EV, Battery & Charging News: Honda, LG, Ascend Elements, VinFast, Exro, Cenntro, Li-Cycle, SparkCharge, EverCharge & PassKey

In electric vehicle battery and charging news are Honda, LG, Ascend Elements, VinFast, Exro, Cenntro, Li-Cycle, SparkCharge, EverCharge & PassKey.

Honda & LG Battery Plant Started in Ohio

Honda and LG Energy Solution (LGES; KRX: 373220) held the official groundbreaking ceremony for a new joint venture EV battery plant over 2 million square feet in size, to be located in Fayette County, near Jeffersonville, Ohio.

The two companies have committed to invest $3.5 billion in the new joint venture (JV) facility, with their overall investment projected to reach $4.4 billion. The facility is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2024, with plans to create 2,200 jobs, and the aim for approximately 40GWh of annual production capacity. The JV company will deliver lithium-ion batteries with cutting-edge technology to support Honda’s plan to build battery-electric vehicles (EV) in North America.

The ceremony’s attendees included Toshihiro Mibe, president and CEO of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Dong-Myung Kim, president and head of the Advanced Automotive Battery Division of LG Energy Solution, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted, other members of state government and local community officials.

Ascend Elements Partners with Honda

Ascend Elements, a U.S.-based battery recycling and engineered materials company,  announced a basic agreement with Honda Motor Co., Ltd. to collaborate on stable procurement of recycled lithium-ion battery materials for Honda electric vehicles in North America. Use of recycled battery materials in new EV batteries can dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of electric vehicles.

Ascend Elements has recycled used lithium-ion batteries for American Honda Motor Co. since 2021. The new agreement is an important step toward creating a closed-loop supply chain for recycled battery materials – including lithium, nickel, and cobalt – leveraging the efficiencies and environmental benefits of Ascend Elements’ patented Hydro-to-Cathode™ direct precursor synthesis process. Ascend Elements’ commercial products include recycled lithium, nickel, and cobalt, as well as sustainable cathode precursor (pCAM) and cathode active materials (CAM) – all made from used lithium-ion batteries and gigafactory manufacturing scrap.

VinFast Delivers

VinFast announced it  started delivery of VF 8 City Edition vehicles to US customers beginning March 1, 2023. The delivery event will be held at the VinFast’s store in California, marking VinFast’s new journey in the international market.

These initial deliveries are from the first shipment of 999 City Edition vehicles, which were shipped to the US in December 2022. The VF 8 City Edition comes in both Eco and Plus trim with an EPA-rated range of 207 miles and 191 miles respectively.

The VF 8 City Edition customer delivery event will be held on March 1st at the VinFast store in California and, for those customers unable to attend the event, beginning on March 2nd, customers can have their vehicles delivered at home or they may schedule a pickup at a VinFast store. VinFast also announced multiple test drive events throughout California for customers to best experience VinFast’s EVs.

The VF 8 City Edition offers many smart technology features such as Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) and Smart Services to become a mobile platform that connects all aspects of life. These features will be enhanced regularly using over-the-air (FOTA) updates to improve vehicle functionality and customer experience.

Several leading insurance companies in the US have confirmed that they will provide vehicle insurance for VinFast owners. VinFast also offers an impressive 10-year warranty for their vehicles and batteries, as well as mobile repair services, and 24/7 roadside assistance.

Exro Tech MoU with Development Partner

Exro Technologies Inc. (TSX: EXRO) (OTCQB: EXROF) (the “Company” or “Exro“), a leading clean technology company that has developed new generation power control electronics that expand the capabilities of electric motors and batteries, is pleased to announce that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) for strategic partnership (“the partnership”) with an undisclosed development partner (“NDA partner” or “partner”), a multi-national company that is a direct supplier to the global automotive industry. As is customary with such partnerships, following successful proof-of-concept co-development, which in this case consists of demonstrating performance of the partner’s motor with Exro’s standard L040 800V Coil Driver™ inverter product (“Coil Driver™”), the partnership will transition to definitive agreement. The partnership aligns directly with Exro’s targeted go-to-market strategy for its patented Coil Driver technology, partnering with leading global tier-1 automotive suppliers that accelerate and amplify Exro’s market presence.

