EV, Battery & Charging News: Mitra Future, XCharge NA, Cennox, Bollinger, HopSkipDrive, Noveau Monde, GM, Panasonic, Zeem & Workhorse Group

In electric vehicle, battery and charging news are Mitra Future, XCharge NA, Cennox, Bollinger, HopSkipDrive,
Noveau Monde, GM, Panasonic, Zeem & Workhorse Group.

Mitra Future of LFP Samples

Mitra Future Technologies, Inc. (“Mitra Chem”), a leading innovator in IRA-compliant production of lithium-ion battery materials, announced they have successfully synthesized multi-ton Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) samples that meet industry-leading electric vehicle (EV) specifications.

LFP, known for its safety, long cycle life, and environmental friendliness, is poised to disrupt the battery landscape by increasingly becoming the cathode chemistry of choice in the fastest-growing electric vehicle (EV) and energy storage segments (ESS). With these larger batches of production samples, Mitra Chem looks to launch into the North American market with IRA-compliant products.

This announcement comes at a critical juncture for the domestic battery market. LFP-based chemistries were over two-thirds of the Chinese battery production in 2023, and are quickly growing in adoption in Western markets. With the US Department of Energy proposing rules regarding Foreign Entities of Concern (FEOCs), incentives for sourcing battery components from China are restricted, underscoring the importance of FEOC-free technology that still achieves market leading spec performance.

“We are prioritizing rapid scale-up of LFP based on strong customer feedback,” said Mitra Chem CEO Vivas Kumar. “Our multi-ton-scale LFP production and subsequent customer sampling is a stepping stone to our own manufacturing build, and positions us as a frontrunner in the North American cathode active material market.”

Mitra Chem’s unique approach, leveraging in-house talent and process knowledge, has enabled the rapid transition from lab-scale to industrial-scale production, marking a crucial stepping stone in their production mission. With the company’s rented manufacturing line and strategic market positioning, Mitra Chem is primed to meet the growing demand for high-quality, domestically sourced battery materials.

Their multi-ton-scale sample enables large-scale cell builds for customers, and the collection of long-term cycling qualification data. With growing momentum in LFP production and progress toward their acceleration thesis for further up-scaling, Mitra Chem is positioned as a North American market leader, driving forward the electrification revolution and shaping the future of sustainable energy.

XCharge NA Superhub in Watter Creek (Dallas)

XCharge North America (NA), a leading DC high-power and battery-integrated electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions provider, announced plans to build a state-of-the-art grid supporting a Battery Storage EV Charging Superhub at the prestigious Watters Creek Village mixed-use development near Dallas. This cutting-edge center will feature more than 20 stalls with ultra-fast chargers, providing a high-tech solution for EV drivers with max outputs ranging from 200kW to 400kW per port.

Once established, the Superhub will serve as the largest non-Tesla DC fast-charging hub in the region, featuring an impressive 3 megawatt-hours of storage capacity that offers grid support. It is designed to handle seismic weather events, demonstrating the capability to sustain and redistribute energy resources. This extends beyond merely powering electric vehicles, as Watters Creek actively contributes to the neighborhood by returning surplus energy to the grid. This commitment aligns with the community’s broader goal of sustainable and community-focused initiatives.

Watters Creek Village is a shopping and entertainment destination with a diverse mix of amenities, including various retail options, outdoor dining restaurants, and office space and residential lofts. The addition of XCharge NA chargers will support greener local transportation while offering businesses a potential new revenue stream.

This will be the second XCharge NA deployment in Allen, following the installation of charging infrastructure at the MD7 headquarters last year.

Cennox  to Service Flo Chargers

Cennox has been selected as a nationwide service provider for FLO chargers across the U.S. The move will advance FLO’s work in providing an uptime of at least 98% while allowing Cennox to expand its business into the growing electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) market.

As part of the collaboration, Cennox will help provide maintenance and service on FLO’s public and private Level 2 and DC Fast Chargers across the country.

Our contract with FLO further signals our position as being a business driven to deliver a quality service nationwide,” said Mychal Kempt, Chief Revenue Offer, Cennox. “This collaboration represents a significant milestone in our mission to provide reliable and user-centric electric vehicle charging solutions. Cennox expertise and technology will help ensure the reliable availability of EV charging stations across the U.S.

LaFontaine Michigan to Sell Bollinger B4

Bollinger Motors, Inc., an electric commercial vehicle (“EV”) manufacturer, has named LaFontaine Automotive Group as their first authorized dealer, with two locations, Lansing and Farmington Hills, Mich.

