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Nissan redesigns its flagship EV, joining the new generation of plug-ins p. 48




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22 A closer look at power factor correction


PFC is beneficial both for the electrical grid/utility company and the end user/customer

28 Battery Goldilocks Zone Calienté explains that battery pack heating is just as important as cooling

32 EV ECUs


From rapid prototyping to EV production with Pi Innovo’s M560 OpenECU

current events 12

Visedo’s SRPM motors for buses claim 10% more power, better cooling



AKASOL shows its new battery systems for e-buses

Magna forms e-powertrain joint venture in China BMW takes steps to ensure more responsible production of cobalt

15 16

DOE awards Saratoga Energy $1 million to commercialize its battery tech Bosch introduces new 48 V Li-ion battery for mild hybrids Fisker files patents on solid-state battery tech

18 Miltec’s ceramic coating for anodes improves performance and reduces cost

BMW’s Chinese JV opens battery factory in Shenyang

19 UK government invests $86 million in battery research institute 20 Delta-Q expands family of battery chargers for EVs and industrial machines


Northvolt to build battery gigafactory in Sweden


SF Motors acquires Martin Eberhard’s battery module startup InEVit


48 2018 LEAF Nissan joins the new EV generation

58 Marine electrification Experts discuss the special concerns when designing battery technology for marine environments


82 What’s up with the federal EV tax credit? current events 38 Tesla Semi hits the highway with a bang 39 Next-gen Tesla Roadster will be the fastest car ever produced 40 Volvo and Geely invest in Polestar, announce new plug-in vehicles for China


Thomas, Blue Bird and IC Bus introduce electric school buses

42 Ryder orders 125 electric panel vans from Chanje

Daimler shows heavy-duty truck at Tokyo show

43 Vespa electric scooter to arrive in 2018 44 BYD unveils 45-foot electric commuter coach bus

Chinese EV startup Nio raises $1 billion in new funding


45 Workhorse’s plug-in pickup truck draws $300 million in pre-orders 46 Lamborghini collaborates with MIT on electric supercar concept

12 major cities pledge to procure only zero-emission buses from 2025

47 BYD delivers electric automated side-loader refuse truck to Palo Alto IDENTIFICATION STATEMENT CHARGED Electric Vehicles Magazine (ISSN: 24742341) November/December 2017, Issue #34 is published bi-monthly by Electric Vehicles Magazine LLC, 4121 52nd Ave S, Saint Petersburg, FL 33711-4735. Periodicals Postage Paid at Saint Petersburg, FL and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to CHARGED Electric Vehicles Magazine, Electric Vehicles Magazine LLC at 4121 52nd Ave S, Saint Petersburg, FL 33711-4735.


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70 EV Safe Charge

Connecting the dots for charging installations


VGI’s coming of age Automakers, utilities and charging companies are developing business models for vehicle-grid integration that could dramatically change the economic case for electrification


64 ABB launches 150-350 kW DC fast charger

Giant utility Enel acquires charger manufacturer eMotorWerks

65 Polish city to deploy 47 e-buses and citywide charging network

Shell acquires Dutch charging network NewMotion

66 Fastned wins 4-million-euro grant to build 25 fast charging stations


DOE to award up to $15 million for extreme fast charging

67 EVgo’s new mobile app starts a DC fast charge with just a swipe

California eHighway uses overhead lines to charge trucks en route

68 Hubject expands into the US and China

Automakers launch joint venture to build 350 kW European network

69 ABB’s Autocharge enables charging with no card or app required

Multiforce’s FuelForce EV fuel management system for fleets


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EV detractors have been crowing about the cost of EVs for decades. They’ve pointed to tax incentives and the lofty price tags of Tesla’s first three vehicles as signs that EVs are a pipe dream. With each passing quarterly report, we’re treated to an avalanche of articles about how much money Tesla is losing per quarter, month, day, hour, as it ramps up new production lines and builds new factories for Model 3. Many reports have also been published about the losses incurred by the major automakers while investing in first- and second-generation plug-in platforms. However, drawing conclusions about long-term profitability from this type of analysis is misguided. If there’s one thing that the big automakers are good at, it’s driving out costs in complex systems. The reality of building cars is that development costs are incredibly high and margins are low. Auto design cycles are very long. It takes time to crack the cost code and then reach scale. The ICE vehicles that the world drives today are remarkably affordable when you consider their complexity and the amount of engineering that went into reliably producing them at scale. That didn’t happen overnight, and it won’t for EVs either. However, automakers are now indicating that they can see EV profitability on the horizon and it’s full speed ahead to get there, at least at GM. GM says it plans to launch a new family of EVs in 2021 that will actually earn money for the company. “We are committed to a future electric vehicle portfolio that will be profitable,” CEO Mary Barra told investors at the recent Barclays Global Automotive Conference. The company plans to build at least 9 models on the new 2021 EV platform, including a compact crossover, a large luxury SUV and a commercial van. Meanwhile, the company will introduce 3 new EVs by 2020, including two crossovers, that will share basic components with the Bolt. GM says it’s developing a new battery system that will bring costs down by over 30 percent. By 2021, the company aims to cut costs from the current $145 per kWh to less than $100 per kWh, at the same time increasing the range of its vehicles to over 300 miles. Barra added that GM aims to be selling a million plug-in vehicles per year by 2026, many of them in China. GM’s China chief recently said the automaker and its joint-venture partners will be able to meet the country’s 2019 EV mandates without purchasing credits from other companies. EV boosters have long dreamed of what could be accomplished if a major automaker unleashed its full resources on electrification. We may be about to find out. “We are not capital-constrained in our EV or [autonomous vehicle] development,” said Barra.


EVs are here. Try to keep up.

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Christian Ruoff Laurel Zimmer Charles Morris Markkus Rovito Jeremy Ewald Mary Rose Robinson Tome Vrdoljak Cover Image Courtesy of: Nissan Special Thanks to: Kelly Ruoff Sebastien Bourgeois Publisher: Associate Publisher : Senior Editor: Associate Editor: Account Executive: Graphic Designers:

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Photo courtesy of AKASOL

Photo courtesy of Visedo


AKASOL shows its new battery system for e-buses German battery builder AKASOL presented its new AKASYSTEM OEM battery system at the recent Busworld Europe trade show. AKASYSTEM OEM is a complete roof installation for commercial vehicles, including a chiller and other components. It features compact dimensions (150x700x1,700 mm) and a modular design. The new system integrates standardized PHEV battery modules from major manufacturers. “This fact alone is reflected in an economically attractive price-performance ratio,” says Sven Schulz, CEO of AKASOL. “Our customers also benefit from the economies of scale resulting from our serial production supply to various OEMs for electrically powered buses and trucks, as well as construction and special vehicles.” AKASYSTEM OEM is scalable, and can be adapted to match specific customer requirements. It uses a novel water/glycol cooling system which is designed to provide optimal thermal conditions. The system is designed to last for over 3,000 full cycles and can be charged at up to 500 kW. The standard version has a storage capacity of 24.4 kWh at a voltage of 661 V (nominal) and achieves a peak output of 150 kW. Energy and power can be scaled up by connecting an unlimited number of units in parallel. AKASOL says two “well-known European bus manufacturers” will be using the technology starting in 2018, equipping some 10,000 e-buses over the next few years. AKASOL is expanding its facilities to meet growing demand - it has plans for two new production sites with more than 3,700 square meters of space, and eventually aims to expand capacity to 600 MWh per year (enough to equip 2,000 to 3,000 buses).


Visedo’s SRPM motors for buses claim 10% more power, better cooling Finnish manufacturer Visedo has unveiled a new electric motor design optimized for the e-bus market. Visedo says its new S-model PowerDRUM has achieved a 10% increase in power output, as well as better cooling. The company has upgraded its entire PowerDRUM line, which includes motors in 4 different sizes, ranging from 50 to 343 kW. Visedo’s drivetrains are based on synchronous reluctance assisted permanent magnet (SRPM) technology, which the company says combines the benefits of PM and synchronous reluctance technology, and features increased torque capability over a wide speed range. The supply current to the machine stator windings creates a rotating magnetic field, which in turn rotates the rotor, which contains permanent magnets. The rotation of the rotor is synchronized with the frequency of the power supply current, and the reluctance technology maximizes the pull­out torque of the machine. Visedo says its SRPM motors offer smaller dimensions, lighter weight and higher efficiency compared to both induction machines and standard permanent magnet motors. Visedo has PowerDRUM projects underway with Linkker in Finland (powering Helsinki’s first all-electric buses) and Hybricon Bus Systems in Sweden, and recently started a project with Ledgent Technology in Taiwan. Further announcements for Asian markets are expected in coming months.

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BMW takes steps to ensure more responsible production of cobalt

Magna forms e-powertrain joint venture in China Global automotive supplier Magna has formed a joint venture with Huayu Automotive Systems, a subsidiary of SAIC Motor. The JV’s first product will be an electric-drive powertrain for a German automaker, destined for the Chinese market. Both partners aim to develop localized core competencies in R&D, manufacturing and key parts. Magna is no newcomer to electrification. For nearly 10 years, it has been supporting customers in the US and Europe with products for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, including motors, gearboxes, inverters and control software. “The new-energy vehicle market will continue to grow at a rapid speed in China,” said Mr. Chen Zhixin, President of SAIC Motor. “With this trend, SAIC Motor is developing the New Four Modernization strategy, focusing on car electrification, connectivity, intelligence, and sharing economy.” “China is the number-one growth market in the world, and they have been clear about their intended leadership in bringing hybrid and electric vehicles to market,” said Magna CEO Don Walker.


And the dirty little secret of EVs is…cobalt. The metallic element is used in significant quantities in EV batteries. Unfortunately, about half the world’s cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a war-torn land in which working conditions are bad, and child labor is common. In 2014, as many as 40,000 children worked in mines in the DRC, many of them mining cobalt, according to UNICEF. Some battery makers are working to reduce their use of costly and controversial cobalt - South Korean cell makers SK Innovation and LG Chem will soon be selling NCM 811 cells, which use half as much cobalt as their current NCM 622 cells. Automakers are also hoping to develop new sources of cobalt in Canada. However, the BMW Group has concluded that “risks related to environmental standards and human rights cannot be completely eliminated in cobalt mining,” and has set a goal of improving the transparency of its battery cell supply chain and improving conditions in the DRC. BMW is one of many companies that participate in the Responsible Cobalt Initiative, which seeks to implement measures to overcome social and environmental risks in the cobalt supply chain. By the end of this year, BMW will release information on smelters and countries of origin for its raw materials. It is also working on a feasibility study to explore how the social and ecological situation in the DRC can be improved by sponsoring model mines. “The BMW Group does not procure any cobalt itself; it only comes into contact with this raw material through the purchase of battery cells,” said Ursula Mathar, head of Sustainability and Environmental Protection at the BMW Group. “However, we are well aware that growing demand for electric vehicles also goes hand-in-hand with a responsibility for the extraction of relevant raw materials, such as cobalt. We aim to establish a transparent and sustainable supply chain that meets the highest standards.”

