EV Battery & Charging News: Ford, Lighting eMotors, Bain & Co, IUC, USPS & Research Association

In electric vehicle, battery and charging news are Ford, Lighting eMotors, Bain & Co, IUC, USPS & Research Association

Ford Tests Robotic Charging

For most of us, filling a car with fuel, or charging an electric vehicle is a simple task. But for disabled drivers, people with reduced mobility and older people it can be a significant challenge.

Now, Ford has developed a prototype robot charging station that drivers operate via their smartphone from inside their electric vehicle. 1 The technology could enable disabled drivers to stay in the car while charging, or they could leave the car while the robot does all the work.

Disabled drivers have already identified ease of charging as a key purchase consideration for electric vehicles. 2 Ford is testing the robot charging station as part of a research project to develop hands-free charging solutions for electric vehicles and fully automatic charging for autonomous vehicles.

Following initial lab testing, Ford researchers are now putting the robot charging station to the test in real-life situations. Once activated, the station cover slides open and the charging arm extends towards the inlet with the help of a tiny camera. For the trial, drivers were able to monitor the charge status via the FordPass app. 3 After charging, the arm retracts back into place.

In future, the robot charging station, custom-made by Dortmund University, in Germany, could be installed at disabled parking spaces, in car parks or at private homes. Further applications could include fast and efficient charging of company fleets. The technology could also support more powerful charging to charge vehicles in a much shorter time.

Looking ahead, the process could become fully automated, with minimal or no driver involvement. The driver would simply send the vehicle to the charging station, with the infrastructure ensuring it reaches and returns from its destination autonomously.

This research project complements Ford’s commitment to electrification. A follow-up project with the charging network provider IONITY will look to further improve the robot charging station.

Ford is also researching into robot charging solutions in combination with Automated Valet Parking, as demonstrated at IAA in Munich, Germany, last year.

Ford’s fast-growing Blue Oval Charging Network provides customers with access to a network of over 300,000 chargers across Europe. To help drivers find charging stations and pay for charging, Ford Charge Assist can be accessed using the touchscreen of Ford’s SYNC 4 connectivity and entertainment system. 4

For commercial vehicle customers, Ford Pro Charging offers bespoke charging solutions incorporating charging equipment, ongoing maintenance and management software that help reduce time-consuming paperwork and charge schedule planning.

Ford recently joined 27 companies in a petition to ensure all new cars and vans in Europe are zero emission from 2035 and called for targets to grow electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Europe to keep pace with electric vehicle growth rates.

The company believes a unified approach encompassing governments, European Union institutions, the entire auto industry, energy providers, local authorities and consumers is required to accelerate the development of a comprehensive, easily accessible and efficient charging infrastructure at home, in the workplace and in public locations. 5

Lighting eMotors Shows Second Gen Mobile Chargers

Lightning eMotors (NYSE: ZEV), a leading provider of zero emission medium duty commercial vehicles and electric vehicle technology for fleets, announced today the unveiling of its second-generation Lightning Mobile chargers for commercial and consumer electric vehicles (EV).

Uniquely designed to accommodate a number of use-cases, the first-of-its-kind mobile DC fast charger offers rapid deployment of reliable charging capabilities in locations where static charging stations are not possible or that only have Level 2 power available—all without the constraints associated with installing static charging stations.

Each modular unit offers between 105 to 420 kWh battery capacity and provides the option of up to 5 DC fast-charging outputs. The new systems are currently available to order for delivery in late 2022.

“We’re incredibly excited to bring our next-generation Lightning Mobile charging solution to the market to address the growing need for readily available, mobile, and flexible DC fast-charging,” Lightning eMotors CEO Tim Reeser said. “Lightning Mobile provides a much-needed charging solution for everything from mobile disaster relief and rescue to intermittent charging points at facilities like sports stadiums, which need an EV charging and power solution in various locations. It can also serve as a short or medium-term charging solution for fleets to rapidly deploy EVs while waiting for permanent infrastructure to be installed.”

The next-generation Lightning Mobile solution was designed, engineered and developed over a 12-month period of learnings from operating the first-generation prototype. Engineers rigorously tested the prototype and its capabilities to develop a next generation charging capability which has been proven to be the ideal solution for charging commercial trucks, vans, buses and cars at remote locations, events and depots.

