students,” said Brian Piern, Chief Commercial Officer of Lion Electric. “With this $5 billion in funding the EPA is showing that zero-emission school buses are the future of student transportation, something we, at Lion, recognized when we began developing our all-electric buses over a decade ago. Lion’s dedicated grants team is ready to assist customers in applying for and securing these funds, leaning on our expertise and strong track record of success.”

As the leader in the zero-emission school bus market in the United States, Lion is at the forefront of the transition to clean student transportation that the Biden Administration and EPA are aiming to accelerate with the Clean School Bus Program. Lion is able to assist customers in securing this funding to deploy “made in America” buses to be built at its Joliet, Illinois manufacturing facility. This facility, which has a planned annual production capacity of up to 20,000 vehicles, will be the largest dedicated medium and heavy-duty electric vehicle manufacturing plant in the U.S. when production begins in the second half of 2022. Deploying zero-emission school buses brings healthier commutes to students while preventing exposure to hazardous particulate emissions from diesel engines, especially in underserved communities, which have historically had disproportionately poor air quality.

As part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the U.S. Federal Government has dedicated $5 billion in funding to deploy zero-emission and clean school buses over the next five years. The first tranche of $500 million in funding will close on August 19, after which the EPA will distribute funds to deploy clean school buses around the country.

Under the Clean School Bus Program, priority districts can receive up to $375,000 per zero-emission bus, which can represent up to 100% of the cost of an all-electric school bus. Other eligible districts and qualifying operators can receive up to $250,000 per bus, thus largely aligning the price of an electric bus to that of a conventional internal combustion engine vehicle. Up to $20,000 per bus in charging infrastructure funding is also available for EnergyStar certified charging stations, which LionEnergy can also help customers to secure and install.

Lion Electric designs its vehicles to be 100% electric from the ground up and put its first all-electric school buses on the road in 2016. To date, Lion has deployed over 600 vehicles with over 10 million miles driven, in real world operating conditions.

Romeo Power Supplies Batteries and Powertrains.

Romeo Power, Inc. (“Romeo Power” or the “Company”) (NYSE: RMO), an energy technology leader delivering advanced electrification solutions for complex commercial vehicle applications, today announced that the Company is supplying batteries to a leader in powertrain performance products.

Solo AVT Works with American Battery Solutions

Solo AVT, the vehicle hardware company revolutionizing the freight transportation industry,  announced the signing of an initial agreement with American Battery Solutions (ABS) to develop the battery system for the SD1, Solo AVT’s battery-electric Class 8 long-haul truck with 500+ miles of range. The SD1 is designed from the ground up and includes full, aerospace-level system redundancy and the lowest drag coefficient of any Class 8 truck on the road enabled by a complete redesign that removes the need for a human onboard.

As a clear leader in the design and manufacture of advanced battery solutions serving transportation, industrial, and commercial markets, ABS is well-equipped to develop the next generation battery solution for Solo AVT’s truck platform, which electrifies the safest and most efficient heavy truck purpose-built for the rapid decarbonization of the long-haul freight industry. Upon successful development, ABS will be the preferred high-voltage battery supplier for Solo AVT’s trucks.

Natrion Funded by $2 Million

Electric vehicle solid-state battery technology pioneer Natrion today announced it has secured $2 million in seed funding from high-profile investors, including Mark Cuban of Shark Tank, as it progresses towards prototyping production capabilities. The oversubscribed round was led by Chicago-based TechNexus Venture Collaborative with participation from Tamarack Global, Mark Cuban, Illinois Ventures, and other private investors.

Natrion has developed a patented and proprietary technology called the Lithium Solid Ionic Composite (LISIC). While conventional lithium batteries use highly flammable, low-performance liquid electrolyte components, LISIC is a first-of-its-kind polymer-ceramic hybrid solid electrolyte that drops into existing battery manufacturing lines to replace liquids. LISIC is thus able to improve charging speeds, driving range, longevity, and safety for electric vehicles, and has the potential to significantly benefit an array of other transportation and defense applications.