DOE awards Saratoga Energy $1 million to commercialize its battery tech Berkeley, California-based Saratoga Energy has won a million-dollar Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant from the DOE to help commercialize its process for synthesizing graphite from carbon dioxide. “Graphite is an essential material in advanced lithium-ion batteries,” said Drew Reid, Saratoga Energy’s CEO. “Our process

companies developing batteries; and further refining the company’s production and post-production processes. “To get a Phase II grant, you have to show a clear and logical path toward commercialization. We have a few more steps to go before commercialization, and this grant will help get us there,” Reid said.

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Photo courtesy of Bosch


Bosch introduces new 48 V Li-ion battery for mild hybrids Bosch has introduced a new 48-volt Li-ion battery for mild hybrids. The pack configuration is 12s1p, with 8 Ah NMC/ graphite cells. Charge power is 13 kW, and discharge power is 11 kW. The package weighs less than 7 kg, and is standardized for easy integration into new vehicle models. Production is scheduled to start in late 2018. Bosch says it is already in talks with over a dozen customers for the new battery, and has secured a number of production projects. The battery requires no active cooling, and its housing is made of plastic to reduce costs. Lithium-ion cells expand during charging and over the course of the unit’s service life, so the housing must withstand a certain amount of stress. Bosch engineers rearranged the cells so that the plastic housing can bear the pressure. Anticipating a large market for entry-level hybrids, Bosch offers several powertrain components for these models. The company estimates that some 15 million 48volt hybrid vehicles will be on the road by 2025. “We at Bosch have long been making up-front investments in electromobility,” says Dr. Mathias Pillin, Head of Electromobility at Bosch. “There are already well over 500,000 electric and hybrid cars fitted with Bosch components. The company invests 400 million euros a year in electromobility. Bosch has years of experience from more than 30 production projects, including in the manufacture of batteries, and that expertise is now bearing fruit.”


Fisker files patents on solidstate battery tech Reborn automaker Fisker has filed patents for a new type of solid-state battery technology that it says could lead to much greater energy density and faster charging times. According to Fisker, current limitations of solid-state technology include low electrode current density, limited temperature ranges and non-scalable manufacturing processes. Other drawbacks include: low power and low rate capability due to high contact resistance and low ionic mobility in the layered electrode structures; delamination issues due to volume changes and residual stresses during charge/discharge processes; dendrite penetration and stability vs. metallic lithium electrodes; and low ionic diffusion, particularly in low temperatures. Fisker reports that its solid-state technology enables the construction of bulk three-dimensional solid-state electrodes with 25 times more surface area than flat thinfilm solid-state electrodes and extremely high electronic and ionic conductivities. Fisker claims its battery delivers 2.5 times the energy density of current batteries. Once the technology is fully validated, Fisker estimates that the battery could deliver a vehicle range of 500 miles, and charging times as low as one minute. The company predicts that the new technology may be ready for automotive applications by 2023. However, it is in discussions with various industrial groups about non-automotive applications that could be implemented earlier. “Our aggressive vision for the entire EV and automotive industry, not just for Fisker, revolves around making the impossible, possible - and this solid-state battery breakthrough is reflective of our seriousness in making that vision a reality,” said CEO Henrik Fisker. “It used to be about the efficiency of the gasoline engine. Now, it’s all about who breaks the code and smashes the barriers to future battery technologies that will enable mass-market electrification.” “This breakthrough marks the beginning of a new era in solid-state materials and manufacturing technologies,” said VP of Battery Systems Dr. Fabio Albano. “We are addressing all of the hurdles that solid-state batteries have encountered on the path to commercialization, such as performance in cold temperatures; the use of low-cost and scalable manufacturing methods; and the ability to form bulk solid-state electrodes with significant thickness and high active material loadings.”

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Photo courtesy of Miltec

Photos courtesy of BMW


BMW’s Chinese JV opens battery factory in Shenyang Miltec’s new ceramic coating for anodes improves performance and reduces cost Maryland-based Miltec UV has introduced a new system to coat Li-ion battery anodes with a ceramic coating designed to improve performance and safety while reducing cost. The advance is enabled by the use of binders that cure instantly upon exposure to UV light, in combination with an application technique that coats just the surface of the anode without plugging the pores. Miltec UV has developed a commercial-scale demonstration unit, the CX400, that’s capable of coating and curing over 100 m/min on anodes up to 440 mm in width. The coating thickness is typically 2-4 microns. The CX400 is a compact 4 meters in length. “This innovation allows lithium-ion battery manufacturers to offer batteries with improved safety without concerns over separator shrinkage,” said Miltec UV President Bob Blandford.


The BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture has opened a new battery factory in Shenyang, China. The High-Voltage Battery Center will supply the nearby Dadong plant, which will produce the BMW 5 Series Plug-in Hybrid for the local market. BMW produces electrified vehicles at ten locations worldwide. The high-voltage batteries needed for these models come from the BMW Group plants in Dingolfing, Spartanburg and now Shenyang.

“The innovative High-Voltage Battery Centre in Shenyang is an important step in the BMW Group’s electromobility strategy,” said BMW Board Member Oliver Zipse. “By 2025, we expect our electrified BMW and MINI models to account for between 15 and 25 per cent of global sales. This adds up to several hundred thousand vehicles per year. It therefore makes sense for us to integrate electromobility into the existing production system.”

UK government invests $86 million in battery research institute

A consortium of 7 prominent UK universities will form the Faraday Battery Institute, a new £65-million ($86 million) institute for battery research and technology. The Institute will cooperate with industry partners to accelerate fundamental research to develop battery technologies. The Faraday Research Challenge is divided into 3 streams – research, innovation and scale-up - and aims to transform the UK’s research into market-ready technologies. “Through the Faraday Research Challenge we are cementing our position as the ‘go-to’ destination for battery technology so we can exploit the global transition to a low-carbon economy,” said UK Business Secretary

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Photo courtesy of Delta-Q

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Delta-Q expands family of lithium battery chargers for EVs and industrial machines Delta-Q Technologies has introduced a new addition to its family of lithium battery chargers. The new ICL900 is a 900 W charger, designed to charge battery systems of any lithium-ion chemistry from 9 to 15 cells in series. The new charger is suitable for use on any electric machine, including scooters, floor care machines, lift trucks, and sports and utility vehicles. The ICL900 has a maximum output voltage of 57 V, and uses custom algorithms to optimize battery performance and life. It features CAN-bus communications, has an IP66 rating to protect against dirt and fluids, and is designed to resist vibration, shock and temperature extremes. Featuring a wide AC input range, the charger can operate on any single-phase electrical grid around the world. Its customizable, field-replaceable cable is designed to provide OEMs with flexibility in design and deployment. “The new ICL900 is a perfect complement to our OEM customers as they incorporate lithium technologies into their products,” says Delta-Q VP Trent Punnett.


Northvolt to build battery gigafactory in Sweden Battery manufacturer Northvolt has announced a partnership with the two Swedish towns of Skellefteå and Västerås to establish a battery manufacturing facility. Skellefteå, part of a raw material and mining cluster in the north of Sweden, will be the location of Northvolt’s main production site, which will include material preparation, cell assembly and recycling. The factory will employ 2,000-2,500 people. Construction is scheduled to begin during the second half of 2018. When the first phase is completed in 2020, it will produce 8 GWh of battery capacity per year. The full factory, to be completed in 2023, will produce 32 GWh per year. Västerås will host Northvolt’s R&D facility, including a demonstration line which will be used to qualify and industrialize products and processes. The Västerås operations will employ 300-400 people. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2019. “Sweden has a unique position to establish large-scale battery production with its clean and affordable energy, proximity to raw materials, and a strong industrial tradition,” said Northvolt CEO Peter Carlsson. “This is the ideal operational setup for Northvolt. It meets the fundamental requirements for a large-scale battery factory, such as access to energy, infrastructure and skilled labor. It will also enable us to leverage a world-class electrification cluster to develop green and cost-efficient batteries together with our customers and partners.”

Photo courtesy of SF Motors

SF Motors acquires Martin Eberhard’s battery module startup InEVit SF Motors, a Chinese-backed company with big plans to build next-generation EVs, has announced the acquisition of InEVit, a battery modularization startup headed by Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard. Eberhard was already working with SF Motors as a strategic advisor, and will now serve as Chief Innovation Officer and Vice Chairman of the Board. InEVit has been working on a chemistry- and form-factor-agnostic battery module design. With this merger, SF Motors aims to further increase its investment in the development of e-powertrain systems and broaden its licensing and supply relationships with global OEM customers. “I have truly enjoyed working with SF Motors and

playing a role in the company’s strategic vision, and am excited to join the company along with the rest of the InEVit family as we work to establish the next great milestone in clean mobility,” said Eberhard. “As a visionary in the EV space and one of the most respected names in the industry, Mr. Eberhard has been an invaluable advisor to SF Motors,” said Xinghai Zhang, Chairman of SF Motors and its parent company, the Sokon Group. “We look forward to welcoming him to the company as we work to build the next generation of clean, intelligent vehicles.”