“A recent survey found that 90% of fleet managers believe electric vehicles will be the future of commercial fleets,” said Brandon McNeil, vice president of Lightning Energy. “Lightning’s next generation mobile charger can support an accelerated rate of electric commercial vehicle adoption while their depot charging is being installed, a process that, unfortunately, can take a long time.”

Lightning’s new mobile charging solution can accommodate a variety of battery capacities and outputs to accommodate customer use cases. The modular unit also features the same advanced technologies as Lightning’s powertrains, including active thermal management for optimum battery performance and longevity and sophisticated telematics/analytics to optimize overall fleet operations and vehicle safety.

To accommodate both short- and long-term use cases, Lightning Mobile will be available for purchase or via variable term lease and rental agreements. Please contact info@lightningemotors.com for additional information.

Bain & Co EVs Coming Faster than Expected

New research from Bain & Company shows electric vehicles (EVs) are set to reshape the automotive and mobility industries faster than anticipated. Bain expects the profit pool for the EV charging sector in the US, Europe and China to grow to up to €13.5 billion by 2030—with up to  €6 billion coming from the US, up to €5 billion coming from the European Union (EU) and up to €2.5 billion coming from China.

Countries worldwide have already introduced ambitious green energy targets and supported the transition to EVs. Now, the Ukraine war has accelerated those efforts and prompted many governments to further reduce their dependence on Russian oil and gas. Charging infrastructure and services critical to the adoption of battery-powered EVs (BEVs) are a huge and strategic new business opportunity.

“The next decade will be unprecedented for the EV charging ecosystem worldwide,” said Lucas Martin, partner at Bain & Company. “Future winners are moving fast and building partnerships to secure the best locations and digital platforms to provide a seamless charging experience. These leaders are navigating uncertainties in the market by designing scenario-based strategies that allow them to pivot quickly when consumer behaviors or regulations shift.”

In the near term, investment will flow into building up the required infrastructure. In transit charging, profitability will depend on the ability to achieve high utilization rates. Winning in this sector will require a large capital expenditure on a network of convenient, reliable, fast-charging stations (150-plus kilowatt) that deliver an excellent customer experience.

In the future, the largest profit pool for home and work charging will likely be linked to next-generation smart energy services, including vehicle-to-grid and vehicle-to-home EV charging. These services will represent roughly one-third of the total profit pool by 2030, becoming increasingly important as the volume of solar and wind energy grows. These services allow electricity companies to harness the storage capacity in car batteries to better balance supply and demand.

The EV charging markets in Europe, the US and China will differ based on the share of electric car sales, local driving and charging habits, predominant housing type and market regulation. By 2030, for example, BEVs are forecast to make up 55% of total car sales in Europe, compared with 40% in China and 32% in the US.

The predominant type of housing in a specific market is another important factor influencing charging solutions. For example, the market for single-family-home charging products will be bigger in the US, where 82% of the population live in single-family homes, compared with 60% in the EU and 37% in the relevant urban regions of China.

Regulation will also play an important role in developing the smart energy services market. The complex patchwork of state-by-state rules in the US will significantly affect vehicle-to-grid services strategies and could slow widespread adoption. The EU aims to create a policy framework to improve energy storage and expand services, while China’s market will remain strongly regulated and concentrated. These conditions will likely accelerate the development of smart energy services.

“As companies and investors consider where to play and how to win in the EV charging ecosystem, it will be critical to understand how demand for different charging occasions and regulatory landscapes differ by region today and in the future,” said Eric Zayer, partner at Bain & Company. “While consumers in suburban areas around the US and Europe will be able and keen to charge at home, consumers that live in dense urban areas, such as in China, will be forced to charge more in other locations, like work, at destinations such as restaurants or in transit.”