Ideanomics to Supply Coast Counties Perterbilt Dealerships

Ideanomics  a global company focused on accelerating the adoption of commercial electric vehicles (EV),  announced that it has signed an agreement with Coast Counties Peterbilt to deploy and operate energy and charging solutions at Coast Counties’ truck dealerships in California.

The agreement includes a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and a Charging-as-a-Service component. Ideanomics Energy will deploy DC fast charger, renewable energy generation, and storage at four Coast Counties Peterbilt dealerships in California. In addition, Ideanomics Energy’s management software will ensure high utilization and cost optimization. This turnkey solution will be offered to Coast Counties Peterbilt at a pre-agreed monthly amount.

The deal is the first announced by Ideanomics Energy, a newly created energy division providing turnkey charging & energy solutions. It will further Ideanomics’ holistic mission of being an A-to-Z full-service commercial electrification provider for fleets throughout their electrification journey.///

Advance Auto Parts Intro 12-Volt Batteries for EVs

Advance Auto Parts (NYSE: AAP), a leading automotive aftermarket parts retailer  announced the introduction of DieHard® EV with xEV by Clarios, becoming the first auto parts retailer to sell 12-volt batteries designed specifically for hybrid and electric vehicles. Advance continues to drive innovation and expand its robust parts assortment with DieHard EV, which is the latest offering of its tens-of-thousands of hybrid and electric vehicle parts already available. DieHard EV is available exclusively at Advance stores, participating Carquest stores and advanceautoparts.com. Advance also provides free battery testing and installation of DieHard EV and other batteries at its retail locations.1

DieHard EV batteries are an advanced, low-voltage technology designed to provide superior reliability, durability and safety for all hybrid and electric vehicles, which place more demand on their low-voltage batteries. To address this, DieHard EV batteries offer 30 percent more cycling vs. standard AGM batteries and provides stable performance from day one through end of life. Additionally, their robust construction helps assure critical safety functions like brakes, steering and lighting remain operational during an emergency.

“At Advance, we are committed to serving all makes and models of the growing vehicle population. While there are many years of parts and service growth ahead for internal combustion engines, we also recognize the increasing demand for hybrid and electric vehicles,” said Tom Greco, president and chief executive officer at Advance Auto Parts. “This first-to-market DieHard EV 12-volt battery is a great addition to our robust offering of hybrid and electric vehicle parts available in our catalog today to serve both our professional and DIY customers. Advance is also leading the way by equipping our professional customers with the training and support they need to service the evolving vehicle population, including offering more than 50 classes on hybrid and electric vehicles at Advance’s STX conference, which is the world’s largest automotive aftermarket training event.”

DieHard EV extends the AGM technology UL validated earlier this year that significantly reduces the environmental impact and resources needed to manufacture. All DieHard AGM batteries contain a minimum of 94% post-consumer recycled polypropylene and lead content using a closed-cycle mass balance system.

“As the global leader in advanced, low-voltage battery solutions, we have designed the Clarios xEV battery portfolio to meet the needs of the growing hybrid and electric vehicle market,” said Mark Wallace, chief executive officer at Clarios. “More electrified powertrains, like those found in hybrid and electric vehicles, require advanced 12V solutions to address the complex demands placed on the low-voltage systems. DieHard EV leverages our experience with nearly every global automotive manufacturer and is the right product to confidently meet these demands.”

DieHard EV arrives as the hybrid and electric automobile segments maintain significant growth and manufacturers continue to plan and forecast increased production of hybrid and electric vehicles for decades to come. In 2021, electric vehicle purchases in the U.S. jumped 83 percent from 2020 and hybrid vehicle purchases increased 76 percent.2

With hybrid and electric vehicle production and purchases increasing, the need for owner education has become more pronounced. In a survey of electric vehicle owners by Clarios, 84 percent did not know their automobile uses both high-voltage lithium and low voltage (12-volt) AGM batteries.