§ § § §



By Jeffrey Jenkins



Figure 1: Resistive, Inductive and Capacitive Loads

ower Factor Correction (PFC) used to be something that electronics manufacturers only grudgingly added to a product - usually because of complaints about breakers tripping prematurely, or to meet regulatory requirements in the EU - but these days PFC is showing up in more and more products. While one should never underestimate the ability of a good marketing department to turn a dull regulatory requirement into a desirable feature, PFC is actually beneficial, both for the electrical grid/utility and the end user/customer. Power Factor (PF) - usually given as a number between 0 and 1 - describes the ratio of real (or useful) power, given in Watts (W), to apparent power, given in Volt * Amps (VA). Apparent power is the vector sum of both real and reactive power, so PF is another way of expressing the percentage of useful power. Reactive power, also specified in VA or VAR (for, you guessed it, VA-Reactive) does not do anything useful; it is the result of current sloshing back and forth between the source (e.g. the AC mains) and an energystoring element in the load (i.e. inductance or capacitance). For example, the magnetic ballast once commonly used in fluorescent lamps had a power factor of 0.7, so 143 VA of apparent power was drawn for every 100 W of real power (100 / 0.7); on 120 VAC mains that translates into drawing 1.19 A instead of 0.83 A. The PF of the typical full-wave rectifier with capacitor filter in power supplies is even worse: around 0.6. This results in a measured current that is 1.67 times over that which is doing useful work! To put it into more concrete terms, a 50 A branch circuit on 240 VAC mains loaded to


PFC is actually beneficial, both for the electrical grid/utility and the end user/customer. the NEC-allowed limit of 80% can safely supply 9,600 W; an EV charger without PFC (so a PF of 0.6) would max that branch circuit out at 5,760 W, because at that point it would be drawing current equivalent to a 9,600 W charger with a PF of 1! Utilities really hate low PF loads because the typical electromechanical kWh meter only responds to real power - the reactive current flowing to the load causes the meter to advance, only to reverse when the reactive current flows back to the source. Reactive current doesn’t do any real work, but it does incur real power losses in the resistance of the wiring, and these losses must be offset by increased generating capacity. This is why virtually all utilities in the US penalize commercial and industrial customers for poor power factor (and with the rise of smart meters, residential customers might get dinged for low PF in the future); the EU went a step farther and decided to make high power factor a regulatory requirement (see EN 61000-3-2). Another way of describing power factor is as a phase shift between the voltage and current waveforms (assuming both are sinusoidal - see Fig. 1). The greater the angular differ-

NOV/DEC 2017


Figure 2: Peaky vs. PFC current

ence (up to the maximum of 90°) the higher the reactive power component (and the lower the power factor). Europeans seem to be fond of this approach, and it can be identified by the use of the phrase “cos phi” or “cos Φ” followed by a number between 0 and 1 (so, same as PF, which can be confusing, even to engineers). For example, if cos Φ is 0.85 then the phase shift between voltage and current is 31.8°. These days a different cause of poor power factor has become more prevalent: capacitor input filters in switchmode power supplies draw “peaky” currents from the AC mains (see Fig. 2). The peak of the current nearly coincides with the peak of the voltage, but the PF is low because current is only drawn over a narrow portion of the sine wave. This greatly increases the harmonic content (the total harmonic distortion, or THD) of the current waveform relative to the voltage, and limiting THD is the precise aim of directive EN 61000-3-2 (often referred to as the European “power factor” directive). This issue became more prevalent as semiconductors replaced tubes (valves)


because tube rectifiers have a fairly low peak current rating, so some form of current-limiting impedance between the rectifier and filter capacitor was required. For low-power (or “built to a price”) circuits a resistor would suffice, but for higher-power and/or better-quality circuits a choke (filter inductor) was ideal, because it improved voltage regulation and also reduced peak current (using a resistor to limit charging current into the filter capacitor worsens voltage regulation, of course). The ratio of the peak to RMS value of a waveform, or crest factor, is 1.414 for a sine wave supplying a pure resistance, but with a suitable value choke, the crest factor drops to near 1. Semiconductor diodes are much more tolerant of high peak currents, however, so it wasn’t long before the bulky and often expensive choke was dropped from power supply designs. Like so many things in engineering, though, this had some unintended consequences, because the crest factor of a straight capacitor input filter is typically between 2 and 10. Regardless of the regulatory requirements or the behavior of any particular circuit, the goal of PFC is to make the load behave as much like a pure resistance as possible: if the mains voltage waveform is a sinusoid then the load current should also be a sinusoid (with as close to 0° phase displacement as possible). Power factor correction can be

the goal of PFC is to make the load behave as much like a pure resistance as possible.

THE TECH as simple as wiring some capacitors across the mains, or as complicated as using a digital signal processor to control a 3-phase Vienna rectifier. Starting with the simplest solution, a capacitor can be wired across the AC mains to null out any inductance in

Power factor correction can be as simple as wiring some capacitors across the mains. Figure 3: PFC capacitor bank

the wiring up until that point or in the downstream load (see Fig. 3). It is also theoretically possible to wire an inductor in series with each phase of the AC mains to counteract any capacitive character in the load, but this is rarely (read: never) done because the grid wiring is already highly inductive to begin with (approximately 0.6 to 0.8 mH per km) and inductors are big, heavy and expensive. A related passive PFC technique is to use a resonant LC network tuned to a specific (always odd) harmonic to notch it out. This is commonly done in high-power products in which implementing some form of active PFC would be costprohibitive, unduly affect reliability, or both. One other method of correcting power factor that is definitely only used at very high power levels - think megawatt scale - is the wound-rotor synchronous motor. Over-exciting the field (rotor) will result in the stator windings presenting a leading (i.e. capacitive-like) PF, while under-exciting the rotor results in a lagging PF. Active PFC uses semiconductor switches and energy storage elements (again, inductors and/or capacitors) to shape input current so that it tracks input voltage while (usually) delivering a semi-regulated output voltage. The two most common techniques for active PFC are the nonisolated boost converter pre-regulator (which is followed by another switch-mode converter to provide isolation, voltage transformation, etc) and the discontinuous mode (DCM) isolated flyback converter (which is pretty much the only practical “single stage� converter solution - that is, it performs PFC, isolation, etc, all at once). There are many other topologies for accomplishing active PFC, but most of them - especially the other single-stage approaches - are either academic curiosities (good for getting a paper published and not much else), or otherwise not (yet) commercially attractive. Figure 4: CCM vs. DCM

Photo courtesy of Philippe Mertens

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Figure 5: Boost PFC pre-regulator

High-power devices like EV chargers invariably use a boost converter to perform active PFC. The DCM flyback is the isolated version of the buckboost converter, one of the three canonical switch-mode converters (the others being the buck and the boost). It is very popular at low power levels (up to 100 W) because it can handle a very wide input voltage range, deliver one or more transformer-isolated output voltages, and automatically perform PFC as long as the bandwidth of the output voltage regulation loop is really low (usually 5 or 6 Hz). This makes it unsuitable for driving highly dynamic loads, but it’s perfectly fine for charging a laptop or cell phone battery. Another disadvantage of the DCM flyback - and the reason it is confined to relatively low power levels - is that it subjects the switch/primary to high peak currents relative to its power throughput. This is because the current through the flyback primary drops to zero each switching cycle in DCM (see Fig. 4). Operation in CCM mitigates that problem, but peak current is still higher for the buck-boost compared to the boost. High-power devices like EV chargers - whether a compact onboard type rated for 3 kW or a CHAdeMO 100 kW


monster - invariably use a boost converter (see Fig. 5) to perform active PFC. A boost converter periodically shorts an inductor across the incoming supply, causing energy to build up in it, then when the switch opens an output diode directs that energy to a storage capacitor. The inductor acts like a current source in series with the input, then, so the output voltage is always higher than the input; in the case of 120 VAC mains, the output must exceed 170 V, while for 220-240 VAC mains it must exceed 340 V. Consequently, the output voltage of a boost PFC converter is typically set to 380-400 V to allow for worldwide operation. Note, however, that the output is not isolated from the input in a boost converter, while the output voltage regulation loop must be very slow to perform PFC - the same as with the DCM flyback - hence another switchmode converter is commonly used after the boost PFC stage to provide isolation and tighter regulation. Within reason, there is no real upper power limit for the CCM boost converter, but at the point at which it makes more sense to use 3ɸ (3-phase) AC mains - usually around the 10 kW level - a difficulty arises: it is not possible to both perform PFC and minimize line current distortion in each phase if the mains are full-wave rectified first, as is done in single-phase operation. This is because the instantaneous value of the voltage of any one phase at any specific point in time is lost in the resultant DC waveform (see Fig. 6), and this information is necessary to program a sinusoidal current in each phase. A single-switch boost converter at

THE TECH Figure 6: 3-phase full-wave rectifier and DC output

DC Fast Chargers must either use a separate boost converter on each phase, or else resort to more complicated schemes such as a PWM active rectifier.

the output of the 3ɸ rectifier can bring the PF up to around 0.9, but with very high THD in the current waveform, because it will effectively result in square wave currents being drawn from each phase. Thus, DC Fast Chargers (DCFCs) - which are usually supplied by 3ɸ AC mains - must either use a separate boost converter on each phase, or else resort to more complicated schemes, such as a PWM active rectifier. The simplest example of the latter is the same inverter circuit that is used to drive the traction motor, except operating in reverse (that is, it converts 3ɸ AC into DC, rather than the other way around). However, even the EU doesn’t (yet) mandate PF or THD limits for high-power, hardwired devices like DCFCs, so if any PFC is performed it will likely be with the aforementioned single-switch boost converter rather than a PWM active rectifier.

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ZONE n the eyes of an EV driver, the success of the battery is measured in a completely binary way: does the battery last the life of the vehicle, or not? In fact, the best praise you can give any battery - whether in your laptop, phone, or EV - is not to have to think about it at all. While the chemistry and material science of batteries continue to improve, there are still external factors that affect battery performance. For example, at low temperatures, a battery’s available capacity decreases significantly. For cold climates, this fact is a huge challenge for EV designers. “Batteries suffer from the Goldilocks syndrome,” explains Mike Kelly, founder and President of Calienté. “They don’t like it too hot or too cold. They like it just right.”



Calienté explains that battery pack heating is just as important as cooling

By Michael Alba

Calienté is an Indiana-based designer and manufacturer of thermal systems for a variety of markets, from the telecom industry to military equipment to their latest venture, EVs. Calienté has designed and developed several solutions to circumvent the problem of batteries getting too cold, a problem which, according to Kelly, has been largely neglected. “It’s one of those things where cooling is the 800-pound gorilla in the thermal world, and then heating is an afterthought that you get to later,” he says.

How to heat a battery Battery cooling has been a technology of interest in the EV market for some time, so cooling technology has had more of a chance to mature than heating. However, several methods of battery heating have been developed,

THE TECH Photos courtesy of Calienté

Calienté immersion heater

Cooling is the 800-pound gorilla in the thermal world, and then heating is an afterthought that you get to later. some making use of existing thermal solutions. “We saw there were three main ways to cool battery packs,” Kelly explains of Calienté’s foray into EV battery heating. “Once batteries have a cold plate and fins and a coolant system in place, it’s way easier to use that to heat than to reinvent the wheel and try to do something else. So we said, let’s find a way to tap into that cooling architecture.” The three heating technologies Calienté developed reflect different cooling system architectures. The first, an immersion heater, can be deployed in coolant-based cooling systems. In this system, a heater heats the coolant to achieve the opposite of its normal cooling effect. “These are PTC, which stands for Positive Temperature Coefficient,” Kelly describes. “What that means is that as the temperature rises, the resistance of the heater will rise. And with constant voltage, that means your wattage starts to drop. The automotive market likes it because it’s a self-regulating effect. It’s got a built-in safety feature without having to complicate their controls.” Another approach to battery heating is a radiatorbased system, which gives off heat via finned radiator elements. “The radiator would be used on an air-cooled system,” says Kelly. “Those are typically the lower-cost or the smaller packs. It’s not very efficient, but it tends to be one of the more cost-effective ways.”

