EV, Battery & Charging News: FordPro, Audi Q6, Nikola, itselectric, Nova Bus & SparkCharge

I n electric vehicle, battery and charging news are FordPro, Audi Q6, Nikola, itselectric, Nova Bus and SparkCharge.

FordPro Intros Program for Incentives

Ford Pro is expanding its one-stop shop for commercial customers with the announcement of a new program designed to help fleets understand Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) electric vehicle tax credits. Ford’s commercial division is working with professional services firm Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) to help provide customers with information on potentially valuable tax credits and incentives designed to make electric vehicle adoption more affordable.

Under the IRA, commercial customers may qualify for potential electric vehicle tax credits of up to $7,500 per EV purchased. Ford vehicles that may qualify for IRA tax credits include the 2023 E-Transit van and 2023 F-150® Lightning pickup, as well as the 2023 Mustang® Mach-E® SUV and 2023 Escape® plug-in hybrid. Businesses that purchase and install Ford Pro Charging equipment may also qualify for IRA tax credits.

“Businesses tell us they want to better understand incentives to adopt EVs, including charging, especially as it pertains to the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act,” said Ted Cannis, Ford Pro CEO. “This is another way we’re expanding Ford Pro’s one-stop services to help commercial customers simplify and potentially lower the total cost of owning and operating their fleets.”

The complimentary service is open to all Ford commercial customers who have been assigned a Ford Fleet Identification Number (FIN). Customers who qualify for a FIN include those with fleets of 15 vehicles or more, or customers who are currently purchasing five vehicles.

This information is available at no cost to eligible Ford Pro commercial customers and includes a one-time, 30-minute session. Helping provide clarity on IRA tax incentives is one more way Ford Pro is serving commercial customers – alongside vehicles, software, services, charging and financing solutions. To learn more about the potential benefits of the IRA and schedule an appointment, please visit fordpro.com.

1 Based on S&P Global Mobility CY1985-2022 US TIPNet Registrations excluding registration to individuals. TIP Registrations prior to 2010 do not include all GVW 1 and 2 vehicles.

2 Based on 2022 CY Motor Intelligence Data.

Audi Q6 e-tron Close to Production

The close-to-production Audi Q6 e-tron is just the beginning of the largest model offensive in the history of the brand with the four rings. Audi will introduce more than 20 new models by 2025 – more than ten of which will be electric. The future Q6 e-tron model series marks the inauguration of e-mobility at the Ingolstadt headquarters. An in-house battery assembly facility underpins Audi’s commitment to electric mobility.

Curves and corners in the cold: Audi is currently putting the production-oriented Q6 e-tron prototype through its paces in the far north of Europe under strict safety regulations. The future model series is the first to be built on the new Premium Platform Electric (PPE) technology platform. With its 800-volt electrical system, powerful and efficient electric motors, an innovative battery and charging management system, and a newly developed electronics architecture, the production-oriented Q6 e-tron prototype marks the next major step in the electrification and digitalization of Audi’s model range.

The upcoming Q6 e-tron model series, which comes in SUV and Sportback body variants, represents sustainable production, the upskilling of the workforce at the Ingolstadt site, and the electric future of the company. Audi is transforming at an increasing pace into a leading provider of connected, fully electric premium mobility. And it is doing so on strong economic foundations: The Audi Group closed the 2022 fiscal year with record results.

“Our Vorsprung 2030 strategy provides the right answers, even in times of multiple crises,” says Markus Duesmann, CEO of AUDI AG. “We are completely focused on sustainability and systematically advancing the digitalization and electrification of our products.”