In a national survey3 of motorists commissioned by Advance, 51 percent of electric vehicle owners reported ownership of their vehicles as 3 to 5 years – prime replacement time for 12-volt batteries and 81 percent said it is important to have a 12-volt battery designed specifically for electric vehicles.

Advance’s research also highlighted the knowledge, capabilities and habits of today’s electric and hybrid motorists while identifying service and support needs for this growing segment. These owners can leverage Advance’s knowledgeable team members for assistance with their maintenance decisions and know that they can find a battery made for their vehicle as well as thousands of additional hybrid and electric parts and products.

Ford Joins First Movers Coalition

Ford Motor Company announced it will join the First Movers Coalition, a global initiative to harness purchasing power and supply chains to create early markets for innovative clean energy technologies. Ford manufactures more vehicles in the U.S. and employs more hourly workers in America than any other automaker.

“Ford has a strong track record of firsts in automotive sustainability, from being the only full-line American automaker to stand with California in support of stronger vehicle emissions standards to being the first automaker to join the Department of Energy’s Better Climate Challenge and commit to reducing our manufacturing emissions earlier this year. And now as part of the First Movers Coalition, we’re targeting the environmental impact of our supply chain by investing in green steel and aluminum,” said Ford Chief Government Affairs Officer Chris Smith. “Together this coalition has the potential to build the future of zero-emissions transportation that is good for people and the planet, and good for business.”

More than 50 companies with a collective market value of about $8.5 trillion across five continents now make up the coalition to help commercialize zero-carbon technologies. For its part, Ford is committing to purchase at least 10% near-zero carbon steel and aluminum by 2030. The company is working to achieve carbon neutrality globally across its vehicles, operations and supply chain no later than 2050 and to reach science-based interim targets by 2035.

“Reducing emissions to carbon neutral by 2050 is possible if we invest in the right technologies and bring them to scale within the next decade,” said Ford Director of Supply Chain Sustainability Sue Slaughter. “By joining the First Movers Coalition, Ford is signaling to the market that we want to work with our suppliers to achieve commercially viable green steel and aluminum. The intent and significance of our commitment today has the potential to help build the net-zero economy.”

To compete and win in a new era of electric and connected vehicles, Ford plans to invest more than $50 billion globally from 2022 through 2026 to develop electric vehicles and the batteries that power them. These investments will create new jobs and grow a supply chain that upholds Ford’s commitments to sustainability and human rights.

Ford already recycles up to 20 million pounds of aluminum each month at its Dearborn Stamping, Kentucky Truck and Buffalo Stamping facilities. Making recycled aluminum only takes around 5% of the energy needed to make new aluminum, according to the Aluminum Association.

Led by the World Economic Forum and the US Government, the First Movers Coalition targets sectors including aluminum, aviation, chemicals, concrete, shipping, steel, and trucking, which are responsible for 30% of global emissions – a proportion expected to rise to over 50% by mid-century without urgent progress on clean technology innovation. According to the World Economic Forum, aluminum represents 2% of global emissions.

At the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Ford joined RouteZero, a global coalition to curb global warming by working toward making sales of all new cars and vans zero-emissions by 2040 globally and no later than 2035 in leading markets. For Europe, the company announced this March that it is targeting zero emissions for all vehicle sales in the region and carbon neutrality across Ford’s European footprint of facilities, logistics and suppliers by 2035.

SparkCharge Series A Funding

SparkCharge, the world’s first mobile EV charging network, announced it is continuing its journey to scale the first mobile and intelligent EV charging network in the U.S. with a Series A funding investment of $23 million co-led by Tale Venture Partners and Pendulum. SparkCharge has also received additional investments from a diverse group, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, the Mark Cuban Companies, and Silicon Valley Bank. Pusha-T and Summer Watson make up some of the high-profile celebrities joining the round, signaling a shift to meet consumer demand for more accessible EV charging solutions.