Calienté radiator-based system

Calienté pad heater

NOV/DEC 2017


Calienté pad heater

Photos courtesy of Calienté

However, the third heating system is the one Calienté is most excited about. Referred to as a pad heater, this technology is used in cooling systems that have a cold plate built in. By embedding a thin heating pad into this cold plate, Calienté can bypass the coolant and heat cells directly. “The pad is right within the cold plate,” explains Kelly. “In these types of cooling systems, they bond the battery pack modules onto a cold plate to cool it. Picture a large plate with fins going up between the stacks in the modules that pull heat out of the system. We can drive heat from that plate back up through those fins into the system.”

Pad heating While Kelly is careful not to try to predict the future, he’s very optimistic about the pad-style approach for battery heating. “We always say we’ll go where the market goes, and we’ve got all three technologies,” he emphasizes. “But the pad heater seems to be the best potential fit. And that’s direct feedback from one of the larger pack companies.” Because of its novel approach in making use of the cold plate, Calienté’s pad heater offers a number of advantages over other heating solutions. “What we thought is, let’s actually embed a heater pad within the cold plate,” Kelly says. “So instead of having an isolated


Instead of having an isolated element somewhere far away from the pack, and fluid lines that lose energy as you move the fluid through the line, we put it right at the source. element somewhere far away from the pack, and fluid lines that lose energy as you move the fluid through the line, we put it right at the source. That way we can spread the heat out much more evenly and bring the pack up to temperature in a much more uniform manner. And OEMs don’t have to worry about a certain cell getting hotter than the others, because we can vary the watt density and all that.” Furthermore, because of the small size of the heating pad, this approach doesn’t demand any trade-off to the existing cooling system. “These parts are only about eleven thousandths of an inch thick. We can put that in the cold plate and not impact the cooling performance,” says Kelly. In spite of the early promise of pad-style heating, it

THE TECH wasn’t until Calienté engaged the market that the team realized exactly what they had on their hands. “At first we thought it would just be for refrigerant-based systems, because refrigerant is not very thermally conductive,” recalls Kelly. “It’s difficult to move heat through refrigerant, so we thought this is kind of the perfect solution for that. But what we found in engaging the market is that it’s much more efficient for even coolantbased systems to use something like the pad approach. It’s because you’re heating much more directly, you’ve got the PTC effect in place, it’s lower weight, and it’s lower cost than an immersion heater will typically be.”

The road to the Goldilocks zone Although OEMs have largely focused on battery cooling in the past, Kelly suggests that the EV market seems to be ready to finally embrace battery heating. “Like I said, it’s been one of these things where they took care of the cooling problem first. But I think the market is finally realizing that they’re going to need [heating] if they’re

going to sell EVs in places beyond California. So we’re seeing it in more and more applications.” As for Calienté, its technology is being explored by a number of OEMs and battery pack manufacturers, and is even on the road in some markets. “We have some elements in EV buses overseas,” says Kelly. “And we’re in pre-production validation build on a big project that will be launched in Europe late 2019, and on a couple of cost-reduction projects for current vehicles.” If EVs are to continue gaining popularity in climates other than the sunny paradise of Silicon Valley, battery heating systems will become just as necessary as their cooling counterparts. And if Calienté’s pad heaters are as effective as Kelly claims, they’re sure to be a competitive player in this emerging thermal domain. “It’s very rare in the heating world that you’re able to bring this much innovation that ticks this many boxes in a theory that’s relatively in its infancy,” says Kelly. “Hence the excitement on our end. We kind of caught lightning in a bottle, so to speak.”



Photos courtesy of Pi Innovo


with Pi Innovo’s M560 OpenECU


hen you see the name Pi Innovo, your first thought might be of the famous mathematical constant that begins with 3.14. If you read it too quickly, you might be reminded of Pinocchio, the delightful tale of a physically deformed puppet. But from now on, when you see Pi Innovo, here’s what you should think of: safe, simple and customizable Electronic Control Units (ECUs). Pi Innovo began 27 years ago, evolving from a research project at Cambridge University to develop heavy-duty diesel engine control hardware and software. Today, the company produces custom embedded controllers for a variety of applications, including vehicle control units for EVs and hybrids. It has also developed electric parking brake controllers, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) controllers for military applications, and a number of custom controllers for major OEMs.

NOV/DEC 2017


The M560 OpenECU Pi Innovo’s newest ECU, the M560 OpenECU, is geared toward rapid prototyping and low-to-medium volume production of EVs and hybrids. The M560 supports supervisory control applications through a combination of ease of use, safety, and customizability. “We’re trying to provide all the service, all the support, all the high-level engineering, the rigorous functional safety design,” explains Dwight Hansell, Vice President of Business Development, “for those customers who aren’t the really high-volume guys, but really need that level of service, support, quality and reliability in their ECUs.” Contained in a rugged package, the M560 packs two powerful microprocessors, four Controller Area Network (CAN) 2.0 communication channels, 112 pins of flexible I/O, and integrated charging interface circuitry, among other features. One of the most appealing of these is the M560’s compatibility with MathWorks’ Simulink development environment. “We provide an API for developing control applications that works through Simulink, so it’s a very industry-standard way of doing model-based development,” says Adrian Carnie, VP of New Business Development. “We always make sure that our platform software is compatible with the latest MathWorks releases, so our customers can work with the latest industry-standard model-based design tools,” adds Senior Hardware Engineer Gordan Jurasek. The M560 also puts safety first, as it was developed in compliance with the ISO26262 safety standard. According to Jurasek, this is a timesaving shortcut that will go a long way to helping OEMs develop safe vehicles quickly. “Our product actually has that rigor built into it,” he says. “And we have the appropriate documentation and engineering support at the systems level to help engineering teams make new energy vehicles, and make them safe in a rigorous fashion.” Specifically designed for the EV/hybrid market, the


Photos courtesy of Pi Innovo

For those customers who aren’t the really high-volume guys, but really need that level of service, support, quality and reliability in their ECUs.


We think there’s any number of people out there that are doing various electrification or hybrid programs that would need this type of unit. M560 is in various stages of development in a growing list of vehicles, including a PHEV, an EV, an electric bus, and a hybrid off-road recreational vehicle. “They have a customizable, proven, automotive-level, fully-functional, safe ECU, and they don’t have to tool up anything to do it, they can just use it,” says Hansell. “We think there’s any number of people out there that are doing various electrification or hybrid programs that would need this type of unit. They won’t have to do a lot of development except whatever their application needs are.”

Custom ECUs and engineering support Although the M560 OpenECU is an appealing option for many EV/hybrid supervisory control applications, sometimes you need a more tailored fit. One of Pi Innovo’s greatest assets is its capacity to customize - the company is more than willing to work with customers to develop an ECU to their exact specifications. “A big portion of our business is pure custom ECUs,” explains Hansell. “So if a customer needs something custom, say they want a design to be cross-optimized for

NOV/DEC 2017



high volume, that’s a significant portion of our business. And we’re happy to support people doing those kinds of things as well.” If you’re looking for an ECU that’s only slightly different than what’s on offer, Pi Innovo is also happy to help. Though the M560 was designed specifically for the EV/ hybrid market segment, some customers may need slight tweaks to accommodate their specific requirements. No problem, says Hansell. “That’s one of the big advantages we have: to customize our hardware. So the customers don’t need to compromise their system, they can get exactly what they need. In fact, Gordan and I just got off a phone call with a European customer about a highend luxury EV that they’re doing. They needed a few changes to accommodate some of their circuit needs. So Gordan worked with them, defined the exact changes they needed, and we are able to create specific custom variants of the M560 that will meet their exact needs.” The support doesn’t stop at customization. For customers that want it, Pi Innovo will help fine-tune their systems and ensure their EVs are production-ready. “For the customers who desire that support, we can send a team of our engineers to help them go through all the final calibrations and make sure the vehicle is ready for production,” says Hansell. “Some customers have the confidence to do that themselves, so it depends on the customer. But we have the guys who can go and help the customer get it to the point where it’s ready for saleable vehicles to end customers.” For customers who use the M560 for low-to-mediumvolume production, and “hit the jackpot,” as Jurasek puts it - begin to sell more than they bargained for - there are no concerns with scaling up production to a different controller. Because the M560 doesn’t lock anything down into a proprietary system, these customers won’t have to redo any of their engineering efforts. “If you actually hit the jackpot and you’re going to be selling tens of thousands, your software work, your


Photos courtesy of Pi Innovo

If you actually hit the jackpot and you’re going to be selling tens of thousands, your software work, your calibration work, your control work, it’s not trapped in some proprietary system.

calibration work, your control work, it’s not trapped in some proprietary system,” explains Jurasek. “It is fully industry-standard in terms of controls. So you can move it to whatever you want very quickly and easily, and you’re not trapped.” “With OpenECU, you can grab a piece of hardware off the shelf and you can take your bright idea and get it working on your bench or in your garage or on your test track, in days or weeks,” says Jurasek. “We can get you up and running to demonstrate that your concept works.”




