EV, Battery & Charging News: Nikola, Volvo, CALSTART, Marelli, NextStar, Stellantis & LG

In electric vehicle, battery and charging news are Nikola, Volvo, CALSTART, Marelli, NextStar, Stellantis and LG.

Nikola & CTC Sponsors TCEP for Hydrogen Fueling Stations

Nikola Corporation (Nasdaq: NKLA), a global leader in zero-emissions transportation, and energy supply and infrastructure solutions, via the HYLA brand, announced that the California Transportation Commission (CTC) has awarded Nikola and sponsor California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), a $41.9 million grant under the Trade Corridor Enhancement Program (TCEP) to build six heavy-duty hydrogen refueling stations across Southern Calif.

Caltrans sponsored the application and will work in partnership with Nikola to deploy the tranche of six hydrogen refueling stations. This project furthers Caltrans’ zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) strategy to incentivize and support the development and adoption of ZEV freight technology across the state and supports the California Statewide Truck Parking Study through the provision of a safe place for truck drivers to park.

These six strategically located hydrogen refueling stations will be located along Calif. freight corridors within the South Coast Air Quality Management District, San Diego County Air Pollution Control District, and Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District, and are expected to have a significant impact on the region and the environment, enabling improved community health and avoiding carbon emissions. Each hydrogen refueling station will be designed to support and scale up over time with the growth of heavy-duty hydrogen refueling needs while attempting to maximize truck parking at each site. Other planned outcomes may include:

  • Improved community health: The deployment of these stations is expected to result in air quality improvements. Additionally, it is anticipated that local noise pollution will be reduced.
  • Increased refueling capability: Each hydrogen refueling station is intended to facilitate refueling for approximately 80 to 100 trucks per station per day.
  • Future-ready infrastructure: Nikola’s zero-emissions infrastructure is expected to be established in advance of the anticipated surge in adoption of Nikola’s hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, demonstrating the Company’s commitment to sustainable transportation solutions.

Every year tens of thousands of containers of production material destined for Volvo Cars factories are carried across the world’s oceans on container ships. From now on, most of these seafaring journeys are made with renewable fuel instead of traditional fossil fuel.

As the first global car maker to announce such a switch, we’ll achieve an immediate reduction in fossil CO2 emissions from intercontinental ocean freight by 55,000 tonnes over a year. Thanks to the renewable fuel, CO2 emissions are reduced by at least 84 per cent1 compared to fossil fuel. The reduction is equivalent to the CO2 emissions of a full truck driving around the equator about 1,200 times.

The fuel used is Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME) and is based on renewable and sustainable sources, mainly waste cooking oil. No feedstock related to palm oil or palm oil production is used.

We will use renewable fuel for inbound ocean container transports of production material destined for manufacturing plants based in Europe and the Americas, as well as all spare parts distribution made globally by ocean container transports.

“Renewable fuel is not the end game for removing CO2 from the world’s ocean freight needs,” says Javier Varela, our Chief Operating Officer and Deputy CEO. “Yet this initiative shows that we can act now and implement solutions that achieve significant results during the wait for long-term technological alternatives.”

“We don’t view this initiative as a competitive advantage,” Javier adds. “On the contrary, we want to spark other car makers into action as well, to increase demand for carbon efficient ocean transports and to establish renewable fuels as a mid-term solution that works. We all have a responsibility to act.”

We have been working on this initiative together with our logistics partners Maersk, Kuehne+Nagel and DB Schenker. These logistics service providers have from 1 June 2023 switched to renewable fuel for equivalent energy needed for all container transports done for Volvo Cars.

When renewable fuel is not available on a specific shipment, our renewable fuel allocation is instead used by the logistics partner for another customer’s route elsewhere, so the overall cut in fossil fuel use is kept on par with actual use in container vessels. The methodology, called mass-balancing, is third-party audited regularly. The renewable fuel itself is certified and not produced in competition with food crops. It is therefore sustainable in accordance with the EU Renewable Energy Directive.

CALSTART Funding Available Starting July 19

– Funded by the California Energy Commission and administered by CALSTART, the Energy Infrastructure Incentives for Zero-Emission Commercial Vehicles (EnergIIZE) Project will open its EV Jump Start funding lane on July 19, 2023, at 9 a.m. and will run through August 18, 2023, at 5 p.m. Pacific Time.

The EV Jump Start funding lane covers up to 75 percent of eligible infrastructure equipment and software costs for projects up to $750,000. Costs eligible for reimbursement include Level 2 electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), DC Fast-Charge EVSE, charge management software, switchgears, electrical panel upgrades, wiring, conduit, and meters.

Prospective applicants include: Tribes, schools in disadvantaged or low-income communities, small businesses, minority-owned businesses, transit fleets serving disadvantaged or low-income communities, nonprofits, and other medium- and heavy-duty vehicle fleets in disadvantaged or low-income communities.

New Marelli iTMM

Marelli launches its new integrated Thermal Management Module (iTMM) for electric vehicles, which allows the efficient combination of the vehicle’s different thermal circuits into one single component to shape a more efficient thermal management system, ultimately increasing driving range, safety and flexibility.

An optimized thermal energy management is a key factor especially in electric vehicles, as the cooling and heating needs of components and passengers within the car require high energy consumption. Greater efficiency can be achieved by managing and controlling properly the three systems that most affect energy usage: the e-powertrain thermal system, the battery thermal system and the cabin thermal system.