The Bollinger B4 Chassis Cab is an all-new, all-electric class 4 commercial truck designed from the ground up with extensive fleet and upfitter input. Bollinger’s unique chassis design protects the 800V battery and components to offer unparalleled safety in the commercial market. The company anticipates deliveries of the B4 chassis cab to begin in the second half of 2024.

“We are thrilled to work with LaFontaine right here in Michigan where we designed, and will build, the B4,” said Robert Bollinger, founder and CEO of Bollinger Motors. Adding, “LaFontaine shares our commitment to quality and customer service.”

According to LaFontaine, the acquisition brings their portfolio to 54 retail franchises and 39 retail locations, with additional announcements planned later in 2024. Bollinger commercial vehicles will be sold at LaFontaine Bollinger Farmington Hills, 30250 Grand River Ave. in Farmington Hills and LaFontaine Bollinger Lansing, 3625 S Pennsylvania Ave in Lansing.

The announcement follows a series of Bollinger Motors announcements in recent months, including partnerships with Our Next Energy in Novi, Mich. to supply the company with batteries and related components and Roush Industries in Livonia, Mich. to manage vehicle assembly operations.  The company recently qualified for federal clean vehicle tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act of $40,000 per vehicle for the B4 chassis cab.////

HopSkipDrive Skips into New Year with Lower GHG Emissions

HopSkipDrive, the leading technology company solving complex transportation challenges where there is a heightened need for safety, equity, and care, ended the year with lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and better electric vehicle mileage in California than the state’s 2023 targets, as set forth under California’s Clean Miles Standard.

These milestones, based on ride data for the more than 300 state school districts, nonprofits and government agencies supported by HopSkipDrive through December 2023, mark an improvement from what was recorded in 2022.

  • Miles driven by electric vehicles in 2023 made up 8 percent of miles traveled by HopSkipDrive CareDrivers in California, vastly exceeding by 400 percent the state’s 2023 target of 2 percent.
  • Total 2023 California GHG emissions by HopSkipDrive CareDrivers in California is 241 grams of COper passenger mile, less than the state’s 2023 target of 252 grams of COper passenger mile.

“There’s a lot on our state’s plate to achieve climate goals, and we’re pleased to share our results now to get the ball rolling,” said Joanna McFarland, CEO and co-founder of HopSkipDrive. “Organizations serving kids and educators must be transparent with their safety and sustainability efforts and we expect to see others join us in publishing relevant data. We look forward to sharing even more insight in the coming months.”

Through partnerships with school districts, government agencies and nonprofits, HopSkipDrive helps to fill gaps and facilitate the transportation of children, the elderly, or others who need extra care and may not be served well by existing options.

This announcement comes ahead of 2024 California Air Resources Board (CARB) reporting deadlines mandated by the Clean Miles Standard and Incentive Program, which was passed in 2018 to implement requirements for Transportation Network Companies in the state to work towards a reduction in GHG emissions from transportation.

Across the country, safe, reliable rides through HopSkipDrive are one of the largest sources of clean school transportation. Almost 40 percent (36%) of California vehicles that completed a ride on the HopSkipDrive platform in 2023 were electric, hybrid or fuel cell. This means that the HopSkipDrive’s CareDriver network offers the largest number of green vehicles in California school transportation and one of the biggest resources for reducing overall miles driven and emissions in school transportation, creating a greener state.

This new data means that supplementing existing options, including electric buses, with HopSkipDrive rides and therefore taking a multimodal approach to student transportation, is one of the most powerful and effective ways to make meaningful, significant progress towards achieving sustainability goals.

Several different ongoing HopSkipDrive initiatives support sustainability efforts, including Strategic Routing and SmartPooling.

Strategic Routing, first launched in fall 2023, is HopSkipDrive’s revolutionary new technology offering for student transportation planning that uses proprietary AI and machine learning technology to analyze a school district’s complete transportation landscape, including the student base and available vehicles, as well as district-specific needs and preferences to deliver customized routing options, scenario plans, and recommendations to meet each district’s unique goals. Strategic Routing can identify which vehicle and route changes can have a specific and measurable impact on carbon emissions, helping transportation teams understand their options and reach environmental goals. In fact, Strategic Routing can take into account multiple priorities, such as carbon emission reductions, staffing, and budget to align environmental targets with operational realities.

SmartPooling can automatically match new HopSkipDrive Riders with existing HopSkipDrive rides to increase car occupancy and reduce the cost and carbon footprint of every HopSkipDrive ride, helping districts select the best ride for their students, and supporting shared goals of reducing transportation cost and climate impact.