BIG Soteria Deal with Clemson Univ.

Soteria Battery Innovation Group (BIG) is coordinating with Clemson University and the Soteria BIG Consortium members to set up a Lithium-ion Battery Pack Safety Center of Excellence. Soteria BIG consortium members will collaborate on projects to develop and implement best practices for lithium-ion battery pack safety.

Lithium-ion battery safety is a massive problem. Standard risk-analysis, implemented for lithium-ion batteries, predicts that the safety hazard of a battery scales as the size of the battery squared. This means that an electric vehicle, which has a battery that is 10,000 times the size of cell phone battery, imposes 100 million times the risk, necessitating significant safety design features that are not necessary in a smaller battery. Recognizing that this hazard will not be reduced to an acceptable level with a single innovation or individual company, the Center of Excellence is intended to be a place of active collaboration. Here, companies can come together in an open innovation atmosphere for the common good of the industry.

At the launch of the Center of Excellence, Soteria and its partners will run a project to identify and promote the best practices for e-bike battery packs. In 2022, there were over 200 e-bike battery fires in New York City—doubled from 2021. To kick off the project, interns from the Clemson University Automotive Engineering Department will disassemble dozens of e-bike battery packs, identify the best safety practices and create safety guidelines that can then be published to better serve the industry. This is the start of a series of projects that will be conducted, with published findings and reports to be shared at the project’s end.

The Clemson University Automotive Engineering Department is a stone’s throw from the new Soteria Center of Excellence, providing many opportunities for collaboration with Clemson graduate students to serve as project managers. Soteria and Clemson invite other individuals and companies to bring forth their ideas to help improve battery safety.

Cenntro Starts Producing LS400 EVs

Cenntro Electric Group Limited (NASDAQ: CENN), a leading EV technology company with advanced, market-validated electric commercial vehicles,  announced the start of production of its LS400 and Metro electric commercial trucks at the company’s recently expanded assembly facility in Howell, NJ. Additionally, the company is also announcing the completion of its new assembly facility in Jacksonville, FL.

Li-Cycle Awarded DOE LPO

Li-Cycle Holdings Corp. (NYSE: LICY) (“Li-Cycle” or the “Company”), an industry leader in lithium-ion battery resource recovery and the leading lithium-ion battery recycler in North America, is pleased to announce that Li-Cycle and the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) Loan Programs Office (“LPO”), through its Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (“ATVM”) program, have entered into a conditional commitment for a $375 million loan (the “Loan”).

The conditional commitment follows extensive DOE technical, market, financial and legal due diligence and marks another significant milestone endorsing Li-Cycle’s development of the first commercial hydrometallurgical resource recovery facility in North America, located near Rochester, New York (the “Rochester Hub”). This is the first conditional commitment from the DOE ATVM program for a sustainable pure-play battery materials recycling company and the program’s main support for the lithium-ion battery recycling industry.

The Rochester Hub is expected to become a significant domestic source of battery-grade materials, including lithium, nickel and cobalt, and will be the first-of-its-kind commercial facility in North America. Receiving the conditional commitment is a significant step in the lending process and reflects the DOE’s intent to finance the project; however, the Loan remains subject to documentation of long-form agreements and certain conditions will have to be satisfied prior to closing, which is currently expected to occur in calendar Q2 2023. The Loan will have a term of up to 12 years from financial close, and interest on the Loan will be the 10-year U.S. Treasury Rates from the date of each advance for the Loan.

Bechtel Studies Sicona

Bechtel was awarded a contract by Sicona Battery Technologies to perform an engineering study for a U.S. manufacturing plant that will produce the cutting-edge battery anode components needed for electric vehicles.

