EV, Battery & Charging News: EPA, Penske, PG&E, Duke Energy, FreeWire, Chevron, GM & OneD

In electric vehicle, battery and charging news are the EPA, Hertz, bp, Kia, Penske, PG&E, Duke Energy, FreeWire, Chevron, GM & OneD.

EPA Doubles Electric School Bus Funding

Lion Electric Company  a leading manufacturer of all-electric medium and heavy-duty vehicles, is congratulating the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the overwhelming success of its Clean School Bus Program – which is resulting in the EPA nearly doubling the amount awarded in its initial round of funding to nearly $1 billion.

Thanks to the resounding interest in this year’s initial tranche of $500 million for which applications closed in August, the EPA announced it will be drastically increasing the amount of funding that will be awarded this year to $965 million. The EPA saw outstanding interest for this year’s initial round of funding, with around 2,000 applications amounting to nearly $4 billion, for a total of over 12,000 buses. Furthermore, an additional $1 billion in funding will be available for fiscal year 2023.

Hertz & bp to Deploy National EV Charging Network

Hertz and bp announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the development of a national network of EV charging stations powered by bp pulse, bp’s global electrification and charging solution brand. The MOU sets the foundation for Hertz and bp to drive the future of mobility and accelerate EV consumer adoption.

The agreement also involves the management of Hertz’s charging infrastructure by bp pulse and the customization of its Omega software to ensure Hertz’s growing fleet of electric rental cars are recharged quickly and efficiently between rentals. Omega supports fleet operations by automating charging when the power price is low, while providing real-time visibility to EVs, chargers, power usage, and more.

  •  Hertz has a national footprint of locations across North America suitable for bp pulse to build and manage a network of fast-charging hubs to serve Hertz customers, including taxi and ride sharing drivers, as well as the general public.

2023 Kia Niro to Get 500 kWh of Charging at Electrify America

Kia America and Electrify America have announced a collaboration to provide drivers of the all-new second-generation 2023 Kia Niro EV with 500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of complimentary EV charging at any Electrify America station across the United States. The charging credit can enable Niro EV owners to drive as many as 1,950 miles, depending on driving style and external conditions.1

“With the launch of the new Niro EV, we are expanding our collaboration with Electrify America to enable Niro EV drivers to experience all-electric road trips with the added benefit of quick recharging,” said Steven Center, COO & EVP, Kia America.

The all-electric Niro EV has an all-electric range of 253 miles and is powered by a 64.8 kWh battery and a 150kW (201-horsepower) motor with DC fast-charging capability as standard. Plugged in to a DC fast charger, the Niro EV can replenish its energy from 10 to 80 percent in under 45 minutes, at a maximum charging power of 85 kW. An optional heat pump and battery warmer help preserve range in cold temperatures and help the Niro EV charge more quickly in cold temperatures.

“Kia and Electrify America understand the importance of DC fast charging for electric vehicle drivers,” said Giovanni Palazzo, president and chief executive officer of Electrify America. “We are thrilled to expand the collaboration and help provide Niro drivers with confident DC fast charging on our coast-to-coast network of 800 stations.”

Kia Niro EV owners can search for Electrify America charging stations through in-car navigation, and access the DC charging network through the Electrify America mobile app. A one-time enrollment code for the Electrify America app is provided through the Kia owner’s portal or the Kia Access App, after the owner activates and enrolls with Kia Connect, the brand’s robust in-car telematics system. Owners will have three years from the date of purchase to use the complimentary charging credit.

Penske to Supply Sonepar with Ford E-Transit Vans

 Sonepar has selected Penske Truck Leasing to provide its new light-duty electric fleet. Penske Truck Leasing is in the process of delivering nine Ford E-Transit all-electric cargo vans to support the initiative.

These vehicles will be used for regional product deliveries in CaliforniaMarylandMinnesota and Washington state. Penske provides Sonepar with the vehicles, lease financing, comprehensive preventive maintenance program, 24/7 roadside assistance, and the capability to charge these electric vehicles at its locations.

As a leading distributor in the U.S., Sonepar’s fleet provides the delivery of much-needed electrical, industrial and safety products to a variety of customers including electrical contractors, industrial electrical OEMs, electric utilities and commercial and institutional buildings.

Sonepar operating companies acquiring the new vehicles include North Coast Electric, Independent Electric Supply, OneSource Distributors, Capital Electric Supply and Viking Electric. The five electrical distribution companies are the first in the company’s history to use light-duty electric vehicles in the U.S.

PG&E Promotes EV Programs

In recognition of National Drive Electric Week (Sept. 23 – Oct. 2, 2022), Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is encouraging customers to drive electric, promoting electric vehicle (EV) programs and resources available to customers, and sharing its progress to prepare the grid for widespread EV adoption in support of California’s clean air and climate goals.