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This is big: big event, big truck, big battery...and big implications for the trucking industry, the global economy and the future of humans in the workforce. The media (not only the EV press, but also outlets focusing on business and the trucking industry) has been in full speculation mode about the Tesla Semi for months, but it’s safe to say that few expected the electric tractor to be as cool as it was shown to be at the November reveal event (to say nothing of a little surprise Tesla was hiding in the trailer). Master showman Elon Musk started the presentation by describing the new truck’s “BAMF performance” (what the acronym stands for is best left to the imagination). The Tesla Semi will accelerate from 0-60 in 5 seconds empty, and in 20 seconds with a full 80,000-pound load, more than twice as quickly as a legacy diesel truck. It can do 65 mph up a 5% grade - the best diesels can only reach 45 mph. Is that important? Absolutely. Semis may not compete on the drag strip, but time is money in the trucking business, and quicker acceleration could trim valuable minutes from trip times, especially in mountainous regions. There are 4 motors - one on each of the rear wheels and an independent front suspension. Driving range is 500 miles at maximum weight at highway speeds. Musk says the Tesla Semi will be able to charge to 400 miles of range in 30 minutes - that compares favorably to a diesel truck, which can take up to 15 minutes to refuel. A new network of Megachargers will be deployed along the highways. “Every truck we sell will have enhanced autopilot as standard,” said Musk. This includes such safety features as emergency braking and lane-keeping. Several other features contribute to what Musk called “a massive increase in safety.” The truck’s low center of gravity reduces the risk of rollover, and the 4 motors, with individually adjustable torque, are designed to make jackknifing, the dread of drivers, impossible. A few other little touches demonstrate that Tesla


listened to experts in the trucking industry during the design process. “Thermonuclear-explosion-proof glass” may sound like an unnecessary frill (shades of Model X’s Bioweapon Defense Mode) until you learn that truck windshields tend to crack about once per year, resulting in huge expenses not only for replacing the glass, but for the downtime that results. The Tesla app offers remote diagnostics, predictive maintenance and location tracking. What about reliability? Tesla will guarantee that the truck won’t break down for a million miles. Thanks to regenerative braking, the brake pads should last basically forever. Cost savings? Musk promises that the Tesla Semi will cost 20% less per mile than a legacy truck - $1.26/mile versus $1.51/mile - or less. Tesla will guarantee electricity rates of $0.07 per kWh to Semi owners. Production is scheduled to begin in 2019. Customers are already starting to place orders. Bloomberg reports that retail giant Wal-Mart has preordered 5 trucks for the US and 10 for Canada. “We have a long history of testing new technology - including alternative-fuel trucks - and we are excited to be among the first to pilot this new heavy-duty electric vehicle,” said Wal-Mart spokesman Kory Lundberg. Arkansas-based logistics company J.B. Hunt Transport Services has also reserved several Tesla Semis, which it plans to deploy on the West Coast. “We believe electric trucks will be most beneficial on local and dray routes, and we look forward to utilizing this new, sustainable technology,” said CEO John Roberts. Canadian supermarket chain Loblaw has pre-ordered 25 units. “It’s part of our commitment to electrify our fleet,” spokeswoman Catherine Thomas told CTV News. DHL Supply Chain has ordered 10 trucks, saying, “The trucks will be used for shuttle runs and same-day customer deliveries, and will be tested for fuel efficiency on longer runs.”

Photos courtesy of Tesla

Tesla Semi hits the highway with a bang


Next-gen Tesla Roadster will be the fastest car ever produced The Tesla Semi promises to revolutionize the trucking industry, with unpredictable effects on our economy and society. But for lovers of electric speed, the big rig was upstaged at the reveal event by a smaller vehicle that rolled out of the trailer. The new Tesla Roadster will be the fastest production car ever made. It will do 0-60 mph in 1.9 seconds, and the quarter mile in 8.9 seconds, faster than exotic supercars such as the Bugatti Veyron, Porsche 918 Spyder and McLaren 720s. “These numbers sound nutty, but they’re real,” said Elon Musk as he ran down the specs for the upcoming EV. Top speed will be “above 250 mph.” The 200 kWh battery pack - by far Tesla’s largest ever - will deliver a range of 620 miles. Three motors - one on each rear wheel and one on the front axle - will deliver 4WD and a “stupid” 10,000 Nm of torque. “Driving a gasoline sports car,” said Musk, “is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche.” The new Roadster is a 4-seater, although “you can’t put giant people in the rear seats.” It’s also a convertible, and has “tons of storage.” It will be available in 2020. “Jump over the barriers!” shouted a jubilant Musk as he left the stage.

NOV/DEC 2017


Photo courtesy of Volvo

Photos courtesy of Daimler


Volvo and Geely invest in Polestar, announce new plug-in vehicles for China Volvo Cars and its owner, China-based Geely Holding, will jointly invest RMB 5 billion ($756 million) to support the initial phase of Volvo subsidiary Polestar’s development. Among other things, the funds will be used to establish a Polestar manufacturing facility in Chengdu, China. Polestar has revealed its first production model. The Polestar 1 is a two-door, four-seat plug-in hybrid coupé that is to go into production in Chengdu in mid-2019. It will have 600 hp, 1,000 N·m of torque, and a 93-mile electric range. The electrified performance car features a carbon fiber body and a double electric rear axle that enables torque vectoring. Around half of the Polestar 1’s technology is based on Volvo’s SPA modular vehicle architecture, while the remaining half is entirely new, created by Polestar engineers working within Volvo’s R&D department. Later in 2019, the brand will launch the Polestar 2, a mid-size pure EV. The next arrival, the Polestar 3, will be a larger SUV-style pure EV. A total of 5 fully electric Polestar- or Volvo-branded vehicles will be launched in China between 2019 and 2021.


Thomas, Blue Bird and IC Bus introduce electric school buses Three major school bus manufacturers - Thomas, Blue Bird and IC Bus - introduced battery-electric buses at the recent National Association for Pupil Transportation trade show in Columbus, Ohio. Daimler subsidiary Thomas Built Buses introduced the Saf-T-Liner C2 Electric Bus, affectionately known as Jouley, which has a capacity of 81 passengers and is to go into production in 2019. Jouley features a PowerDrive 7000ev powertrain from Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI), which provides 100-160 kWh of battery capacity and a baseline range of 100 miles. Additional battery packs can be added for more range. The Blue Bird Vision Electric Type C school bus uses a powertrain from ADOMANI, together with drivetrain and vehicle control software from EDI. It features a battery capacity of 150 kWh, up to 100 miles of range and a charging time under 8 hours. Blue Bird unveiled its Type D All American Rear-Engine Electric school bus in July, powered by the same ADOMANI/EDI partnership. The Navistar IC Electric Bus chargE is a concept vehicle developed with alliance partner Volkswagen Truck & Bus. Its powertrain can deliver up to 260 kW of power (349 peak hp), and a range of at least 120 miles. The company expects to launch its first unit in 2019.

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Photo courtesy of Ryder

Photos courtesy of Daimler


Ryder orders 125 electric panel vans from Chanje Fleet management specialist Ryder System (NYSE: R) has started to take delivery of 125 medium-duty electric panel vans from California-based Chanje, which will be available for lease or rent to customers in California, New York, and Illinois markets by the end of 2017. The Chanje delivery van is equipped to haul up to 6,000 pounds and up to 580 cubic feet of cargo. To support the new EVs, Ryder will equip its maintenance facilities with JuiceBox Pro 40 Level 2 charging stations from eMotorWerks. These smart chargers use the cloud-based JuiceNet control platform to intelligently manage EV charging, including remote access control, automatic energy management to avoid peak pricing, and algorithms to maximize charging with renewable energy. “The rollout of our new electric vehicle offering reinforces Ryder’s leadership in commercial vehicle technology solutions,” said Dennis Cooke, President, Global Fleet Management Solutions for Ryder. “This will further promote energy efficiency in the industry by allowing our rental and lease customers to implement electric vehicles into their operations on a short-term or longterm basis.” “There is a pent-up customer demand for commercial electric vehicles which makes today’s delivery of Chanje electric trucks to Ryder a significant milestone,” said Bryan Hansel, founder and CEO of Chanje.


Daimler shows heavy-duty truck at Tokyo show At the recent Tokyo Motor Show, Daimler showed a battery-powered heavy-duty truck, and declared the Fuso brand’s ambition to be “the frontrunner in electric trucking.” The E-Fuso Vision One prototype can carry 11 tons of cargo - 2 tons less than the payload of a comparable diesel model, because of the weight of the 300 kW battery packs - and has a 220-mile range. It’s mainly designed for shorter intra-city trips, and could go on sale within 4 years in Europe, Japan and the US.

The E-Fuso “underlines our commitment to electrify our entire product range,” said Daimler’s Asia truck chief Marc Llistosella. Fuso plans to add electric and hybrid options across its range of trucks and buses - it recently started production of the eCanter, a short-range light-duty van for urban deliveries.

Vespa electric scooter to arrive in 2018 The Vespa is one of the most iconic symbols of Italian life, familiar from 1953’s Roman Holiday and a hundred other beloved movies. Never one to be left behind by new trends, the company recently announced an electric version. The Vespa Elettrica will stay true to the 70-year-old brand’s venerable look, and will have “all the bells and whistles of the classic version but with some significant tech upgrades.” The electric wasp’s motor will deliver continuous power of 2 kW and peak power of

noise.” The annoying buzz of hundreds of Vespas has been a defining feature of Italian city streets for decades. Some may be happy to say arrivederci to the noise, but others may feel a twinge of nostalgia as yet another European tradition slips inexorably, like Hepburn and Peck, into the past.

More Efficiency. More Range. More Vroooooom.

Photos courtesy of Vespa

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4 kW. Vespa promises that acceleration will be significantly better than other scooters. Range will be approximately 62 miles, and charging time about 4 hours. An X version, with a small gas engine that doubles the scooter’s range, will also be available. Manufacturer The Piaggio Group will produce the Vespa Elettrica in Pontedera, Italy. The new scooter is scheduled to hit streets around the world in 2018. Vespa says the Elettrica will be completely silent, “so drivers can zip around the city without adding to the cacophony of urban

Photo courtesy of BYD

Photo courtesy of Nio


BYD unveils 45-foot electric commuter coach bus Electric bus manufacturer BYD unveiled what it says is the world’s first 45-foot battery-electric commuter coach bus at the recent APTA Expo. The company also showcased a 60-foot articulated transit bus, a 35-foot double-decker transit bus, a Class 5 cab chassis truck, and a battery-electric forklift. BYD now offers seven battery-electric coach and bus models, and has more than 27,000 electric buses in service around the globe. “BYD offers a battery-electric bus or coach to meet any operational or service route need a transit agency has in North America,” said BYD Heavy Industries Senior VP Macy Neshati. “Our buses reduce operating costs for customers, and that translates into large savings over the 12-year life of a bus. We also offer the industry’s only 12year battery warranty, so customers can have complete peace of mind when purchasing a BYD bus.”


Chinese EV startup Nio raises $1 billion in new funding Chinese EV startup Nio, formerly known as NextEV, has raised more than $1 billion in its latest fundraising round, led by existing investor Tencent Holdings, bringing the firm’s valuation to about $5 billion, Reuters reports. Nio, which was founded by Chinese internet entrepreneur William Li in 2014, plans to launch its first production car - the ES8 electric SUV - in December. Chairman Li boasted to Reuters in April that the new model would offer more features than Tesla’s Model X at a lower price.