While electric vehicles generally have a number of heat exchangers with a sole function, Marelli’s integrated Thermal Management Module modularizes water-cooled heat exchangers, such as the chiller or water-cooled condenser, with a smart valve arrangement. By using this combined valve, which manages up to 6 channel combinations, the iTMM efficiently connects the three systems, exploiting their synergies and sharing components, to obtain optimized energy management. This reduces the total system complexity, while ensuring ideal cooling of the electric powertrain, high safety and ultra-fast charging of the battery and an optimal thermal comfort within the cabin.

Another improvement enabled by the iTMM is the efficiency in severe weather conditions and at low temperatures, that allows the increase of the vehicle’s driving range up to 20%, when coupled with a heat pump system in winter conditions.

The integrated system has a reduced number of parts, with smaller size and weight, ensuring to carmakers simplicity of the assembly, architecture flexibility within the vehicle and competitive system cost. The module meets all the latest market requirements, such as ultra-fast charging with pre-conditioning and compliance with OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) standards.

Alongside this innovative technology, Marelli’s Thermal Solutions division develops a full range of thermal systems to improve vehicle durability and performance, both for internal combustion engine and electric powertrains, maximizing the effectiveness through an efficient control and balance of thermal energy.


Mercedes-Benz drivers can use Tesla Superchargers in North America starting in 2024, following a customer-focused approach to scale electric vehicles based on a superior product experience and full access to all major charging networks.

Mercedes-Benz will be the first German OEM to implement NACS ports into its new electric vehicles starting in 2025. As part of a phased transition, Mercedes-Benz will initially offer an adapter that enables the company’s existing CCS BEVs to charge seamlessly on the NACS network from 2024 onwards.

“Our strategic priority is clear: Building the world’s most desirable cars. To accelerate the shift to electric vehicles, we are dedicated to elevating the entire EV-experience for our customers – including fast, convenient, and reliable charging solutions wherever their Mercedes-Benz takes them. That’s why we are committed to building our global Mercedes-Benz High-Power Charging Network, with the first sites opening this year. In parallel, we are also implementing NACS in our vehicles, allowing drivers to access an expansive network of high-quality charging offerings in North America.”
Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management Mercedes-Benz Group AG

Starting in 2024, Mercedes-Benz drivers get access to more than 12,000 Tesla Superchargers in North America through Mercedes-Benz’s own charging service Mercedes me Charge. Mercedes-Benz drivers will see Tesla Superchargers on the map in the vehicle and the app including availability status and price. They can seamlessly access the chargers and automatically pay for their charging sessions. The Superchargers will also be integrated in the Navigation with Electric Intelligence, which calculates a convenient and time-efficient route including charging stops. In North America, the Mercedes me Charge service, which currently covers more than 90,000 charging points, along with Mercedes-Benz’s upcoming own High-Power Charging Network, offers an enhanced experience for its customers. At the same time, Mercedes-Benz will remain open to additional and new high-quality charging offerings to further increase the high-power charging opportunities for its customers and boost the adoption of electric vehicles.

NextStar, Stellantis & LG in Canada

NextStar Energy, the vehicle battery joint venture between Stellantis N.V. and LG Energy Solution (LGES), today signed a binding agreement that secures the future of battery cell and module production in Windsor, Ontario, and honours the commitments that were made by the Canadian government to level the playing field with the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

“The IRA fundamentally changed the landscape for battery production in North America, making it challenging to produce competitively priced, state-of-the-art batteries in Canada without an equivalent level of support from government,” said Mark Stewart, Stellantis Chief Operating Officer North America. “We are pleased that the Federal government with the support of the Provincial government came back and met their commitment of leveling the playing field with the IRA. This collective effort enabled the deal to close and we are now resuming construction on the site in Windsor. We are very grateful to the governments for their leadership to resolve and bring this deal to fruition, as well as Lana Payne and her team from Unifor for tirelessly advocating alongside us in our shared commitment to protecting thousands of new jobs as we achieve our electrified future propelled by our Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan.”

It’s a good day not only for our joint venture but also for Canada,” said Dong-Myung Kim, president and head of the Advanced Automotive Battery Division of LG Energy Solution. “We are happy to finally move forward with building the country’s first major battery plant and be a central part of the local battery ecosystem. We are grateful to the Federal and Provincial government for working together, and to everyone who worked tirelessly to get this deal done.”

Thanks to the agreement and continuous support from the Windsor community, NextStar Energy can now focus on what we do best,” said Danies Lee, CEO of NextStar Energy. “We will soon produce state-of-the-art batteries here in Windsor, and we’re excited to grow and thrive with the community.”

NextStar Energy is one of eight battery plants that LGES has secured in North America in response to its growing EV market.

Stellantis recently celebrated 98 years in Canada. Its investment in the NextStar Energy battery joint venture combined with the investments previously announced for the Automotive Research and Development Centre Battery Lab, Windsor Assembly Plant and Brampton Assembly Plant demonstrate the Company’s commitment to a sustainable future in the very demanding context that the electrification transformation is creating, and Canada’s role in the global EV ecosystem.

Effective immediately, all construction at the NextStar Energy battery plant in Windsor will resume with production operations planned to launch in 2024. The plant aims to have an annual production capacity in excess of 45 gigawatt hours (GWh) and will create an estimated 2,500 new jobs in Windsor and the surrounding areas.