  • Transit charging: High-speed transit charging stations require heavy capital expenditure—$30,000 to $150,000 per unit. Reliability, convenience and a differentiated customer experience, such as wifi service and quick-service restaurants, will be critical to success.
  • Home charging: Winners in home charging will prioritize easy installation, affordable prices and bundles with the purchase of an EV. Owners will also be looking benefits to their overall home energy management system, including the ability to save electricity and protect against power outages.
  • Destination charging: What matters most in destination charging is selecting highly frequented locations, such as supermarkets or restaurants, and the right type of charger to match the amount of time consumers typically spend on site. As with transit charging, destination charge points need to be highly reliable and offer competitive prices.
  • Work charging: Offices and other work locations require chargers that are easy to operate and low cost. There is an opportunity for employers to offer this access as a benefit to employees. In certain industries, there is a need for charging fleets of light commercial vehicles and buses. These large-scale depots often need to be equipped for overnight charging and able to collaborate with power grid operators and utilities.
  • Smart energy services: Providers of next-generation smart energy services will need to offer electricity companies access to a sufficient number of parked cars to create a powerful energy reserve capable of balancing grid demand. They also must provide smart home or facility devices and an extensive, secure IT platform for intelligent charging. That includes powerful cloud-based software that can help predict how many cars will plug into the network and what time they will access the service. Leaders will work with grid operators to help them use electric car charging to stabilize the network system.

IUC Chargers in Florida

Invisible Urban Charging (“IUC”) announced  that it is rolling out more than 6,000 chargers for electric vehicles (“EV”) into the State of Florida. Once fully deployed, IUC will have doubled the number of EV chargers in the State, making it the largest EV charger operator in Florida.

Starting with an iconic building in central Orlando, IUC is working closely with Lincoln Property Company, one of the largest private U.S. property developers and a leader in sustainable building design, to deploy EV chargers to its new mixed-use tower – Truist Plaza at Church Street Station. IUC partners with major property owners to provide on-site EV charging at scale in high numbers, helping to meet an increasing demand that is expected to require 3.5 million chargers by 2030.

“EV charger infrastructure is a critical piece of the puzzle that will accelerate the shift to electric transport,” said Nigel Broomhall, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of IUC. “By rolling out high volumes of EV chargers, we encourage more people to drive electric sooner. We expect our rollout will also help add high-paying local jobs, and more EVs will improve air quality, make Florida cities quieter and cleaner, reduce the dependance on foreign oil, and assist in help reduce the impacts of climate change.”

“Lincoln Property Company of Florida, Inc. is deeply committed to ESG and driving towards a Net Zero Carbon initiative, including in those properties where we provide management services for our building owners and partners like Church Street Station. We firmly believe providing ESG enabled technology is a critical component of ‘partnering with our tenants’ by affording them the platform to recruit and retain high-quality talent which, in turn, results in increased ROI / bottom line,” said Scott Stahley, Executive Vice President at Lincoln Property Company of Florida. “EV chargers are certainly one part of this solution set, and IUC is one of the best resources that gives us ultimate flexibility in how we deploy and apply these enhancements for the benefit of our tenants and building owners alike. We are seeing increased demand for these types of solutions as a byproduct of regulatory requirements and customer requests. Lincoln strives to create a competitive advantage against the market via both ESG and overall cutting-edge technology. In this regard, the EV solution provided by IUC aligns perfectly with present and future market demand as we move into the next phases of Church Street Station.”

IUC was founded in 2019 in New Zealand with the mission to accelerate the world’s transition to electric transportation. Jones Lang LaSalle, a global leader in property development and management, serves as installation partner, along with a nationwide installation capability through its network of electrical contractors, logistics, and signage partners.

“The partnership with IUC and Lincoln properties is in alignment with Jones Lang LaSalle’s goals in sustainability and supports our global initiatives to build a better world through real estate,” said Brian Terrell, Senior Managing Director for JLL.