FirstElement Fuel, the world’s leading provider of hydrogen fueling solutions, and Hyundai Motor Company, a leader in Class 8 Fuel Cell Electric Truck development, have partnered to fuel and test Hyundai Motor’s XCIENT Fuel Cell Heavy Duty trucks in California. Through this partnership, FirstElement Fuel is leveraging its True Zero network of hydrogen refueling stations to fuel three XCIENT Fuel Cell prototypes at full 700 bar pressure. In addition, FirstElement Fuel is deploying its first-of-its-kind high capacity mobile refueler, which was developed in a collaboration between FirstElement Fuel, Taylor-Wharton, and Nikkiso. The mobile refueler, which is capable of high-capacity fueling at 125 kilograms per hour, is being used to support pilot programs for several other Heavy Duty FCEV OEMs as well.

Nikola Battery Manufacturing in Arizona

Nikola Corporation (Nasdaq: NKLA), a global leader in zero emission transportation and energy supply and infrastructure solutions, via the HYLA brand, today announced that the move to transition battery manufacturing from Cypress, Calif. to its Coolidge, Ariz. manufacturing facility is expected to be complete by April 2023, months ahead of the original schedule.

The ability to expedite this process further supports Nikola’s ongoing commitment to implement cost-saving measures by bringing the Nikola truck assembly, fuel cell power module assembly, and battery module and pack production under one roof. This includes battery line automation geared toward improving quality and increasing efficiencies.

“Over the past several months, the Nikola team has been working to ensure the battery production transition plan was seamless and on schedule,” said Michael Lohscheller, Nikola Corporation President and CEO. “We are pleased with the speed in which the plan has occurred and are grateful for the Cypress team’s contribution.”

A battery engineering presence is expected to remain in California at a separate facility to focus on the development of Nikola’s next generation battery management system software and modules.

Nikola completed the acquisition of Romeo Power on October 14, 2022 and announced the plan to transition the battery manufacturing to Coolidge, Ariz. on January 13, 2023./;/

itselectric Awarded Innovation from SXSW

itselectric, a Brooklyn-based electric vehicle curbside charging company,  announced that its “Power From the People” city charging initiative, was awarded the Innovation Award for Urban Infrastructure at the 24th annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Innovation Awards ceremony on March 13, 2023. Every year, these awards recognize the most exciting creative developments in the connected world.

“We are beyond excited to be named a winner in the 2023 SXSW Innovation Awards to bring awareness to our curbside charging solution specifically built for cities,” said Nathan King, CEO and co-founder of itselectric. “The U.S. is on the cusp of a major transition into electric vehicles, but solutions need to be in place in order for this transition to be successful. This recognition solidifies our conviction that urban charging networks are the key to unlocking a fully electric future.”

itselectric provides urban networks of Level 2 curbside charging posts at no cost to cities or to property owners and is the first EV charger designed and manufactured in North America to feature a detachable cord provided to every driver. itselectric is also the only charging network that offers revenue sharing for residential property owners. Once a property is deemed eligible, itselectric installs and maintains a low-profile charger, and property owners earn passive income. With this business model, itselectric helps cities meet their carbon reduction targets and reduce capital expenditure by completely avoiding the infrastructure upgrades normally needed to support on-street charging.

On March 7, 2023, itselectric announced the close of its $2.2M pre-seed round led by Brooklyn Bridge Ventures. The funds will be used to deploy pilot programs in major cities across the U.S. in 2023.

Nova Bus Awarded Contract for LFSe+ Electric Buses

Nova Bus, a member of the Volvo Group and a leading North American transit bus manufacturer, is proud to announce it has been awarded a contract for five LFSe+, the 40′ long-range battery electric bus model of Nova Bus, by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro). These five LFSe+ buses will be assembled at the Nova Bus facility in Plattsburgh, New York State and will be part of Metro’s Battery-Electric Bus Test and Evaluation program.

This electric bus pilot program is a key milestone towards achieving Metro’s zero-emission bus goals that include phased conversion of its fleet of over 1,500 buses to a 100% zero-emission bus fleet by 2045, with an interim goal of all new buses entering service being zero-emission by 2030. The five Nova Bus LFSe+ buses will allow Metro to collect data and build knowledge on electric bus operations to inform scaling of its transition plan.

