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EV Industry Unfettered by Pandemic
The VW ID. 3 at the famous Transparent Factory in Dresden. VW are closing up on Tesla for sales.

EV Industry Unfettered by Pandemic

By Simon Johns - Jan 15, 2021

Launches, installations and innovations carried on regardless through the second pandemic upsurge in Europe, the United States and Southeast Asia.

Kandi Targeted by Short Seller: In an effort to drive down share prices of one of China’s EV darlings, stock short seller Hindenburg Research accused Kandi Technologies Group of reporting fake sales and other misinformation. In a Nov. 30 report, U.S.-based Hindenburg claimed that more than half of Kandi’s sales over the previous 12 months were to undisclosed related companies, that it consistently books sales for which it does not expect to be paid, and that it has run through a series of auditors and financial officers, including two auditors who were sanctioned for their work with Kandi. It also said that Kandi’s vehicles are low quality. Kandi, which is based in Jinhua, China, refuted the accusations and said it will issue a detailed response at a later date. The price of Kandi shares on the Nasdaq stock market fell 18% in the week following Hindenburg’s report and lost a quarter of its value during December. Hindenburg acknowledged that it had taken a short position, meaning it could profit if the price of Kandi shares decreased.

ID.4 Rolls Out in China, VW Busy: VW’s joint venture with Chinese automaker FAW started assembling ID.4 electric SUVs at its factory in Foshan, China, in November, a month after the Germany company’s JV with SAIC started making them in Anting. VW said the two plants have combined capacity to make 600,000 units of the e-cars. The SUVs made in Anting are named ID.4 X, while those from Foshan are named ID.4 Crozz. VW plans to have eight ID.4 models selling in China within two years and by 2025 aims for global sales of the series to reach 500,000, accounting for a third of the company’s EV sales.

VW’s Audi said it will add two more plug-ins to its EV stable, beginning advanced sales in January of the Q3 45 TFSI e and the Q3 Sportback 45 TFSI e. Both have 1.4-liter petrol motors capable of outputting 110 kW to supplement electric motors running off 13-kWh battery packs and capable of generating 85 kWh. Audi said both models can travel 61 km without fossil fuel. Audi already markets the A3 Sportback TFSI e compact car and the Q8 TFSI e Quattro SUV.

Toyota’s Upcoming E-SUV: Toyota published information about its future electric sport utility vehicle. The model name has not yet been provided, but the Japanese carmaker said it will be made on the e-TNGA platform, modeled on the Toyota New Global Architecture. That means many options, including variable dimensions; front, rear or all-wheel drive; multiple available battery sizes. The BEVs will be manufactured in Japan

GWM Finishes Factory, Launches BEV: Great Wall Motors completed construction of its Smart Factory in Taizhou city, Jiangsu province and launched its fourth BEV, the Ora Haomao, which is being built there. Built for ¥8 billion (U.S. $1.2 billion), the Taizhou facility is GWM’s third factory and has capacity to assemble 100,000 units per year and is intended to make most of the company’s EVs. The company offers five versions of the Haomao, which translates as “Good Cat.” All are equipped with a 105 kW motor and have either a 47.8 kWh lithium iron phosphate battery pack or a 59.1 kWh ternary lithium battery pack. The former has a range of 400 km, the latter 500 km.

Faraday Future Uses Mivolt Fluids: M&I Materials will supply Mivolt brand dielectric fluids to Faraday Future to cool the submerged battery system in its FF 91 luxury EV, Faraday announced on Dec. 2. The FF 91 is equipped with a six-string battery pack located in the middle of the vehicle’s underbelly. The pack is fully submerged in coolant – a design that is simpler, lighter, safer and that cools more thoroughly than indirect approaches, according to Los Angeles-based Faraday. M&I, which is based in Manchester, United Kingdom, will supply two fluids, Mivolt DF7 and Mivolt DFK, which circulate throughout the battery cells to absorb heat before being piped to the radiator at the front of the vehicle. Both fluids are made using esters, the companies said during a recent webinar.

Fuel Cell Platform from Nuvera: American Nuvera Fuel Cells launched its E-45 system for medium- and heavy-duty commercial trucks. The company said it will manufacture them first in the U.S. and in the future in China. The systems are designed for use as core power source or as range extenders in applications ranging from commercial vans and buses to heavy-duty trucks used on-site or for long hauling.

Wireless Charging Pilot Project in Italy: Israel-based Electreon Wireless has undertaken a pilot project to equip a kilometer of Italian toll road to wirelessly charge EVs as the travel upon it. The highway, A35, is located in the Lombardy region and is operated by A.p.S. Brebemi. Under its agreement with the operator, Electreon will install its system of under-road magnetic coils, which charge passing vehicles by induction. The contract calls for a three-year demonstration period. If successful, Brebemi may contract Electreon to install its system on other sections of highway.

Spun LG Battery Business Sets Sail: LG Energy Solution held its inaugural board meeting following the spin-off of the battery business by Seoul-based LG Chem. LG Energy is already the world’s largest battery supplier but is planning to increase production capacity. It remains a unit of LG Chem but now operates with greater autonomy. It is headed by President Kim Jong Hyun, who took the helm of the battery business in 2018. The business expects to record revenue of 13 trillion won (U.S. $11.9 billion) this year and aims to grow to 30 trillion won by 2024.