Nio said in April it was forming an EV joint venture with China’s fourth-largest automaker, Chongqing Changan Automobile. The company has also announced plans to bring an autonomous EV to the US market by 2020.

Photo courtesy of Workhorse

Workhorse’s plug-in pickup truck draws $300 million in pre-orders Tesla isn’t the only company demonstrating pent-up demand for EVs. Workhorse Group (NASDAQ: WKHS) says it has received $300 million worth of pre-orders for its W-15 plug-in hybrid pickup truck. CEO Stephen Burns told Autoblog that soliciting advance orders was part of the company’s strategy. “We couldn’t build it and hope [customers] came,” he said. “We wanted to make sure there was an audience of customers.” However, even he was surprised at the level of interest: 4,560 letter-of-intent pre-orders came in following the pickup’s reveal event in May. The W-15 features dual electric motors providing a total of 460 hp, a payload of 2,200 pounds and a towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds. Workhorse expects to deliver its first trucks by late 2018, at an estimated price of $52,500 each. After the company satisfies its initial fleet orders, Burns said it will turn its attention to individual customers, who could hope to get a W-15 late in 2019. Workhorse may not be alone by the time it gets to market. Canadian company Havelaar has developed the Bison E-Pickup, and Bollinger Motors is working on a sport utility truck - and of course, Tesla has been talking about a pickup truck for some time. Meanwhile, Workhorse has begun testing its new N-Gen electric van, which features a lightweight composite body and an expected range of 100 miles. Options include a gas range extender and an integrated HorseFly Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Package Delivery System. “The new N-Gen platform represents a new day for last-mile delivery,” said Burns. “With agreements now in place to test and operate N-Gen vehicles in several cities across the United States, Workhorse continues to be on the front edge of transformative innovation in the commercial transportation sector.”

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini


Lamborghini collaborates with MIT on electric supercar concept Lamborghini’s Terzo Millennio concept car, unveiled at the recent EmTech conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is the first product of a partnership between the automaker and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The “third millennium” supercar is just the beginning for the Lamborghini/MIT team - their future plans include the development of supercapacitors powerful enough to drive a vehicle, which could be incorporated into the carbon fiber panels that form the body of the car. The team is also working on in-wheel electric motors.

“A lot of the innovation that came and made its way into consumer cars started with things like Formula 1 and supercars,” says MIT Associate Professor Mircea Dinca. “I think that if Lamborghini - and we - deliver on this promise, it will be really cool for the future of all transportation.”


Mayors of 12 major cities pledge to procure only zeroemission buses from 2025

The mayors of London, Paris, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Quito, Vancouver, Mexico City, Milan, Seattle, Auckland and Cape Town have signed the C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration, pledging to procure only zero-emission buses from 2025 and to create substantial zero-emission zones in their cities by 2030. The signatories also pledged to procure zero-emission vehicles for city fleets. Cities will report back every two years on the progress they are making towards the goals of the C40 Declaration. “Air pollution caused by petrol and diesel vehicles is killing millions of people in cities around the world,” said Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and C40 Chair. “In Paris we are taking bold action to prioritize the streets for pedestrians and cyclists. Working with citizens, businesses and mayors of these great cities we will create green and healthy streets for future generations to enjoy.” “The largest sources of air pollution are also the largest sources of carbon emissions - and in many cities, transportation is the biggest culprit,” said UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change and C40 Board President Michael R. Bloomberg. “C40 mayors understand thriving cities require clean air. By switching to cleaner vehicles, we can fight climate change and save many lives.” “I am absolutely committed to tackling the deadly effects of toxic air on Londoners and making London a zero-carbon city,” said Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London. “This is just the first step - we are introducing further restrictions on polluting vehicles over the next few years, as well as cleaning up our bus fleet and keeping our pledge not to buy a single new double-decker diesel bus.” “In Copenhagen…we have the ambitious goal of becoming the world’s first CO2-neutral capital by 2025,” said Frank Jensen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen. “In Auckland, our largest single contributor to greenhouse gas emissions is from transport - around 40%, so signing this declaration signals how serious we are about tackling climate change,” said Phil Goff, Mayor of Auckland.

Palo Alto may be the most EV-friendly city in the US - even its garbage trucks are going electric. BYD has delivered an electric automated side-loader refuse truck to GreenWaste, the city’s waste hauling service. The BYD electric refuse truck has 76 miles of range and can fully charge in two to three hours. The batteries are used not only for propulsion, but also to power the hydraulic system. The truck will operate on a variety of service routes in the community, including streets with steep inclines. The city projects fuel and maintenance cost savings of more than $16,000 annually. GreenWaste will monitor and collect data to determine the feasibility of replacing its entire diesel truck fleet with electric refuse trucks.

Photo courtesy of BYD

BYD delivers electric automated side-loader refuse truck to Palo Alto

Due to the stop-and-go nature and designated daily routes of their operations, refuse trucks are seen as prime candidates for electrification. Earlier this year, BYD introduced a Class 8 heavy-duty electric refuse truck at the ACT Expo. “BYD wants to electrify everything in transportation, and we see great potential for turning over diesel or natural gas refuse truck fleets to zero-emission, battery-electric trucks,” said VP of Truck Sales Andy Swanton. “This battery-electric refuse truck in Palo Alto will save GreenWaste tens of thousands of dollars annually in fuel costs while completely eliminating tailpipe emissions and operating quietly in residential neighborhoods.”

By Charles Morris

NISSAN JOINS THE NEW GENERATION A redesigned LEAF arrives in 2018


Photo courtesy of Nissan


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280,000 W

hen some future author writes a book about the most influential cars in automotive history, the Nissan LEAF will be right up there with the Model T, the VW Beetle and the Tesla Model S. The LEAF was the first EV aimed at the mass market, and as of this writing, it remains the best-selling in history, with over 280,000 units sold worldwide. Now it’s time for a new generation. GM and Tesla have thrown down the gauntlet with the Bolt and Model 3, and Nissan has responded with the redesigned 2018 LEAF. The new Nissan doesn’t match the range of the Chevy or the Tesla, but its lower price could make it an attractive alternative for the many drivers who don’t really need that much range. The new LEAF went on sale in Japan at the beginning of October. It’s scheduled to arrive in the US in early 2018, and will be available in all 50 states right away. The European rollout will begin about two months later. Charged spoke with Michael Arbuckle, Nissan’s Senior Manager of EV Sales and Marketing Strategy, and Josh Clifton, Senior Manager of Product Communication. They told us that customer feedback drove the LEAF’s re-


In order to achieve a price point of starting at under $30,000, a carryover platform was the best approach there without increasing the cost. design process. There are many small improvements - for example, the charging port is now angled so you can plug in the charger without bending over - but overall it seems that buyers are pretty happy with the existing LEAF. They asked for a little more range and a little more power, and Nissan delivered. The biggest change is the LEAF’s exterior, which Nissan has completely redesigned to make it look more “mainstream.” Fans may bemoan the loss of the LEAF’s distinctive protruding headlights (which were designed to improve aerodynamics) and prominent haunches, but Nissan is betting that, as EVs move out of the early adopter phase, buyers will be reassured by

Photos courtesy of Nissan

LEAF is the best-selling EV in history with worldwide unit sales over


a vehicle that looks pretty much like other current Nissan models. Nissan resisted the temptation to make huge performance improvements and add fancy new features that would have driven up the price. Building the new LEAF on the same platform allowed it to keep the price around $30,000 - several thousand less than the Chevy Bolt or the Tesla Model 3. “We still want to keep a good price point,” said Arbuckle. “We really looked at a balance between range and price and technology on this vehicle. In order to achieve a price point starting at under $30,000, a carryover platform was the best approach there without increasing the cost.” That doesn’t mean the new LEAF is a stripped-down vehicle - on the contrary, it incorporates a host of new driving and safety features. And a further substantial increase in range is in the pipeline.

A little farther, a little faster The LEAF’s range has crept steadily upward over its lifetime. The original 2011 LEAF had an EPA-rated range of 73 miles. Changes to the way regulatory

agencies measure range have made any year-by-year comparison meaningless, but improvements to the heating system and other small tweaks have resulted in incremental gains. In terms of the battery, the new LEAF represents a third generation - for model year 2016, Nissan increased the battery size from 24 kWh to 30 kWh. The new 2018 LEAF has a 40 kWh battery pack that’s expected to deliver 150 miles of “real-world driving.” The new LEAF uses basically the same powertrain as the old, but performance has been improved substantially. The battery pack has the same number of cells, and the same form factor, but improvements in battery chemistry have resulted in higher energy density, increasing capacity from 30 kWh to 40 kWh. For the 2019 model year, Nissan plans to offer a new 60 kWh battery pack that will deliver over 200 miles of range. This will be a larger pack, requiring some modifications to the vehicle’s body, and that’s widely assumed to be the reason that Nissan went ahead and released the 40 kWh pack first, and gave itself another year to prepare for its entry into the 200-mile club.

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The new LEAF uses the same front-mounted synchronous motor as the old, but improvements to the hardware and software of the inverter (namely, better cooling performance and increased efficiency of voltage utilization) have enabled the power to be increased by 37% to 110 kW, and torque to be increased by 26% to 352 N·m (264 ft·lb). “Overall it’s a faster off-the-line response with this LEAF,” said Arbuckle. “It handles better, is a little bit quicker.”

Bells and whistles The ProPILOT Assist driver assistance system, which made its debut on the 2018 Rogue, represents Nissan’s first step towards autonomous driving. It relies on a single forward-facing radar and a monocular video camera. According to Nissan, it “reduces the hassle of stop-and-go driving by helping control acceleration, braking and steering during single-lane highway driving.” It’s basically adaptive cruise control plus auto-


Photos courtesy of Nissan

Overall it’s a faster offthe-line response with this LEAF. It handles better, is a little bit quicker. matic lane-keeping. Early reviewers have found that it functions very well in the highway traffic jams that plague our cities. The new LEAF also features Nissan’s Safety Shield technology, which includes various driver assistance functions. Automatic Emergency Braking is standard on all three trim levels, whereas Blind Spot Warning, Intelligent Cruise Control, Intelligent Around View Monitor and other features are included on the higher trim levels, and/ or available as options. Another addition is a driver-selectable one-pedal driving mode called e-Pedal, which is standard across all three trims. The current LEAF has a B gear, in which the regenerative braking is stronger than in D, but the effect of e-Pedal is more noticeable.


