Hey! Glad to have you here.
Today, I need to address something first:
You know I like to "add my own voice" to these newsletters you get.
At the same time, I intentionally avoid all (geo)political topics unless it directly influences the EV
I'll try to keep at the same route going forward. But today, I will not be silent.
It is tough. I'm writing this from Estonia, the little country next to the big bear in all of the headlines today. We are a former Soviet country that fought ourselves free. Coincidentally, our independence day is today. Here's a picture I put up today with one of our Škoda Enyaq electric taxis:
We are as western as you can get in this part of Europe, but we know and feel who our neighbor is.
I'm a grown-ass dude, but today is the first day I feel afraid of the future of my family and kids. Nothing is happening right here - the war is back there in Ukraine. For context, Ukraine is 850km (530mi) away from my location. Russia ~100km.
I'm anxious. And I cannot even start to understand what the people in Ukraine must feel like right now. The reports (direct videos, not news articles that can be skewed) so far are just unimaginable. But I don't need to tell you that.
What I do need to tell you, is that I know at least one of our readers is in Ukraine. I know this because Oleksandr just recently joined our Pro version. I haven't been able to reach you, but I hope you and your family are safe.
If I or any of us can help you in any way, ping me. We've got a strong community here. That goes for any other readers affected that I don't yet know of.
The system I use to send these emails out also shows we have at least 11 subscribers from Russia. Please know, that I do not link you to the aggression. I know full well how the 'higher powers' can make moves without it being the intentions of the people themselves. If you can share the perspective of locals about this with me, I'd be grateful.
However, if there is any one of you, no matter where in the Universe from, that feels the bombing and invasion of Ukraine are justified, please remove yourself from The EV Universe's list by clicking unsubscribe at the bottom of this email.
Whoosh. Got that out of the way.
I don't want you to feel like crap today, especially as we get this massive negative flow everywhere anyway. I was halfway through writing both today's newsletter and tomorrow's paid version newsletter when I got the news, so I'll just combine the two for you today and then take some time to be with my family.
Thanks, if you read the above through - it means a lot to me. If you want to discuss anything related, my inbox is open. Just hit 'reply' here or DM me on our member platform.
Now, I hope you'll enjoy the zappy 2,185 words this week. If you feel like some of it is more specific than usual, it's likely because most of this newsletter is from the Pro-members newsletter that was due tomorrow.
Welcome to the
I always feel good when I'm able to call out the successes of the Friends of the EV Universe.
You might remember us covering Revel opening its fast-charging Superhub and deploying a fleet of Revel-blue Teslas for quality ride-hail service (our #28), also raising $34M Series A last year. We also covered how NYC's TLC had tried to kill off Revel getting necessary licenses (here).
Now, Revel raised a zapping $126M Series B, led by BlackRock Renewable Power. The funds go towards expanding the charging Superhubs across NYC and potentially to other major cities. (link)
Awesome to see a follow-up power boost, Revel. Congratulations to the team!
An icon, redesigned for zap.
Rolls Royce redesigned its iconic Spirit of Ecstasy figurine, which was first registered as IP 111 years ago, for the Spectre electric car. The Spectre is their most aerodynamic product yet (cd 0.26). The change makes the Spirit more bracing for speed and wind, essentially more aerodynamic. Geek out on specifics (here).
💰 Funding innovation
The US Department of Energy's ARPA-E announced $175M for 68 R&D projects. I sorted out some directly EV-related projects that secured funding (pdf):
- University of Houston (Texas) got $3.4M to create a class of batteries that uses magnesium anodes instead of lithium and organic materials in place of "transition metal"-based cathodes.
- University of Maryland got $2.6M to develop fast-charging solid-state roll-to-roll processed Li-metal batteries with a cellulose fiber-based ion conductor as electrolyte.
- Ohio State University got $2.4M to transform the design and manufacturing processes of electric machines for EVs through two innovative magnetic (CMP) and insulation (EDP) materials.
- Cornell University got $1.4M to develop a 50kW wireless charging system with 95% efficiency that meets fringing-field safety standards and minimizes power pulsations, thus increasing grid reliability.
- University of Michigan got $950k to develop a new battery separator that can effectively prevent rather than block the formation of dendrites.
🇨🇳 - 🇳🇴 EVerybody's heading to Norway
As I've "predicted" earlier last year, we'll be seeing a lot of Chinese EV makers setting their eyes towards Europe. Norway first (obvious reasons), then Germany, then the rest. We've already seen BYD, Xpeng and NIO go that route among others. Here's another 'case' for it.
China's Dongfeng brand's quite new subsidiary Voyah wants to deliver its first EVs in Europe already Q4 2022, starting with Norway. (link)
Until today, ~10k Voyah has been built since its first in August last year, so this marks a surprisingly fast overseas expansion plan.
The 88kWh battery of the FREE gets the SUV to 505km (313 mi) by the NEDC (take some miles off for the real world), the pricing in Europe is not yet known but its average price has been €47k ($52.5k) in China.
The SUV doesn't look too bad either:
♻️🔋 Redwood Materials
Redwood Materials launched a recycling program for EV batteries in California, Ford and Volvo are the first (of possibly many) OEMs to join. RM will use dealers and dismantlers in California to identify and sort the battery packs and then process them in the neighboring Nevada facility (press release).
I'm a fan of Redwood's mission statement:
We aim to create the most effective and sustainable closed-loop system that physics, and chemistry will allow for end-of-life battery packs to re-enter the domestic supply chain.