With an electric drive motor coupled with BAE Systems’ next-generation power electronics focused on efficiency, the Nova Bus LFSe+ long-range electric bus provides reduced maintenance costs and improves air quality by eliminating all emission of pollutants and greenhouse gases. The LFSe+ is the perfect pairing of Nova Bus’ proven expertise with the latest innovations in clean and sustainable technologies, making it a first-choice solution for the transition to sustainable public transport.

“Every such order for the Nova Bus LFSE+ is a major strategic win, demonstrating the performance and quality of this innovative vehicle in yet another major metro region,” said Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce. “It is especially welcome that these buses, crafted by our great workforce in Plattsburgh, New York, will be seen on the streets of our nation’s capital. It’s another step into a bright future for our region’s transportation equipment makers. Congratulations to everyone at Nova Bus and to Metro for a great decision. Onward and upward!”

“We are absolutely thrilled that Metro will be integrating the Nova Bus LFSe+ into its electric bus pilot program,” said Ralph Acs, President of Nova Bus. “We are also happy that these buses will be operating in federal Opportunity Zones, as low-income communities are the ones that will benefit the most from this transition to clean, quiet, and reliable electric buses. We are excited for Metro to experience the LFSe+ and to work with the team to support the agency’s successful transition to a zero-emission bus fleet.”

SparkCharge CaaS SpakCharge Fleet

SparkCharge, the first company to create a mobile EV charging system and network, announced its new Charging as a Service (CaaS) option, SparkCharge Fleet, is now available nationwide to offer immediate charging access for businesses utilizing electric vehicles.

“SparkCharge Fleet is a solution that takes the guess work out of charging infrastructure and makes managing all aspects of EV fleet charging effortless,” said Josh Aviv, founder and CEO of SparkCharge. “Fleet customers can have their vehicles charged without the need for expensive infrastructure that takes two to five years to install. With transformer and chip shortages, SparkCharge Fleet provides an immediate solution to charging needs.”

SparkCharge has created a cost-effective charging service by bundling CapEx, OpEx and energy costs into a fixed rate, enabling fleet operators to forecast and manage costs long-term.

Fleet operators can take advantage of SparkCharge’s Charge Management System, one easy-to-use platform to schedule charges, view the state of charges and access data insights, providing a bird’s eye view of their operations. Once a request is made using the Charge Management System, SparkCharge delivery technicians arrive in their all-electric delivery vehicles and charge the vehicles, providing a turnkey EV charging solution without any loss of space, installation costs, grid updates or construction.

SparkCharge’s fleet charging service is an end-to-end solution that has also helped companies completely replace fixed infrastructure. With an update due out later this year, SparkCharge will be expanding its hybrid charging station system for fleets. The hybrid charging station, which was unveiled last year during SparkDay, allows customers to deploy a fixed battery powered and grid-free DC fast charging station. This charging solution requires no trenching, digging, cabling or construction meaning it can be deployed almost instantly.

“Traditional stationary chargers are not reliable as they only provide up-times of 50% – 60% compared to SparkCharge’s 99.9%,” Aviv added. “We are not tied to the grid and can reliably ensure we can deliver charging to customers wherever and whenever they need it, nationwide.”

SparkCharge Fleet can be up and running in as little as two weeks in any city within the United States. Businesses looking to use SparkCharge Fleet can visit the SparkCharge website to complete their requests. Once SparkCharge Fleet becomes available in a new city, consumers will eventually have access to CaaS as well, which is available through SparkCharge’s mobile app, Currently.

SparkCharge also offers Out of Charge (OOC), a commercial electric vehicle charging service that allows fleet operators to request on-demand EV charging when a vehicle is low or out of range. With OOC, SparkCharge technicians deliver between 25-50 miles of range so the vehicle can make it to its destination, saving the fleet operator and drive the hassle, time and cost of calling a flatbed tow truck.