Currently, one in six electric vehicles in the nation plugs into PG&E’s grid, or about 330,000 EVs. As part of the 2030 targets outlined in PG&E’s Climate Strategy Report released earlier this year, the company is preparing the grid to quickly and safely power at least 3 million EVs—or about 12,000 GWh of EV-related electric load. PG&E is also working to enable 2 million of those EVs to participate in vehicle-grid integration applications, allowing EVs to be a cornerstone of both reliability and climate resilience.

How PG&E is Supporting California’s EV Future

To unleash the full potential of EVs for customers, PG&E is accelerating equitable EV adoption by:

  • Continued prioritization of grid readiness and proactively building grid capacity to accommodate new EV demand through a multiyear grid investment plan.
  • Rapidly accelerating EV-enabling technology by partnering to explore and scale low-cost grid and infrastructure solutions, vehicle-grid integration technology, second-life battery programs, autonomous EVs, and other technologies.
  • Partnering with innovators across the entire EV value chain to build the large-scale electric infrastructure needed to incorporate EV charging systems into the grid and enable customers to use their EVs to power their homes and communities.

PG&E is also deploying cost-efficient, targeted customer programs to accelerate equitable EV adoption with the aim to:

  • Increase access to EV infrastructure, by deploying chargers to support all of PG&E’s customers and setting aside budgets in programs for underserved communities.
  • Reduce the total cost of EV ownership for customers through innovative rate structures, like PG&E’s real-time EV rate for business customers.
  • Increase EV customer awareness by partnering with community organizations to understand local education needs and tailoring tools and materials to drive EV adoption.
  • Seamlessly integrate EVs with the grid, enabling vehicle-grid integration, EV market participation, and grid support.

EV Customer Programs and Incentives

PG&E offers a variety of tools and resources to help educate customers regarding EV ownership. Customers are invited to check out PG&E’s EV Savings Calculator, an online resource to browse vehicles, discover incentives, compare rate plans and locate charging stations. PG&E also offers an EV Checklist to help customers get started on the path to EV ownership.

PG&E is preparing to launch additional EV buying and charging programs in the coming months. Current programs available include:

  • PG&E’s EV Fleet Program helps customers with medium- and heavy-duty vehicles in their fleets to install cost-effective charging infrastructure to save money, reduce tailpipe emissions and simplify maintenance.
  • Through its EV Fast Charge Program, PG&E is funding and installing infrastructure at qualifying customer sites to support the expansion of publicly available fast charging stations for light-duty vehicles.
  • PG&E’s EV Charge Schools Pilot is installing level 2 charging stations at school facilities and educational institutions for staff, parents and students to charge their EVs. PG&E helps fund the costs of purchasing and installing the EV charging equipment and networking fees at participating schools, as well as ongoing maintenance and operations. With up to 40% of the new chargers located in disadvantaged communities, the pilot is bringing EV charging options to customers who might not have had them before.
  • The EV Charge Parks Program provides charging infrastructure at State parks and beaches for fleet and public usage in support of California’s electrification goals.

Duke Energy Offers Rebates for EV Charging

Duke Energy ( NYSE: DUK) is helping defray the cost of electrical upgrades for customers in North Carolina who want to install electric vehicle (EV) chargers at their home or business. The company’s Charger Prep Credit program helps cover the cost of EV charging infrastructure by providing a credit for residential or commercial customers in the state who install Level 2 or higher-powered chargers. The one-time credit provided by Duke Energy to cover electrical upgrades for EV charging infrastructure is up to $1,133 per household.

As part of the Charger Prep Credit program, residential and non-residential customers can choose their own contractor to perform the improvements in their home or business to prepare for an EV charger. Residential customers also have the option to use a Duke Energy-approved contractor. Customers who have already had the preparation work completed may also be eligible to receive a credit if the work was completed within the last 120 days of their final invoice or approved permit.

Upgrades covered by the credit include the installation of wiring and other upgrades that support EV charging – such as new electric plug-in outlets for a garage or other electrical wiring improvements – but would exclude the cost of the charging station hardware and software (if needed). Non-residential customers’ credit amounts vary and are based on several factors including charger type, total kW and whether service upgrades are needed.

Blubs.com Expands into EV Charging

 Bulbs.com, the online authority in LED lighting for businesses, announces a distribution agreement with SemaConnect, a Blink Charging Co. ( Nasdaq: BLNK, BLNKW) and a leading manufacturer of electric vehicle chargers for commercial, residential and fleet applications. Bulbs.com sought a partner that could afford them an opportunity to better service their customers and connect them with the right EV products. SemaConnect is that complete EV solutions partner that provides innovative, elegantly designed charging stations, a robust and open network platform, and an unparalleled charging experience for both drivers and station owners.