The specs

“When you have it e-Pedal mode, as you let off [the accelerator] it will start to brake the vehicle and it will bring you to a complete stop if you let off completely,” says Arbuckle. “Of course it is a progressive stop, [not] like you slammed on the brakes, but it will bring you to a complete stop. The real benefit is in stop-and-go traffic - you’re not going back and forth between the brake pedal and the accelerator pedal, so it relieves a lot of stress. It’s also really fun to drive when you’re out on the highway.”

Charging ahead with CHAdeMO For some time, a battle raged between the CHAdeMO DC fast charging standard used by Japanese and Korean auto-


Front-wheel drive


AC induction, 147 hp, 236 ft-lb of torque

Battery capacity:

40 kWh


150 miles (EPA estimated)


CHAdeMO, 50 kW; Level 2, 6.6 kW (8 hours to full charge)

Cargo capacity (rear seats up):

23.6 cubic feet


176.4 inches

Curb weight:

3,433-3,508 pounds

makers and the CCS standard favored by US and European brands. Nissan feverishly built public chargers all over the world, apparently to create facts on the ground and assure the victory of CHAdeMO. Lately, it seems that CCS is gaining the upper hand - the Hyundai Ioniq Electric is the first Korean EV to use CCS. On the other hand, most of the public fast chargers being installed nowadays support both standards, so the battle may effectively be over. “We always investigate and always study future products and future abilities to charge, but right now, for the foreseeable future it is CHAdeMO,” said Arbuckle. “We continue to invest in public charging with CHAdeMO. We have over 51 markets today throughout the country that we focused on. Now it’s about building out those markets and then identifying additional markets and starting to build infrastructure there.”

Wither the federal tax credits? Considering the current mood in Washington, the

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Photos courtesy of Nissan

existing federal tax credits for EV purchases are on very shaky ground - as we go to press, the battle to eliminate them is still going on. In any case however, the credits are designed to be phased out for each individual automaker once it has delivered a certain number of EVs. Will LEAF buyers be losing that credit any time soon, and how will that affect sales? “The tax credits begin to phase out when the OEM achieves 200,000 EV sales,” Arbuckle explains. “Right now, we’re at just over 112,000 here in the US, so that is something that we have in our plan, understanding that [the credit] may not continue. Incentives always help, especially with the adoption of new technology. [However,] as battery prices start to come down, that’s going to help as different federal or state tax credits are phased out.” In 2015, the state of Georgia eliminated a $5,000 tax credit for EV purchases that it had previously offered, and imposed a yearly user fee of $200 for every passenger EV. The impact on EV sales was dire. “We went from Georgia - specifically Atlanta - representing about 80% of our US


sales to about 7% of our sales once that tax credit went away,” says Arbuckle.

This all sounds great, but what about marketing? Charged and others in the EV press have often commented on the disappointing lack of marketing that major automakers have been doing for their EVs. Car ads are everywhere, but EVs are seldom mentioned - even in those “gang’s all here” ads in which Nissan’s whole lineup is shown boldly racing down the highway, the LEAF is absent, like an unloved stepchild. Arbuckle defends Nissan’s decision to eschew mainstream ads for the LEAF in favor of more targeted marketing. “One thing you saw early on with the LEAF was a lot of tier-one advertising, [but] over the last couple of years we’ve realized that to strategically focus our awareness and marketing in key markets and key opportunity markets has actually helped a lot more. Our sales have increased year-over-year for 12 months consecutively through September of 2017. That’s through being very strategic with our marketing. I can’t speak


Over the last couple of years we’ve realized that to strategically focus our awareness and marketing in key markets and key opportunity markets has actually helped a lot more. for other manufacturers, but that’s one thing that we’ve found very beneficial.” Targeting key markets instead of taking a shotgun approach “makes our marketing funds go a little bit

further. Frankly, marketing out to Idaho or some of those Midwestern states that don’t have a large EV adoption or opportunity, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense at this point in time. As we go into the future, and as we start seeing a larger adoption in the middle of the country, more infrastructure and longer-range batteries, then of course it makes a little bit more sense to go to nationwide, tier-one marketing at that point.” Another disappointment has been dealerships, where personnel are often unfamiliar with EVs, or even discourage buyers from considering them. Arbuckle agrees that this is a problem. “You’re exactly right, because with any vehicle, you could have all the advertising, all the awareness in the world, but if a customer walks into the dealership, if they have a bad experience, if the dealership’s not knowledgeable, then you’ve lost the sale. That customer walks out of the dealership and goes to a competitor.” “One of the things that we’ll continue to heavy up on for model year 2018 is training our dealers, focusing on key markets to make sure those dealers are trained and ready to go first, and then expanding out to our secondary markets and driving awareness with those dealers,

Photos courtesy of Nissan


the ones that really haven’t been engaged, to get them on board so they can help with talking about the LEAF as customers are coming into the showroom.” “Beginning with model year 2018, we’re going to be going out and doing a full-line campaign of training for our dealerships: technical training, sales consultant and sales manager training, to ensure that everybody’s trained and ready to go for the launch of the new vehicle. Even those dealerships that have sold the vehicle in the past and been highly engaged, it’s about getting them accustomed to this new vehicle, the new features, the new technologies.” “We do a round of training at our technical facilities - we have eleven throughout the country. We’ll bring technicians and dealership management in, and we’ll give them a full-day seminar on the vehicle. Then we’ll go out to our dealerships and we’ll do in-dealership training, focusing on the sales consultants and sales managers. We’re letting them touch the vehicle, teaching them about the features and also [letting them drive] the vehicle so that they’re fully aware of the features that it has. They fully understand the vehicle’s capabilities and then they can speak intelligently to the customers.”

One region at a time The new LEAF will not have a phased rollout - it will be available in all 50 states right away. However, Nissan does follow a regional strategy, concentrating on its most


successful markets, while working to open up new ones. Unsurprisingly, today’s primary markets for the LEAF are on the rapidly-electrifying West Coast, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle and Portland. Denver is a new frontier, thanks to Colorado’s new $5,000 point-of purchase tax credit. “There’s a lot of opportunity in that market,” says Arbuckle. Atlanta is still an area of interest, even though Georgia got rid of its state tax credit. “There are still a lot of owners in Atlanta that we’re really focusing on from a loyalty aspect.” “In the Northeast, we’ve really focused on building out and expanding awareness, and we’ve had quite the success in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Washington DC.” In emerging EV markets, Nissan concentrates on “driving awareness, getting potential customers in the seat so they can drive the vehicle,” says Arbuckle. “That’s one of the biggest things about EVs - there’s kind of that ‘aha!’ moment when a customer gets behind the wheel and drives it. They feel the off-the-line acceleration, the torque that they didn’t expect. It’s actually cool to drive, and that’s when we really start to see customers switch over into more of an adopter, so there’s been a lot of focus on making sure that we get the word out, get customers behind the wheel of the vehicle.”


First drives


Without a doubt, its extra power and torque renders the new LEAF satisfyingly quicker and more responsive. Interior noise is phenomenally hush. ProPILOT Assist is sort of a Tesla Autopilot light (at a fraction of the price). It provides single-lane, feet-off-the-pedals driving (what’s called adaptive cruise control). Alone, this is nothing unusual. Its dexterity in responding to slinkying traffic is, though. Yet what elevates it to the same conversation as AutoPilot is how accurately it also threads down the center of the road. ProPILOT Assist is ordinary sensors doing an extraordinary job due to great software. - MotorTrend

• Heats battery directly without impacting cooling

Instead of a soft ride, we found the suspension felt sporty and engaging. Instead of isolation, we found composed engagement, at least through the chassis. If the Japanese suspension tuning is supposed to be soft, we’re optimistic about the dynamics of the North American LEAF. The LEAF was willing to turn in and hold a corner at a number of speeds. The extra width of the car is palpable, and the Leaf stays flat when accelerating through the bends. Having that low center of gravity from the battery pack is helpful. The 2018 Nissan LEAF checks all the important boxes and ignores the unnecessary (and expensive) ones. - Autoblog

• Eliminates isolation failure

• More uniform ramp up • More energy efficient • Lower weight • More cost effective

The 2018 LEAF fixes mostly everything that was lacking in the old car without getting too different all of a sudden. - The Verge This is a car that aims for the mainstream customer, with a simple message: This is the electric car for anyone. - Wired 260.426.3800



By Tom Ewing

Experts discuss the special concerns when designing battery technology for marine environments


here is growing worldwide demand for electric-powered vessels and for broader electrification in maritime operations, particularly in ports. Consider the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, for example. Air pollution from those ports is a top concern for environmental and public health officials. Maritime-related air pollution directly affects people in nearby residential communities, and maritime emissions are a big factor in California’s constant struggles to meet federal air quality standards. The DOT’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) re-



cently held a two-day public workshop to “share information and gather input related to the application of highpower batteries in maritime transportation.” Sixty-one people attended the event, with additional participants linked via webcast. The goal was to develop and enhance a knowledge base that would advance electric and hybrid vessels, to help fill the gaps in marine battery applications. The meeting was attended by representatives from across the maritime sector, including battery manufacturers, ship owners and operators, shipyards, ports, domestic and foreign regulatory agencies and, importantly, standards organizations - the entities that actually develop the testing and documentation that, when followed, provide confidence of safety in vessel designs and operation. For MARAD, a key theme was that “addressing the gaps and pursuing innovation in this area will require strong collaboration among battery manufacturers, power management and integration experts, and designers, ship owners and operators.” Many countries, as well as many US states and cities,

Addressing the gaps and pursuing innovation in this area will require strong collaboration among the battery manufacturers, power management and integration experts, and designers, ship owners and operators.

