EV, Battery & Charging News: Mullen, Nikola, VinFast, Flux Power, Lightining eMotors & Pre-Switch

In electric vehicle, battery and charging news are Mullen, Nikola, VinFast, Flux Power, Lightining eMotors and Pre-Switch.

Lightining eMotors & Macnab

Lightning eMotors (NYSE: ZEV), a leading provider of zero-emission, medium-duty commercial vehicles and electric vehicle (EV) technology for fleets,  announced it has signed a contract with Macnab EV Sales Corp. to deliver 126 vehicles to the leading Canadian commercial vehicle distributor by the end of 2023.

Mullen Sells $15.75 Million Class 3 Cab EV Trucks

 Mullen Automotive, Inc. (NASDAQ: MULN) (“Mullen” or the “Company”), an emerging electric vehicle (“EV”) manufacturer, announces the signing of a vehicle purchase agreement with MGT Lease Company (“MGT”), a national fleet leasing provider, to purchase 250 all-electric commercial class 3 cab chassis EV trucks. The contract is valued at $15,755,000. The vehicles are slated for delivery beginning in August 2023, with complete fulfillment of the purchase agreement occurring by December 2023. The vehicle orders will be fulfilled through Randy Marion Automotive Group, a distributor of Mullen’s commercial EVs.

MGT is a growing commercial vehicle sales and leasing company based in North Carolina, with annual revenue of over $70 million in 2022 and $100 million projected for 2023. MGT’s primary customer base focuses on last mile segments, such as package delivery and retail, and vocations such as plumbing and electrical. MGT currently provides commercial vehicle sales and leasing across all major OEM brands, with focus on class 1-4 commercial vehicles.

MGT will purchase Mullen’s all-electric Class 3 EV cab chassis truck, the Mullen THREE, for its short- and long-term fleet leasing portfolio focused on small, medium and enterprise businesses.

MGT is a Mullen Automotive repeat customer, initially purchasing EV cargo vans from Mullen in March 2023 and now expanding into the larger class 3 cab chassis EV trucks with an initial order of 250 units, demonstrating the demand for this premium commercial truck. MGT’s order follows Randy Marion’s initial order for 1,000 units placed in early May 2023.

“We are very happy with the Mullen EV cargo van and have received great customer feedback and are now looking forward to expanding into Mullen’s commercial class 3 truck,” said Greg Striker, partner at MGT Lease Co.

“Momentum continues following last week’s pricing announcement for our Class 3 all-electric cab chassis truck. We are excited to begin delivering trucks to MGT Leasing this summer as they continue to scale up their business,” said John Schwegman, chief commercial officer, Mullen Automotive.

“Our agreement with MGT enables them to offer their fleet customers a competitive commercial EV vehicle offering, including both our EV cargo van and now the larger Class 3 EV truck,” said David Michery, CEO and chairman of Mullen Automotive.

Nikola for NA & Iveco for Europe

Iveco Group N.V. (MI: IVG) and Nikola Corporation (NASDAQ: NKLA) announce  that they are excited to enter a new phase of their partnership, which started in 2019 and has so far met all milestones to leverage the respective expertise to deploy zero-emission heavy-duty (Class 8) trucks in North America and Europe. The two companies worked jointly at a steady pace, despite Covid-19 and supply chain challenges, to achieve the outcomes of the previous phase, launching Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) for regional and long haulage.

Each company is now eager to sharpen its own focus on heavy-duty transport. Iveco Group will concentrate on Europe for the further development and commercialisation of its own battery electric and fuel cell electric trucks, which includes rolling out its financing business model GATE, and Nikola will focus its operations in North America, with an integrated approach to its customers, offering BEV, FCEV and hydrogen infrastructure via its HYLA brand.

Iveco Group will assume full ownership of the joint venture in Ulm, Germany. Also, Iveco Group will be licensed to freely access and continue developing vehicle control software for the jointly developed BEV and FCEV. Nikola will be granted the IVECO S-Way technology license for North America and related component supply from Iveco Group, and will gain joint ownership of the intellectual property of Generation 1 eAxles, technology developed together with Iveco Group’s powertrain brand, FPT Industrial.

Iveco Group will cover the capital outlay related to this new phase of collaboration through its available liquidity, acquiring the above-named items partially in cash (USD 35 million) and partially in Nikola shares (20 million of shares). Despite the negative cash impact generated, Iveco Group forecasts to absorb it with cash flow generation and therefore this does not change its cash flow target for 2023; it will also retain a meaningful amount of Nikola shares. Iveco Group and Nikola will continue to work towards the same ultimate goal: to lead the energy transition to the future of mobility.

The above-mentioned provisions are subject to all applicable regulatory approvals and preparation of definitive agreements to more fully implement the terms of the binding terms sheet between the companies.

VinFast SPAC for US Listing

VinFast Auto Pte. Ltd. (“VinFast” or “the Company”), and Black Spade Acquisition Co (NYSE: BSAQ) (“Black Spade”) announced today that they have entered into a business combination agreement. After the transaction, VinFast will have an equity value of over US$23 billion and be listed in the U.S.

The business combination values VinFast at an enterprise value of approximately US$27 billion and an equity value of US$23 billion, not including cash from BSAQ’s approximately US$169 million of cash in trust (assuming no Black Spade shareholders elect to have their Black Spade shares redeemed for cash as permitted).

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2023, subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals, and other customary closing conditions. After the transaction, existing shareholders of VinFast will hold approximately 99% shares of the combined company.