Fun fact - Redwood Materials created a new YT channel on the 14th Feb and this announcement is their first video:
🚗 Resurrecting e-UP
Volkswagen killed the small e-Up in Europe... and now revived it. It will launch again in Germany starting at 26,895€ ($30k) and soon be available in other markets. (link)
Weird move, as I remember VW saying they lost money on each sold. But I know they quite the demand for it - it was the 2nd-best-seller in Germany in 2021 with 30,797 per our Spreadsheet.
🌎 BYD is ramping up
If you remember our 2021's BEV sales spreadsheet, BYD is the second-biggest battery EV seller in the
BYD plans a Tesla Model 3 rival electric sedan called Seal, based on its 800V platform - will likely be unveiled at Bejing Auto Show in April (link). Here are some renderings that have been circling the social media in China (link):
BYD is also ramping up its Yuan Plus electric crossover/SUV that is designed to be a global contender from start. Australia (under the name ATTO 3) and Singapore can order already and get deliveries in H1 2022.
The 50kWh Blade battery gives it a 320km (200mi) range by WLTP and starts at only $32k in Australia.
Here's a rather cool picture I found of Yuan Plus Yuan Plus Yuan Plus [...]
⚡ Europe powers up ultra-fast
and now sees the rollout of the real high-power charge locations, with:
1. Porsche with Iberdrola installing the largest ultra-fast charging parks in southern Europe with 4x400kW and 12x200kW capacity in a nominal power of 4 MW. (link) The agreement between the companies sees 35 of these locations put up. From the pictures, it also looks like Porsche has some designated stalls.
I put myself a note to map out the Ibedrola's charging network expansion (and plans), which might make them one of the top players in the charging world very fast. Iberdrola itself is an electric utility company from Spain.
2. Gridserve with Moto opening the first ultra-fast charging hub in a Moto's highway service location in Swansea, Wales, called an advanced Electric Hub. It has 6x350kW chargers and room for 6 more. (link)
Don't be fooled - not all Gridserve's charging hubs come without a roof. Those they call Electric Forecourts, the first of which opened in Dec 2020, are pretty badass:
Gridserve is the lead building the charging networks in the UK, especially after acquiring the Ecotricity and its Electric Highway network of 300+ chargers last June. Connection: Moto was a founding partner to Ecotricity.
ICYMI, Last week's most clicked link: the playlist I made with all Superbowl EV commercials (link).
🌎 Redirect incentives. Kia's UK boss, Paul Philpott, says the EV grants have not affected demand and should be directed to the UK charging network instead. (link)
🚛 MAN Truck & Bus will start series production of its heavy e-trucks in Munich a year earlier than planned, in early 2024, with initial 200 units.
I found notable: the CEO Alexander Vlaskamp said they only expect to use H2 trucks 'well after 2030' when sufficient green hydrogen and infrastructure are available. (link)
🚗 The Bolt is not dead! Yet. GM says it'll resume production after April 4th. (link) But we know the Orion Township factory is being rebuilt at the same time to accommodate the GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado EV production from 2024.
🚗 Electric Puma. Ford is planning an all-electric version of its Puma small car, to be introduced in 2024 and work on the tech of the 2024 panel van Ford Transit Courier. (link)
🚗 BMW all-electric i5 in three drive variants rumored to launch in 2023 (link)
🚗 MG Motor will launch the MG5, claiming it's world's first all-electric station wagon, in Europe in March. (link)
First starting at €38,490 ($43k), base model following later. The 61.1kWh battery gives it a 400km (248mi) WLTP range and the onboard charger is capable of 11kW (on 3 phases). I kind of like that they decided to use the 11kW on all trims, not downgrade on the base.
💰 Volta Trucks raised $260M in Series C led by Luxor Capital and Byggmastare Anders J Ahlstrom Holding. (link) The funds go towards launching the Volta Zero series production later this year. We've covered Volta quite a lot before and I have high hopes for this one.
🏭 Giga Texas has some videos & photos leaked from inside showing production lines and Model Y's waiting, presumably with the new structural battery pack and 4680 cells (link).
♻️💰 Nth Cycle, a Massachusetts-based metal processing and recycling technology company, raised $12.5M in Series A, led by Frankstahl and VoLo Earth.
♻️💰 Ace Green Recycling from India, also recycling batteries raised >$7M, led by Circulate Capital. (link) The company is focusing on the development of fossil fuel-free li-ion battery recycling technology.
🔋 CATL, the world's biggest EV battery maker, partnered with a Spanish emobility company QEV for the local aftermarket services. This means QEV will carry out the maintenance, troubleshooting, repair and updates of batteries for the EVs carrying CATLs batteries. (link)
👀 Renato from Ronin EV is a friend of the EV Universe and shared his commentary, pictures & details on all the EVs he found at the 2022 Chicago Auto Show.
Featuring Silverado EV, EV6, Solterra, iX, and more.
As promised, we're taking asphalt paving electric this week.
Or rather, the BAM Group did. This is the world's first fully electrically driven asphalt spreading paver. (link)
Together with partners Wirtgen and New Electric, BAM Infra has replaced the stage V motor with an electric drive consisting of a fixed battery of 270 kWh and two smartly switched electric motors. With a second 270 KWh battery, the paver can immediately be moved to the next project after a long working day. This exchangeable battery is also suitable for use in other electric equipment.
That's it for today!
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