“Bechtel will help Sicona deliver a long-lasting positive impact on the electric vehicle revolution,” said Catherine Hunt Ryan, President of Manufacturing & Technology at Bechtel. “Making batteries is a complex process. Bechtel is a trusted partner to deliver capital programs so that our customers can focus on evolving and deploying their technology.”

As part of the new work, Bechtel will assess what is needed to plan the construction of a battery component manufacturing plant – optimizing manufacturing area designs, design requirements, utilities, equipment, materials, and developing a project cost estimate.

SparkCharge Meets New Funding Guidelines

The Biden-Harris Administration recently announced new funding guidelines for building an EV charging network, which includes a predictable and reliable charging experience, a 97% uptime reliability requirement, easy access to chargers and a single method of identification that works across all chargers and support to drivers’ needs well into the future. SparkCharge, the first and only company to create grid-free and mobile EV charging systems, already meets the requirements and can help provide charging access with more flexibility than traditional fixed charging infrastructure.

“We’ve been manufacturing portable DC fast charging solutions in the U.S. since we started the company,” said Josh Aviv, founder and CEO at SparkCharge. “In addition, we’ve designed our mobile EV charging solutions to efficiently scale EV infrastructure and maximize coverage areas with the most efficient capital investment. Our systems and approach to EV charging eliminate the need to install expensive infrastructure before knowing the exact utilization and charging needs in specific locations.”

SparkCharge is focused on making EV ownership more accessible and providing solutions for fleets, retailers and businesses that want to make fast charging available for their customers and the public. The company offers Currently™, its mobile Charging as a Service (CaaS) solution, which is available for fleets and consumers, providing easy access to charging with one click.

Aligning with the newest federal standards, SparkCharge offers:

  • No App Required: SparkCharge’s mobile EV charging systems actively support API connections to enable seamless charging solutions without the need to download a specific mobile app. We also integrate directly with vehicles to create the only seamless automated charging solution for consumers and fleets. In addition, our grid-free solutions are enabled with QR codes and use Apple Pay, Google Pay or a credit card.
  • Reliable and predictable charging experience: The charging solutions are battery-operated, so they’re always available to charge, regardless of power outages or if the grid goes down.
  • Exceeding uptime reliability: The mobile charging service guarantees industry-leading 99.9% uptime through its fleet of field service technicians constantly monitoring the state-of-charge and swapping out portable chargers with fully-charged batteries before they are ever depleted.
  • OCPP and OCPI: The federal government has mandated that any funds being used for NEVI chargers must follow the industry standard set of protocols, Open Charge Point Protocol and Open ChargePoint Interface. Every SparkCharge grid-less charger is DC Fast and is compliant from day one.
  • Charging accessibility and service with one click: The DoorDash of EV charging at your fingertips, the Currently™ app allows users to charge whenever and wherever they are for fast, convenient and reliable charging in one app.

“Up to 30% of stationary chargers can be unreliable,” said Aviv. “Currently takes the guesswork out of whether or not the user will be able to charge their vehicle – instead, they can have the ultrafast charge brought directly to them. What’s more convenient than that?”

SparkCharge’s mobile CaaS for fleets is currently available in Los Angeles, Calif.San FranciscoOakland, Calif; Calif.; San Jose, Calif.Dallas, TexasAustin, TexasBoston, Mass. It will launch in additional cities in 2023.

EverCharge & PassKey Dev BESS

-EverCharge and PassKey, subsidiaries of SK Group, the South Korean conglomerate, are partnering to develop a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) to supplement EverCharge’s electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

EverCharge’s American-made EV charging stations, and patented load balancing software, SmartPower, enable large-scale EV charging by managing and controlling electric loads, analyzing the charging patterns of EVs, and intelligently allocating available power based on the individual vehicle’s need. The new BESS developed by Passkey and EverCharge will be used to consolidate power during off-peak hours and deploy the energy via EV charging stations during periods of high demand. By combining EV charging with battery storage to mitigate demand peaks, sites can benefit from lower operating costs and additional energy resiliency.