VinFast, a member of Vingroup, was founded in 2017 and envisioned to drive the movement of global smart electric vehicle revolution. VinFast manufacturers and exports a full portfolio of e-SUVs, e-scooters and e-buses across Vietnam, North America, and, soon, Europe. The Company operates a state-of-the-art automotive manufacturing complex in Hai Phong that boasts up to 90% manufacturing automation and annual production capacity (i.e. maximum number of vehicles that can be constantly manufactured in a year with additional shifts per day throughout the year) of up to 300,000 units in phase 1.

VinFast is committed to its mission of creating a sustainable future for everyone. The Company converted into a fully EV manufacturer in 2022, and has delivered four EV models: VF e34, VF 8, VF 9 and VF 5 to customers in Vietnam to date. VinFast recently crossed an important milestone on the journey to becoming a recognized global EV brand with the first VF 8 EVs exported to North America earlier this year.

Black Spade, listed on the NYSE, was founded by Black Spade Capital, which runs a global portfolio consisting of a wide spectrum of cross-border investments, and consistently seeks to add new investment projects and opportunities to its portfolio.

Additional information about the proposed transaction, including a copy of the business combination agreement, is available in Black Spade’s Current Report on Form 8-K, filed on May 12, 2023 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) at www.sec.gov, and will be available on the VinFast investor relations page at www.vinfastauto.com.

Flux Power UL Cert

Flux Power Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLUX), a developer of advanced lithium-ion energy storage solutions for electrification of commercial and industrial equipment, announced it has completed UL Solutions compliance testing to obtain third-party, science-backed certification for its next-generation clean energy battery technology. The new Flux Power G2 Series platform introduces a line of heavy-duty battery packs with safe, stable lithium iron phosphate chemistry.

“As we expand relationships with large fleets, the UL Solutions compliance investigation and subsequent UL Listed designation demonstrates our market leadership and commitment to developing the highest quality lithium-ion battery packs on the market for our Fortune 500 customers,” said CEO Ron Dutt. “Safety and durability will always be our highest priorities, and the UL Solutions Listed label underscores our company values and due diligence to ensure that all products undergo independent third-party testing and validation for safety, performance, and stability.”

The newly designed product portfolio includes new Flux Power models for order pickers, 36-volt narrow aisle trucks, and a broad range of GSE vehicles with heavy-duty battery packs optimized to deliver peak performance. Modular components can be configured to accommodate voltage and capacity requirements ranging from 24 to 80-volt, and from 210 to 840-amp hours (Ah). Active cooling and heating for demanding applications in warm or cold environments are new features to address a wider range of indoor and outdoor applications and protection from extreme temperature environments, overcharge/discharge, high current, and drive-away protection. In addition, IP (Ingress Protection) ratings as high as IP66 are now available to avoid water intrusion.

Following a cadence of successful test cycles for previous generations of Flux Power clean energy battery packs, UL Solutions has now authorized in-house compliance testing at the company’s manufacturing facility in Vista, Calif, with periodic onsite and virtual inspections from the UL Solutions team. UL Solutions closely monitors the test schedule and provides oversight at designated intervals throughout the approval process.

Pre-Switch AI Soft-Switching

-Pre-Switch®, Inc., the company that has developed the world’s first AI-based forced-resonant, soft-switching technology enabling ultra-efficient DC/AC, AC/DC inverters running at 100kHz and above, has added the ability to reprogram its Pre-Flex™ soft-switching motor/inverter SoC, enabling products in development or in the field to be updated to give even higher performance. At the same time, the company has announced that the Pre-Flex ICs also now include an embedded digital oscilloscope, enabling designers to diagnose exactly what is occurring remotely, and then make adjustments in-situ. The Pre-Flex ICs contain all the AI algorithms necessary for soft switching across all operating voltages, load conditions and temperatures. Adaptations are made on a cycle-by-cycle basis to minimize losses and maximize efficiency.

Pre-Switch is targeting EVs and other e-mobility applications needing very high inverter efficiency levels delivered across a wide load range by the Pre-Switch technology – 99.57% (peak); 98.5% (5% load) – both measured at 100kHz switching frequency. The result is an increased EV range of 5-12%. Bruce Renouard, Pre-Switch CEO comments: “We are continually developing the AI and infrastructure that enables us to deploy true soft-switching and hence achieve such outstanding efficiency performance. By incorporating a remote boot code on the chip, we can update the AI at any point in the EV or other product’s lifetime, ensuring that performance is always optimal.”

The Pre-Switch Pre-Flex IC’s embedded digital oscilloscope, Deep View™ gives users 12 channels and 160 MSPS the ability to analyze the timings of the switching. Traces can be recorded and exported out to see how the system is performing. If there are any issues, Deep View enables developers and even remote program managers at Pre-Switch to understand why, so that actions can be taken. In the future, preventative maintenance programs may be able to be implemented, using the feedback from Deep View.

Renouard adds: “Although the idea of soft-switching is not new, until Pre-Switch, no-one had previously been able to implement it in an inverter with continuously varying input and output conditions. Pre-Switch eliminates switching losses and thereby reduces the amount of SiC or IGBTs needed for high efficiency. This substantially improves low load efficiency and runs at 5-10X higher switching frequencies which improves motor efficiency and reduces DC link capacitor size and cost. To enable engineers to utilize Pre-Flex AI technology, Pre-Switch developed the CleanWave™ inverter reference system, the PDS-2 development system with Deep View and the remote programming, Pre-Tune dynamometer motor control tuner, a resonant tank design tool and training courses. The result is our technology is actively being assessed and design into EVs wanting increased range and lower costs today.”