Added Eileen Murray, a strategic advisor to IUC and former co-CEO of Bridgewater Associates, “IUC is about driving solutions that can have a massive positive impact through scale. The application of ESG principles is very real in IUC. They have a diverse team that’s focused on delivering an infrastructure for EVs that makes access to chargers easier for everyone.”

osition of its delivery fleet. The adjustments reflect refinements to the Postal Service’s overall network modernization, route optimizations, improved facility electric infrastructure, and availability of vehicles and technology. The proposed expanded fleet mix will include purpose built Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDVs) and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) vehicles, and the network adjustments and attendant economies will facilitate substantially increased deployment of battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

US Postal Service Will Add More EVs Increased to 20%

In February 2022, the Postal Service completed its obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act process and issued a Record of Decision to acquire up to 165,000 NGDV, with a commitment for at least 10 percent BEV. This decision was expressly designed to provide the Postal Service the flexibility to acquire significantly more BEV NGDV should financial and operational circumstances permit. Pursuant to this decision, the Postal Service then announced in March 2022 a purchase of 50,000 NGDV from Oshkosh Defense, including 20 percent BEVs.

Now, under the new adjusted scope for the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), the Postal Service proposes to limit its Decision to the 50,000 NGDV already purchased and to raise the minimum NGDV BEV percentage to at least 50 percent. Because of the critical and immediate need to accelerate the replacement of our aging fleet in accordance with the Delivering for America plan, and the purpose and scope of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process, the Postal Service is also proposing to purchase, over a 2-year period, 34,500 COTS vehicles. Additional purchases of NGDVs under the current contract or other COTS vehicles will be analyzed in future supplements to the EIS prior to such purchases. The Postal Service anticipates evaluating and procuring vehicles over shorter time periods to be more responsive to its evolving operational strategy, technology improvements, and changing market conditions, including the expected increased availability of BEV options in the future.

In total, of the above 84,500 NGDV and COTS vehicles, the Postal Service anticipates having at least 40 percent BEV. The Postal Service reiterates its commitment to the fiscally responsible roll-out of electric-powered vehicles for America’s largest and oldest federal fleet. New NGDVs are expected to start servicing postal routes in late 2023.

As a result of this announcement, the Postal Service is extending the public comment period for its NGDV SEIS. The public hearing will now be held Monday, Aug. 8, at 7pm ET. Registration for the public hearing can be found at uspsngdveis.com/. The public comment period has been extended until Aug. 15.

Research Association of Biomass Innovation for Next Generation Automobile Fuels (Research Association) Formed

ENEOS Corporation (ENEOS), Suzuki Motor Corporation (Suzuki), Subaru Corporation (Subaru), Daihatsu Motor Co. Ltd. (Daihatsu), Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota), and Toyota Tsusho Corporation (Toyota Tsusho) established the Research Association of Biomass Innovation for Next Generation Automobile Fuels (Research Association) on July 1, 2022, to study ways to optimize the process of producing fuel.

It is crucial to provide diverse energy options to meet the needs of many different regions and customers in order to achieve carbon neutrality. Hydrogen and synthetic fuels based on electricity from renewable energy sources, as well as bioethanol fuel able to reduce CO2 emissions through photosynthesis in plants are promising options, and their effectiveness has been confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). However, it is essential to clarify the issues and search for a solution regarding CO2 emission reduction and social implementation throughout the manufacturing process, in addition to raw material procurement for any of these fuels.

This Research Association promotes technological research on the use of biomass, as well as the efficient production of bioethanol fuel for automobiles through the optimized circulation of hydrogen, oxygen, and CO2 during production to achieve a carbon-neutral society. Specific research areas are as follows.

  1. Research on Efficient Ethanol Production Systems

With the aim of improving production technology for second-generation bioethanol fuel that does not compete with food, the Research Association will design, install, and operate production facilities, identify issues with production, research solutions and study ways to improve the efficiency of production systems.

  1. Research on Byproduct Oxygen, CO2 Capture, and Utilization

The Research Association will study how to use the high concentration of oxygen generated as a byproduct during hydrogen production as well as the CO2 generated during bioethanol fuel production.

  1. Research on the Efficient Operation of the Overall System, Including Fuel Utilization

The Research Association will investigate the issues involved with using bioethanol fuel obtained in (1) to automobiles and other vehicles and explore solutions. It will also study model formulas that can make predictions of both raw material cultivation production volumes and fuel production volumes.

  1. Research on Efficient Raw Material Crop Cultivation Methods

The Research Organization will develop a system that proposes optimal cultivation methods for maximizing yield and optimizing crop components to secure raw materials for bioethanol fuels. It will aim to improve the accuracy of crop yield productions through soil composition surveys and other methods.