The addition of the electric vehicle charger category has allowed Bulbs.com to expand its product offering to their vast commercial customer base, as well as the residential customers that come to Bulbs.com for lighting, fire safety products, batteries, air quality equipment and more. The rising demand for electric vehicle charging products from those customers has been reflected over the first two quarters of 2022 – in Q1 EV charger category sales increased by 106% versus Q4 of 2021, and again showed significant growth with an increase of 378% in Q2 versus Q1. The EV charger category brings similar potential to what the company saw with LED lighting several years ago, before LED adoption ramped up and the energy efficient technology gained popularity with the masses. “Our partnership with SemaConnect brings together two companies with an understanding and focus on commercial customers; the Bulbs.com team is excited to move ahead and work with SemaConnect on this generational opportunity,” says Mike Connors, CEO of Bulbs.com.

FreeWire to Provide EV Charging for Chevron

FreeWire Technologies announced a program to make available battery-integrated electric vehicle (EV) charging equipment and solutions for Chevron’s (NYSE: CVX) branded stations. This will include both Chevron’s company-owned stations as well as its independently owned retailer and marketer stations.

“Our charging stations are helping retail locations like Chevron’s branded stations to enhance their offering to consumers,” said Arcady Sosinov, FreeWire Founder and CEO. “Providing ultrafast, convenient charging at traditional fueling stations can help unlock new customer relationships with EV drivers.”

FreeWire’s program will provide an integrated approach by coupling battery-integrated chargers supported by energy management software with custom branding/design and analytics.

“Chevron believes the future of energy is lower carbon, and our program with FreeWire is another step on our journey to deliver all forms of energy to our customers,” said Jesse Love, Chevron’s Retail Brand Experience manager. “We are committed to investing billions in lower-carbon projects over the next 10 years and are excited to join with companies like FreeWire that develop technologies that enhance our retail offerings and can grow our Chevron and Texaco brands.”

FreeWire’s fully integrated Boost ChargerTM will allow customers to get 200 miles of range in 15 minutes. The Boost Charger plugs into existing low-voltage utility service and delivers high-power charging that typically requires extensive site improvements and grid upgrades.

FreeWire continues to disrupt the EV charging market by offering unique solutions to traditional fuelers, including supermajors like bp and Phillips66, who have already tapped the California-based company to help advance their own electric-vehicle-charging plans.

GM May Use OneD’s Silicon Nanotech

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and OneD Battery Sciences announced today the execution of a joint research development agreement focused on the potential use of OneD’s silicon nanotechnology in GM’s Ultium battery cells to drive significant increases in energy density for longer range and reduced cost. GM Ventures and Volta Energy Technologies also participated in OneD’s Series C funding round, which the company recently closed at $25 million.

The focus of the collaboration is OneD’s SINANODE platform, which adds more silicon onto the anode battery cells by fusing silicon nanowires into EV-grade graphite. Silicon can store 10 times more energy than graphite. Increasing energy density can open the door to smaller, lighter, more efficient battery packs that could achieve higher driving range at lower cost.

“GM designed Ultium to be a supremely flexible platform so we can continuously improve our cells as battery technology advances,” said Kent Helfrich, GM chief technology officer, vice president of GM research and development, and president of GM Ventures. “Our collaboration with OneD will focus on efforts to continue advancements in EV range, performance and cost.”

The collaboration on silicon anode technology is believed to be the first of its kind between two American companies. GM is rapidly scaling its Ultium EV Platform to reach 1 million units of annual EV manufacturing capacity in North America by 2025. Earlier this year, GM’s first Ultium Cells joint venture battery plant began production in Ohio, with two additional U.S. plants under construction and a fourth also planned.

At the same time, GM is building on more than a decade of advanced battery research and development with its new Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center in Warren, Michigan, which was completed earlier this year to help significantly ramp up development and production of next-generation Ultium batteries, along with production methods that can quickly be deployed at battery cell manufacturing plants.

Fifteen years of OneD research and development has led to a portfolio of more than 240 granted patents. This enables OneD’s business model to center on licensing the SINANODE technology to industrial partners and scale manufacturing faster and at a lower cost. Given a licensing business model and low operational costs, Series C funds will be used to continue SINANODE research and development, while advancing pilot production and providing OEMs and battery manufacturers a seamless integration into the manufacturing of EV batteries via licensed manufacturing partners.

“From day one, OneD has aimed to simplify silicon as the means to a completely new era of EVs. We believe that the winners of the EV race will be those who can effectively add more silicon to the battery cell, in a way that doesn’t disrupt existing supply chains and processes,” said Vincent Pluvinage, CEO, OneD Battery Sciences. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with General Motors on our shared goal of accelerating mass EV adoption.”

About OneD Battery Sciences

OneD Battery Sciences is the creator of SINANODE, the breakthrough technology that successfully adds more energy-dense silicon into the anodes of EV batteries. The company operates a SINANODE pilot production program to support the development of advanced electrochemical cells and the production scale-up of its industrial partners. In 2013, OneD Battery Sciences acquired Nanosys’ nanowire technologies (SINANODE) and its Palo Alto R&D activities. Today, the Palo Alto-based company has over 240 granted patents and applications in large scale anode production and innovative EV battery designs.