EV Battery & Charging News: Polaris,GM, Samsung SDI, Hyundai, SK, PowerFlex, Blink, Zeeba FMC, Ford Pro, Nikola & UL Solutions

In electric vehicle, charging and battery news are Polaris,GM, Samsung SDI, Hyundai, SK, PowerFlex, Blink, Zeeba FMC, Ford Pro, Nikola and UL Solutions.

Polaris Ships RANGER XP Kinetic Off-Roaders

Polaris Inc. (NYSE: PII), the global leader in powersports and off-road innovation, announced the first shipments of its all-new electric RANGER XP Kinetic vehicles are headed to dealers this week for customer pickup. Polaris manufactures its fully electric RANGER XP Kinetic off-road vehicles at the Company’s more than 900,000-square-foot manufacturing facility located in Huntsville, Alabama. Polaris plans to take additional orders on the RANGER XP Kinetic this summer.

GM & Samsung SDI Invests $3 Billion New Ultium Battery Plant

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and Samsung SDI announced they plan to invest more than $3 billion to build a new battery cell manufacturing plant in the United States that is targeted to begin operations in 2026.

“GM’s supply chain strategy for EVs is focused on scalability, resiliency, sustainability and cost-competitiveness. Our new relationship with Samsung SDI will help us achieve all these objectives,” said GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra. “The cells we will build together will help us scale our EV capacity in North America well beyond 1 million units annually.”

“It is a great pleasure to take the very first step to create a long-term industry-leading partnership with GM in the U.S. EV market,” remarked Samsung SDI President and CEO Yoon-ho Choi. “We will do our best to provide the products featuring the highest levels of safety and quality produced with our unrivalled technologies to help GM strengthen its leadership in the EV market.”

The plant will have more than 30 GWh of capacity and will bring GM’s total U.S. battery cell capacity to about 160 GWh when it is at full production.

The companies plan to jointly operate the facility, and it is projected to have production lines to build nickel-rich prismatic and cylindrical cells.

According to Doug Parks, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, the new joint venture with Samsung SDI will leverage the capital and technology of both companies to create new competitive advantages for GM.

“We will continue to scale production and optimize the chemistry of our pouch cells for performance, range and cost using new approaches pioneered at GM’s Wallace Battery Center and by our technology partners,” he said. “The introduction of new cell form factors will allow us to expand into even more segments more quickly and integrate cells directly into battery packs to reduce weight, complexity and costs. With multiple strong cell partners, we can scale our EV business faster than we could going it alone.”

The Ultium Platform was strategically designed to accept multiple cell form factors and chemistries. For example, in China, the Cadillac LYRIQ is powered by prismatic cells applied to the same battery packs used in the U.S.

GM and Samsung SDI are not announcing the location of the plant or employment projections at this time, however, the number of new jobs in construction and operations are expected to number in the thousands.  As customer demand for EVs rises, GM will continue to scale its supply chain and operations, including cell production and vehicle assembly.

Hyundai & SK Partner for Cell Production in US

Hyundai Motor Group (the Group) announced its plans to set up an electric vehicle (EV) battery cell production joint venture in the US with partner SK On.

The Group affiliates Hyundai Motor Company, Kia Corporation and Hyundai Mobis each approved the plan at their respective board meetings today. In November 2022, the Group signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with SK On to secure EV battery supply for North America.

The total investment amount for the joint venture is expected to be approximately USD 5 billion, with the Group and SK On each holding a 50 percent stake.

Through the joint venture, both parties plan to establish an EV battery cell plant in Bartow County, Georgia, close to the Group’s U.S. production facilities, including Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Kia Georgia and Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America.

The new plant is expected to start manufacturing battery cells in the second half of 2025 with an annual production capacity of 35 GWh, which is sufficient to support the production of 300,000 EVs. Hyundai Mobis will assemble battery packs using cells from the plant, then supply them to the Group’s U.S. manufacturing facilities for production of Hyundai, Kia and Genesis EV models.

The joint venture further accelerates the Group’s electrification efforts and bolsters its position as an EV leader in the U.S. market with a stable battery supply to support the production of highly competitive EV models.

SK On has been a strategic partner for the Group and both have been working together on the production of globally renowned EV models, such as Hyundai IONIQ 5, Kia EV6 and Genesis GV60.