European Alliance Solidifies Structure: ChargeUp Europe appointed its first president as the alliance prepares to become a formal industry association in the new year. The organization is dedicated to promoting the development of EV charging networks in the region. The new president is Christopher Burghardt, managing director for Europe with ChargePoint, a network of independently owned charging sites in Europe and North America. The organization intends to continue working to expand the number of charging points in the region, to ensure technical compatibility with an expanding EV population and to improve user experience. ChargeUp Europe was founded in March 2020 and has grown from three to 11 members.

Charging Points from U.K. to Singapore to Portland: CTEK and EVC agreed to cooperate to build 100,000 free consumer and commercial EV charging points in the U.K. by 2025.

Sweden-based CTEK will supply its Chargestorm Connected wallboxes, while British EVC contributes other equipment and EV charging infrastructure. Both companies supply solutions that balance electrical loads.

The Flanders government resolved to install 30,000 charging points by 2025, tripling the existing number of points in that region of Belgium. The region, which covers 14,000 square km and currently has just over 4,000 points, has set aside €30 million has been set aside for the initiative.

Singapore’s Land Transport Authority issued a tender inviting bids for installation of 600 charging points to be installed at more than 200 sites by 2022.

Portland General Electric and Daimler Trucks North America will cooperate to build a public park with charging points for nine medium- and heavy-duty trucks in Portland, Oregon, by next spring. Total capacity will be a megawatt. Blink Charging will install charging stations for JSC Management Group at 26 of its Burger King restaurants in the Northeast United States.

Lion Receives Funds to Expand: E-truck and bus manufacturer Lion Electric Co. said it will become a publicly-traded company and to receive a $500 capital infusion by merging with an American investment firm. Lion, which is based in Saint-Jerome, Quebec, Canada, said it will use the funds to build a vehicle factory in the United States, to continue its work developing battery systems and to build a battery assembly plant. According to a Nov. 30 announcement, the company agreed to form a subsidiary that will be merged into Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp., which is already listed on the New York Stock Exchange and was formed this year for the purpose of helping one or more companies obtain stock exchange listings. Lion is to receive approximately $200 million from a private placement of common shares in the company plus $320 million in cash that Northern Genesis will hold in trust. The Canadian company supplies all-electric urban trucks ranging from Class V through Class VIII as well as a variety of electric buses. It already operates a factory in Saint-Jerome with capacity to manufacture 2,500 vehicles per year. It has sold 300 vehicles since its founding in 2008 and aims to sell 650 trucks and buses in 2021. After the merger, which is expected to close in January 2021, Lion’s existing shareholders expect to retain a 70% stake in the publicly listed company.

Scania Launches Electric Trucks: Scania launched all-electric and hybrid versions of its L- and P-series heavy-duty trucks. The BEV comes equipped with configurations of five or nine batteries, and the latter enables a range of up to 250 kilometers. It delivers the equivalent of 310 horsepower and can recharge in 100 minutes on a 130 kilowatt direct current hook-up. The PHEV can travel up to 60 km running just on battery power, and its three battery packs can charge up to 80% on a 95 kW DC hook-up. It can also be charged through regenerative braking. The company, which is headquartered outside Stockholm, also announced in November that it will build a battery assembly plant as well as a battery laboratory – both at its existing facilities in the city of Sodertalje. The assembly plant will cost more than 1 billion krona (U.S. $120 million) and is scheduled to open in 2023 after two years of construction. Construction of the SEK 157 million lab is scheduled to be finished by spring, and the facility will open next autumn.

Volvo Introduces Electric Class VIII: Volvo began selling its zero-emission class 8 BEV truck in North America during December and will start manufacturing them at its factory in Dublin, Virginia, United States, in early 2021. The VNR Electric has a driveline rated for 455 hp and is offered in three configurations ranging from a single-axle straight truck with gross weight of 33,200 pounds to a three-axle tractor of 82,000 pounds. Operating range can reach 240 km depending on configuration, and the battery system takes 70 minutes for an 80% charge.

Cummins, Navistar Start Fuel Cell Project: Cummins and Navistar will cooperate to develop a Class VIII truck powered by hydrogen fuel cells, using a U.S. government grant for part of the funding. The companies did not discuss a timeline for the project but said the grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy calls is aimed at helping to develop technology with performance and cost of ownership that will encourage rapid and substantial market penetration. The grant for the Cummins-Navistar project is one of two received by Cummins, totaling $7 million and meant to reduce private sector development costs by 35%. A Cummins press release said the companies aim for the trucks to have a range of 300 miles and to better the fuel economy of existing heavy-duty trucks.

Kiwi Government Aims for Carbon Neutrality: New Zealand will require government agencies to purchase electric vehicles and take other steps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as part of a climate protection policy adopted in December. The initiative commits the nation’s public sector to achieving carbon neutrality by 2025 in response to what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described as a “climate emergency.” She said the initiative is about the government doing its own part to stop global warming and setting an example for the private sector.

“This policy, alongside today’s declaration of a climate emergency, serves as a message to the public sector to get our own house in order,” she said, according to numerous news outlets. “It’s also a call to action for the private sector and it’s great to see so many examples of businesses taking steps to reduce their emissions.”

In addition to switching their fleets to electric vehicles, government agencies will be required to reduce the size of those fleets, replace large coal boilers and adhere to green standards for office buildings.

DHL Uses 16-ton E-truck in U.K.: Delivery company DHL deployed a 16-ton battery-powered truck to make last-mile deliveries in London, calling it the first such truck to be used in the United Kingdom. The Volvo FL Electric 4x2 can carry 6 tons of parcels for up to 120 miles, running on four 200 kW batteries.