“While we are excited by the growing use of electric school buses and other ideas, we know there’s more we can all do to improve the environmental footprint for transportation,” McFarland said. “More than six million K-12 students attend school in the state – and how they get to and from school, as well as to after-school activities, enrichment and other locations throughout the day – merits transparent reporting. As a reminder, the broader transportation sector accounts for about half of California’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

DOE Invites Tenet for Loan App

–Tenet Energy Inc. (“Tenet”), a climate financial technology platform to accelerate America’s sustainable energy transition, starting with electric vehicles, announced that the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) has invited the Company to submit the Part II loan application under the DOE Title 17 program for Tenet’s EV Auto Lending project.

“Being invited to Part II of the DOE loan application is a critical next step within Tenet’s vision to build the financial fabric of the American energy transition,” commented Alex Liegl, Tenet’s Chief Executive Officer. “This progress lets us be closer to unlocking a path of accessibility and affordability for electric vehicles nationwide. Today, EV affordability remains the main barrier to adoption. However, a potential partnership with the Department of Energy will allow us to create positive financial incentives for all Americans to adopt and utilize climate technology products to make measurable progress in decarbonizing our American energy grids.”

In addition to making EV financing more affordable, Tenet has launched TenetConnect – a platform that unlocks additional cost savings for EV drivers by optimizing charging schedules and providing custom insights on carbon emissions and financial impacts personalized to the driver. “TenetConnect is a symbiotic platform that was created to boost the overall impact of EV adoption,” said Liegl. “Every Tenet customer has free access to a suite of software services that optimize their EV charging to save both money and emissions. Plus, TenetConnect’s unique positioning at the intersection of credit and energy data allows it to offer its customers truly data-driven recommendations for other climate technology products. This allows the switch to affordable EV ownership to be the start of every customer’s sustainability journey.”

As previously indicated, the DOE loan application process is a key strategic growth driver in Tenet’s capital formation strategy to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles around the country. Tenet also continues to engage with potential investors, especially green banks and state agencies interested in qualifying as a State Energy Financing Institution (SEFI), to provide mezzanine debt to finance anticipated capital expenditures and development associated with the project.

Tenet will continue to work on advancing the DOE Title 17 process during 2024 and will provide further updates as appropriate. The following is a disclaimer from the DOE regarding the Part II application process:

Noveau Monde & GM Graphite Deal

Nouveau Monde Graphite Inc. (“NMG“ or the “Company”) (NYSE: NMG, TSX.V: NOU) and General Motors Holdings LLC (“GM”), a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), have agreed to sign a supply agreement (the “Supply Agreement”) upon closing of the Tranche 1 Investment, in which NMG will provide 18,000 tonnes per annum (“tpa”) of its expected Phase-2 active anode material output to GM upon reaching full production for an initial term of six years. In complement to the Supply Agreement, NMG and GM entered into a subscription agreement (the “Subscription Agreement”) in which GM commits an aggregate US$150 million equity investment in NMG, subject to certain closing conditions, to develop what is projected to be the first fully integrated natural graphite active anode material project of its kind in North America; a local, carbon-neutral, reliable, sizeable, and ESG-driven source of natural graphite for the electric vehicle (“EV”) and lithium-ion battery market.

GM will make an initial US$25 million equity investment in NMG (the “Tranche 1 Investment”) to support the advancement of NMG’s Phase-2 operations – the Matawinie Mine and the Bécancour Battery Material Plant – in line with GM’s battery manufacturer’s specifications. GM also commits to subscribe for a further US$125 million of equity upon the successful completion of conditions precedent and a positive final investment decision (“FID”) (the “Tranche 2 Investment” and together with the Tranche 1 Investment, the “Transaction”).

Zeem to Support Workhorse Group

Workhorse Group Inc. (Nasdaq: WKHS) (“Workhorse” or “the Company”), an American technology company focused on pioneering the transition to zero-emission commercial vehicles, has partnered with Zeem Solutions (“Zeem”) to provide additional Workhorse certified service options for fleet operators and customers. Zeem’s electric vehicle (“EV”) technicians will work hand-in-hand with Workhorse’s technical team to respond quickly to service requests and maintain industry-leading uptime.

Zeem currently operates out of its flagship hub in Los Angeles, California with plans to expand and build additional hubs throughout the country. Workhorse customers already operating their own managed fleets now have the option to work with Zeem specifically for service and maintenance.