PowerFlex Embeds Sidero Omni

PowerFlex, a leader in intelligent renewable energy technologies, has embedded Sidero Omni to increase reliability and security in their EV chargers. As one of Omni’s early adopters, PowerFlex selected Sidero Labs for Omni’s ability to easily scale across many EV charging locations within minutes.

To ensure the highest security and reliability for customers, PowerFlex required a supported operating system for Kubernetes that ensured the stability of edge nodes at remote locations. PowerFlex is now rolling out Talos Linux nodes, managed by Sidero Omni, to hundreds of existing EV charging locations, with more sites being added due to rapid growth. The Sidero Omni solution also provides improved onsite computing power that is used by PowerFlex X, the unified platform to optimize metering and rating, which maximizes the number of vehicles that can be charged across the network of chargers. With Sidero Omni, PowerFlex edge deployments are consistent, using the same Kubernetes distribution and operating system in all locations across the country.

“Omni provides an easy-to-use, intuitive interface to manage large numbers of edge clusters in a way that most alternatives struggle with, and it does so with more security than other solutions,” said Max Baldwin, Site Reliability Engineer, PowerFlex. “Sidero Labs has been an excellent partner, helping us resolve issues in a timely manner and offering appropriately detailed explanations on how things work and why. Sidero’s knowledge in this area has been invaluable as we’ve rapidly developed and deployed a replacement for k3os and legacy non-containerized solutions to new and existing sites.”

“We’re excited to work with PowerFlex to deploy its onsite energy solutions and help exceed their reliability targets by simplifying the deployment of Kubernetes at the edge with Omni,” said Steve Francis, CEO of Sidero Labs. “PowerFlex’s EV chargers are a great example of innovative use cases that are enabled by Omni, allowing Kubernetes to be deployed and managed in remote locations without IT staff present.”

PowerFlex’s offerings include EV charging, solar energy, and battery storage solutions, along with its proprietary line of software and hardware, PowerFlex X, that co-optimizes onsite clean technology for peak system performance and maximized cost savings. The company’s EV charging solution includes Adaptive Load Management® (ALM), a patented software algorithm that optimizes the power consumption across a large network of charging stations, to enable customers to install up to four times the number of stations versus standard installations. With intelligent EV charging through ALM, customers can reduce the cost of electrical system upgrades and peak demand charges by up to 60%.

Blink Buys Envoy Tech

Blink Charging’s (Nasdaq: BLNK) wholly-owned subsidiary, Blink Mobility, LLC, a growing all-electric car-sharing service, announced the acquisition of Envoy Technologies, Inc., a software and mobility service company offering shared electric vehicles as amenity for national real estate developers and owners. Blink Mobility’s acquisition of Envoy, combined with its existing EV car-sharing service, and with the recently awarded $7.5 million to develop an electric car-sharing programs in New Jersey, will create one of the largest all-electric car-sharing companies in the United States leveraging one of the most robust platforms in the industry.

Blink Charging’s Board of Directors has authorized its management to start planning for the spin-off of Blink Mobility. Blink Charging plans to distribute a majority of its shares of Blink Mobility as a pro rata dividend to its existing shareholders at a future date. The terms and timing for this transaction have not been determined, and there is no guarantee that it will occur.

Zeeba FMC Supports Ford Pro

Zeeba® Automotive Group, Inc., a customer-centric fleet management company (FMC) announces it will expand fleet management electrification support to customers leveraging Fords’ vehicles and Ford Pro charging solutions.

The agreement includes the purchase of Ford Pro™ AC Charging Stations that will charge any vehicle make and model in Zeeba’s fleet. The charging stations will be equipped with a software subscription that supports over-the-air (OTA) software updates for continuous improvement to help optimize Zeeba’s charging operations. They are planned to be installed in various locations around the Southern California region. Additionally, the company will add nearly 250 Ford electric vehicles including Mach-E SUVs, E-Transit vans, and F-150 Lightning pickup trucks.

“Our fleet electrification goal is to transition 50 percent of our fleet to electric vehicles by 2024. Ford Pro’s vehicles, charging solutions and software will help us reach our goal,” said Kayvon Marashi, Chief Executive Officer at Zeeba. “The charging component to fleet electrification is critical and we’re thrilled to work with Ford Pro to implement the charging infrastructure needed to meet our customers’ electric needs.”