The funding comes on the heels of SparkCharge’s significant successes in 2022 thus far. Since the start of the year, SparkCharge has secured several partnerships and programs with global brands leveraging its mobile charging technology, including Kia Motors, Hertz, Uber, and others. SparkCharge’s Currently app has also been launched in four cities with plans to roll out in additional markets.

BoA & Electrify America to Double Charging Stations

Bank of America and Electrify America announced plans to more than double the number of financial centers equipped with electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations by the end of 2023.

As of the beginning of this year, 172 Electrify America individual EV chargers have been installed at 46 financial centers – totals the companies intend to grow to more than 350 chargers at over 90 financial centers by the end of 2023.

NI Releases BTS for EV Testing

NI (NASDAQ: NATI) announced the release of its latest Battery Test System (BTS) for electric vehicle (EV) testing. The system is designed to help Tier 1 suppliers and automakers adapt to the complexity and scale of EV battery testing through enhanced customization, automation and connection of data across the entire battery test workflow to ensure performance and accelerate time to market.

“Automakers are investing heavily to deliver on EV timelines, which has placed increased importance on test to ensure this technology meets both time commitments and consumer expectations for safety”

Batteries are at the core of the shift to electrification and have a direct impact on the sustainability, safety, performance and, consequently, consumer buy-in of EVs. However, testing of EV batteries places immense strain on engineering resources as design and test groups must continuously upgrade and adapt to new test requirements.

NI’s BTS enables scalability of testing by providing an out-of-the-box experience for battery test workflows, along with customization capability to fit a variety of test roles and needs. This software-connected system is uniquely positioned to integrate components for battery test such as power electronics, environmental chambers, measurements and test channels at scale. It facilitates coordination of activities between design and test teams to request, configure, run, monitor and report on test results that inform critical design changes.

“Automakers are investing heavily to deliver on EV timelines, which has placed increased importance on test to ensure this technology meets both time commitments and consumer expectations for safety,” said Jon Denhof, Senior Director of Offering Management, Electrification. “NI’s BTS combines decades of test and measurement experience with our powerful software to enable automakers to test their batteries at scale, within budget and at pace with market demands.”

With its recent acquisition of NH Research Inc. (NHR), Heinzinger Automotive GmbH and Kratzer Automation, NI’s global capabilities for EV battery test provide automakers with a cross-functional, scalable network of products, services and solutions to meet current and future EV market demands. Additionally, NI’s SystemLink™ software, BTS software and data analytics tools work together to ensure traceability of test results, repeatability of the tests themselves and management of the entire test-cell and test lab operation, ultimately bringing modern software engineering tools and practices into battery testing.

To learn more about NI’s BTS and other battery and EV solutions, visit ni.com/evtest.

Volvo Trucks NA Opens New Academy in Tinely Park, IL

Volvo Trucks North America announced today that the Volvo Trucks Academy opened a new facility in Tinley Park, Illinois, to expand access to battery-electric truck training in the central U.S. The new 14,865-square-foot facility is larger and more modern than the previous Illinois training facility, enabling Volvo Trucks to provide more robust, hands-on learning opportunities for customers and dealers interested in electromobility solutions, including the Volvo VNR Electric model.

Intertek Expands Services at Transportation Technologies Lab

Intertek, a Total Quality Assurance provider to industries worldwide, announces the expansion of services and capabilities at its Transportation Technologies lab in Plymouth, Mich., to meet the automotive industry’s increasing demand for safe and reliable testing for evolving electric vehicle (EV) and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) technologies.

With President Biden’s goal of having half of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. be zero-emissions vehicles by 2030 – including battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, or fuel cell electric vehicles – a growing need exists to support and promote the EV industry’s development to meet this objective. This includes the need ensure the safety, performance, and functionality of EVs, battery packs, and their related components. Located near Detroit, Intertek Plymouth offers some of the most extensive EV battery and EVSE testing capabilities in North America to assist automotive OEM and Tier Suppliers.