Electric vehicles provide a multitude of benefits to Zeeba’s last-mile service providers. These benefits offer an abundance of cargo and passenger space, as well as capabilities per vehicle. Increasing the number of deliverable units reduces tailpipe emissions providing fleet owners with significant operating savings compared to gasoline and diesel alternatives.

“We look forward to working with Zeeba to help them meet their fleet electrification goals,” said Philip Podgorny, Ford Pro, General Manager, Commercial and Government Sales. “Zeeba’s foresight to implement charging infrastructure and software will help them stay ahead of the curve to meet their customers’ long-term needs.”

“Our customers are beginning to transition to an electric fleet where they see long-term value to their businesses. We are very excited about working with Ford Pro by offering customers a variety of electric vehicles and match their changing demands and critical business needs,” said Mike Paletz, Chief Strategy Officer at Zeeba.

Tom’s Truck Center Adds Class 8 Nikola Tre BEV & FCEV

Southern California-based Tom’s Truck Center, an industry leader in commercial truck sales and service, has added the Class 8 Nikola Tre battery-electric vehicle (BEV) to its electric commercial truck lineup. Nikola’s zero-emissions trucks are now available for sale at Tom’s Truck Center’s two dealerships (along Interstate 5 in Santa Ana, Calif. and Santa Fe Springs, Calif.), and the Nikola Tre hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) is expected to be available by the end of the year.

The Nikola Tre BEV is expected to travel up to 330 miles on a charge and the Nikola Tre FCEV is expected to travel up to 500 miles on a tank of hydrogen.

Nikola Corporation (NASDAQ: NKLA), is a global leader in zero-emissions transportation and energy supply and infrastructure solutions, via the HYLA brand. Nikola’s integrated energy and zero-emissions truck portfolio will be underpinned by developing hydrogen supply and refueling infrastructure, an essential step in helping to decarbonize the heavy-duty transport sector and has previously announced four stations located in the cities of Ontario, Colton, West Sacramento, and a parcel servicing the Port of Long Beach.

In addition to Nikola zero-emission trucks, Tom’s Truck Center currently offers GreenPower EV cargo vans, Ford EV Transit cargo vans, and REE EV Platforms. Next year, Tom’s will add Hino EV and Isuzu EV trucks. Tom’s Truck Center also provides two convenient places for recharging, with “fast chargers” available at the two Tom’s Truck Center dealerships.

“We are dedicated to supporting the transition to zero-emission vehicles in the commercial truck space and adding Nikola Tre BEVs, and soon Nikola Tre FCEVs, is the perfect addition,” said Tom’s Truck Center President and CEO KC Heidler. “Converting vehicles of this size to electric will be a game changer in reducing overall emissions. We have already seen robust sales of the new Nikola trucks; we completed our first 14 BEV sales last month, which are expected to take delivery in May, and are on track for even more in the coming months.”

Thanks to the California Air Resources Board, there are cost-saving incentives available to accelerate the commercial vehicle transition to zero-emission technologies. California is leading the way with California’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) which provides point-of-sale vouchers to make vehicles more affordable. For example, with a BEV voucher valued between $120,000 and $186,000, a customer can pay approximately the same purchase price as a diesel truck yet have the benefits of electric. Tom’s Truck Center team members work closely with HVIP and other incentive partners and are well-versed in the EV commercial marketplace and charging infrastructure options to assist customers.

UL Solutions  & Korea Testing Certification Institute Partner

UL Solutions, a global leader in applied safety science, and the Korea Testing Certification Institute (KTC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Washington, DC to collaborate on the safety and performance evaluation and global market access of electric vehicle (EV) chargers. The relationship sets the stage to help Korean manufacturers meet the growing demand for EV chargers as EV adoption rises in the U.S.

With this agreement, UL Solutions and KTC can assist Korean electric charger manufacturers in obtaining ENERGY STAR® certification. KTC has been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to test for the ENERGY STAR® program. A joint program of the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), ENERGY STAR® identifies top-performing, cost-effective products, homes and buildings, and helps consumers, businesses and industry save money and protect the environment through the adoption of energy-efficient products and practices. The MoU between UL Solutions and KTC supports Korean EV charger manufacturers in obtaining ENERGY STAR® certification without sending samples overseas, resulting in time and cost savings.

In addition, UL Solutions and KTC have pledged to collaborate on EV battery safety and performance evaluation to help Korean manufacturers develop and export EV battery products.