“Advances in electrification technologies in the automotive industry and the accelerated global adoption of EVs has led to an increase in both industry vehicle development and consumer demand,” said Gavin Campbell, President, Intertek Transportation Technologies. “As an early adopter of and pioneer in EV testing, Intertek’s continued investment in the Plymouth location to bring in additional state-of-the-art equipment and innovate our offerings underscores our commitment to deliver best-in-class testing and certification services to our automotive customers as their needs evolve.”

The laboratory expansion doubles the facility space to 200,000 square feet, making it one of the largest laboratories in Intertek’s network. Additional testing capabilities and equipment include:

The installation of a 55,000 lbf shaker, one of the largest in North America, for use with large automotive and EV component testing
Battery Cycler capability to 1200V/600kw
A new EVSE emulator for IEC 61851-24 certifications
Multiple reach-in and walk-in environmental chambers
Bunker/safety expansion
A dedicated area for full vehicle work
Specific areas for salt, dust, and BSR testing
Expansion for vibration and fixturing
Establishing dedicated areas for expansion of performance work
Intertek provides expertise on performance, quality, and reliability standards and expectations for the automotive industries with efficient, cost-effective insights and testing capabilities. The Company is accredited to conduct hundreds of electrical, chemical, and mechanical tests for automotive components, products, and systems.

Eaton Intros BDU

Power management company Eaton  announced its eMobility business has introduced a battery disconnect unit (BDU) that can be combined with upgraded Breaktor® circuit protection technology to provide circuit protection in electrified vehicles (EVs) while reducing overall complexity and cost.

When paired with the Breaktor circuit protection technology, which combines current switching and resettable bidirectional short-circuit protection with fast actuation, Eaton’s BDU eliminates the need for up to 15 additional system components. Traditional systems require a combination of pyro and thermal fuses and contactors.

“As manufacturers continue to increase the power levels in EVs, it’s increasingly important to have capable and dependable protection solutions,” said Kevin Calzada, global product strategy manager, Eaton’s eMobility business. “Our BDU combined with our Breaktor circuit protection technology provides everything needed, in a compact and efficient package, to protect the vehicle and occupants.”

The BDU’s primary function is to serve as an on/off switch to the battery depending on the mode the EV is operating in, such as charging or driving. Current model EVs rely on one of three traditional BDU configurations: fuse and contactor; pyro fuse and contactor; or fuse, pyro fuse and contactor, all used together in a single BDU. While all provide switching and protection functions, they each have disadvantages, including overall system complexity, serviceability, coordination difficulties and susceptibility to fatigue under high current levels.

Adding Breaktor circuit protection technology to Eaton’s BDU provides extra functionality and benefits, including active and passive actuation in a single device; the capability to transition to an off-state under a wide range of fault conditions; improved functional safety; the ability to be reset after a high-energy fault; and the ability to replace up to four high-voltage electrical components, which reduces complexity and system-level cost.

“Our Breaktor circuit protection technology’s self-triggering design, diagnostic electronics and mirror contact help achieve BDU functional safety goals,” Calzada said. “With its integrated coil driver, economizer, and the sensing/triggering circuit, Breaktor circuit protection technology also reduces battery management-system cost and complexity.”

Eaton’s Breaktor circuit protection technology also enables up to 350 kW DC fast charging when used to protect and switch the DC fast-charge circuit, allowing EVs to charge in 15 minutes or less. This capability is made possible by recent upgrades to the Breaktor circuit protection technology’s thermal management and materials to boost its power capacity. Breaktor circuit protection technology is now able to carry 500 amps continuously and up to 750 amps of continuous current when an active or passive cooling system is leveraged.

“Breaktor achieves best-in-class current ratings, and these can be even further increased with an appropriate cooling strategy,” Calzada said. “Eaton is able to design and develop a compatible cooling system to customer specifications and integrated into a BDU to meet these rising power requirements.”