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are moving to control carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. Mariners need to be aware of new rules and regulations. Equally important, MARAD writes, the increasing costs of marine fuel, particularly low-sulfur diesel fuel, are driving the maritime industry towards investigating the use of alternative energy and multi-source energy hybrid technologies. MARAD writes that high-power battery technology is being viewed more broadly as a potentially viable technology in maritime applications. However, application in vessels is complex - recent accidents with lithium-ion batteries highlight the need for additional work, hence the workshop. Vessels and boats demand a lot of power. On ships, for safety, battery power really needs to be thought of as a systems challenge. John Warner of EnerDel presented a session on battery cell design for marine applications. Indianapolis-based EnerDel designs, builds and manufactures lithium-ion energy storage solutions and battery systems with a focus on heavy-duty transportation. Warner addressed design considerations, starting with safety. He said, “The natural position for a battery is to be fully discharged,” a dynamic with “inherent dangers and risks.” Battery management systems (BMS) oversee and control interconnected cells. Warner described a BMS as the “computer that runs the batteries, typically a


There are no cookie-cutter solutions. Answers depend on the use of the vessel and even its location in the world. distributed system.” A BMS coordinates input and gives direction, communicating with the vessel about power application and, critically, available power and how long it will last. Thermal control is critical. Engineers use the term “thermal runaway” to describe uncontrolled increasing temperature within a battery, possibly spreading among multiple batteries, resulting in explosion or fire. There are no cookie-cutter solutions. Answers depend on the use of the vessel and even its location in the world. A system that works in the Arctic Ocean may not be applicable in the Indian. Moisture - remember, this is for marine environments - is another concern with Li-ion batteries. “Moisture does horrible things to the Li-ion content,” Warner said. There are always novel and heightened concerns when


contemplating new technology in a marine environment. Vessels and boats are singular, isolated systems, compact, relatively dense and enclosed. Marine designers know this - in just about every aspect, vessels require development and analysis different than land-based vehicles or buildings. This is particularly true with fuels. Consider, for example, the risks of pumping, storing and using liquefied natural gas on a vessel that is berthed next to a major city. Warner said that the next steps in addressing vessel electrification are likely to take a case-by-case approach, with specific reviews evaluating exactly how a boat or vessel will be used. He mentioned a project in England in which the capabilities of an electrified vessel would match the work demands. Ferries are viewed as a likely initial application because ferry operations can take advantage of infrastructure and electric supply capabilities. Internationally, vessel electrification has advanced more than in the US. Workshop speakers referenced current e-boats now in use in Europe, mostly in the Scandinavian countries. Brian Baker of Corvus Energy described some of his company’s work with European ferries and sightseeing craft. Corvus provides energy storage solutions for marine, oil and gas and port applications. Baker noted that regarding vessel size, “there is essentially no limit. It comes down to making sure you are doing your home-

Many marine questions Attendees of the MARAD workshop presented many questions, ranging from technical capabilities, charging rates and integrating a different power system within vessel infrastructure. One person wanted “a consistent definition of what a high-powered battery actually is in terms of rate or power-to-energy ratio and implementation of design.” There were concerns about operational and speed restrictions for battery/hybrid vessels, at least compared to diesel. There were questions about fire safety: “What is the best way to put out a lithium battery fire? There does not seem to be a consensus on that.” There were questions about policy: where does the Coast Guard stand regarding batteries for maritime use? Michael Rodriquez, MARAD Deputy Administrator, referenced the need to “build a framework for regulatory rules and classification that will support and encourage technological development, and work together to advance the science.” Finally, one person even referenced “cultural items,” in this case the need to “learn how to drive a different way and not listen to the motor.”

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Benefits in Europe may not emerge in the US, for many reasons. European electrification policies have fundamental differences compared to the US.

work and putting in the pack sizes applicable for you.” Baker said that fuel savings on one European excursion route were around 15%, prompting company officials to install similar systems in three additional ships. As usual, apples-to-apples comparisons are important. Benefits in Europe may not emerge in the US, for many reasons. European electrification policies have fundamental differences compared to the US. General price subsidies, for example, can skew individual outcomes. Some initial costs in Europe are covered by low-carbon energy funds, which are unavailable to American operators. Some vessels and projects are considered to be part of a national highway system, and are eligible for public funding. Still, Baker’s reference is important. Ship designers worldwide are working on these problems now. E-vessels are in the pipeline. Money is not usually invested in a lost cause. The Red and White Fleet is one US company that’s


investing in electrification, and it’s carefully approaching questions about costs and benefits. Red and White, established in 1892, offers sight-seeing tours in the San Francisco Bay area. Vice President of Operations (and boat captain) Joe Burgard is leading R&W’s evaluation of electric vessels - he was one of the presenters at the MARAD workshop. Burgard described some of the difficult issues in an electric/diesel analysis. There are many factors, starting with the cost of diesel, and how much it might, or might not, change. R&W is building a plug-in hybrid vessel. Even different charging rates - time-of-use rates - affect cost outcomes. “What is challenging is that each variable will change the picture considerably,” Burgard says. He said that any analysis really has to be vessel- and routespecific. “The economics will change based on the energy demand of the vessel, the time to charge, the source and cost of electricity, even the battery chemistry.” All of R&W’s investment in electrification is out-ofpocket - it has not received any state or federal planning


What is challenging is that each [economic] variable will change the picture considerably. or assistance grants. The biggest factor for R&W is the commitment of the company’s owner, who believes there will be a payoff for this research. Nevertheless, it still takes hard work and tough choices to get there. At the end of the MARAD conference, next steps were divvied up among a number of groups. The Coast Guard, of course, is involved - work continues on a policy letter to provide guidance on vessel design, systems and operation. The American Society for Testing and Materials

(ASTM) has formed an industry task group to develop some of the required standards for marine battery technology. Det Norske Veritas-Germanischer Lloyd (DNVGL), is a European certification and classification society. ASTM and DNV-GL organized a Joint Development Project to develop rules for the safe application of Li-ion battery technology. In a recent interview, Michael Carter, MARAD’s Director, Office of Environment, was asked how this work has progressed in the last year. His assessment: work is ongoing and on track. Professional societies are meeting. Although there is no one federal agency formally designated for follow-up, Carter did say MARAD personnel, and people from DOT and DOE, are involved. Carter pointed out that there is external demand to resolve battery safety questions. Ship owners are building new vessels that include battery technology. They will need to use these new assets. Drydock is not an option.

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Photo courtesy of ABB

Photo courtesy of eMotorWerks


Giant utility Enel acquires charger manufacturer eMotorWerks ABB launches 150-350 kW DC fast charger Electronics giant ABB’s new Terra HP High Power Charge system is designed for use at highway rest stops and gas stations. Terra HP’s ultra-high current has the capacity to charge both 400 V and 800 V cars at full power. The 375 A single power cabinet can charge a 400 V car at 150 kW continuously. Dynamic DC power sharing allows a two-power-cabinet charging system to charge a pair of EVs simultaneously, at up to 350 kW and 500 A, while dynamically optimizing the available grid connection. Additional power cabinets and charge posts can be added after installation. Terra HP features individually cooled charging cables and redundant power and communication connections. ABB Ability Connected Services facilitates the connection of chargers to back offices, payment platforms and smart grid systems, and provides remote diagnostics and over-the-air software updates.


Enel has announced the acquisition of California-based eMotorWerks, which manufactures the JuiceBox line of charging stations and operates JuiceNet, an Internet of Things platform for the smart management of EV charging and distributed energy storage. Enel plans to incorporate the JuiceNet platform’s functionality in all of its EV charging stations. JuiceNet allows users to remotely schedule charging to take advantage of the cleanest energy available, and enables V2G charging stations to respond to network signals, aggregating charging and discharging in order to balance electricity flows in the grid. “Electric vehicles have the potential to be one of the most disruptive technologies the electricity grid has faced in the last one hundred years,” said Francesco Venturini, Head of Enel’s Global e-Solutions division. “The electric mobility revolution is leading utilities to rethink traditional business models, invest in new infrastructure, and roll out new solutions to provide flexibility and resiliency to the grid. Our mission is to be on the cutting edge of this shift, where consumers can play a more active role in energy generation and use.” “With smart energy management by JuiceNet, EVs can provide the bulk of the grid balancing capacity to enable the 100% renewable grid around the world,” said Val Miftakhov, eMotorWerks founder and CEO.

Photo courtesy of Mike Mozart

Photo courtesy of Ekoenergetyka-Polska

Polish city to deploy 47 e-buses and citywide charging network Public transport operator MZK in the Polish city of Zielona Góra is planning to electrify 47 buses - 60% of the city’s fleet - and has chosen local firm Ekoenergetyka-Polska to supply the charging infrastructure. The 4-million-euro project is the biggest of its kind in Poland. MZK will deploy multi-output e-bus charging stations at 11 bus termini. The stations, each of will provide a power level of 400 to 800 kW, will power a total of 29 automated pantograph charging points. The chargers will be equipped with intelligent dynamic power management - each station can charge multiple buses at once, or provide the full charging power to one bus to shorten charging time. The city will also deploy 28 lower-power charging stations for night charging. Each of these will charge via a Combo 2 plug and will deliver between 40 kW and 80 kW. These stations will also be equipped with dynamic power management. The new stations will follow international charging standards, allowing them to be used by buses from different brands. Ekoenergetyka-Polska will also deliver a fleet and infrastructure monitoring system. “This was the biggest single public tender for e-bus charging stations in Europe, and the first project where a complete city-wide charging system will be deployed,” said Ekoenergetyka CEO Bartosz Kubik.

Shell acquires Dutch charging network NewMotion Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to buy Dutch charging network operator NewMotion, which manages over 30,000 charging points in 25 European countries. Shell has already started to install fast charging stations at its branded retail locations in Britain, the Netherlands, Norway and the Philippines. Shell Recharge, which has been introduced in partnership with Allego, is now available at three London-area service stations, and will be launched at 7 more locations by the end of the year. NewMotion will continue to operate under its own branding, in parallel to the Shell Recharge program. Buying NewMotion will give Shell a stake in the home and workplace charging market. “They’re complementary offers,” said Shell’s VP for New Fuels, Matthew Tipper. “One is fast charging on the go on the forecourt and the other is a slightly slower rate of charge at the workplace or at home. At this stage there are no plans to integrate the two.” Shell’s rivals are also beginning to explore the EV charging market. BP is in talks with EV-makers about partnering to offer charging at its retail sites. NewMotion has signed a deal with Total to allow the French oil company’s customers access to its network. Total recently bought Dutch company PitPoint, which operates EV charging stations as well as natural gas refueling stations. Shell has forecast that oil demand could peak as soon as the next decade. “We recognize that one of the themes of the energy transition is going to be electrification,” said Matthew Tipper. “As our heritage is fuel supply, the obvious place to start is battery electric vehicles...and that technology is accelerating.”

NOV/DEC 2017


Photo courtesy of Fastned

Photo courtesy of EVgo


DOE to award up to $15 million for extreme fast charging Fastned wins 4-millioneuro grant to build 25 fast charging stations The German Ministry of Transport has awarded €4.1 million ($4.8 million) to network operator Fastned to support the buildout of 25 fast charging stations across Germany. Each station will include multiple chargers that can add more than 155 miles of range in 20 minutes. Fastned expects to open the first stations early next year. The subsidy is part of a charging infrastructure stimulation program designed to solve the dreaded “chickenand-egg” problem by reducing the risk associated with investing in infrastructure before widespread adoption of EVs. The program’s goal is to stimulate charging companies to invest €300 million ($354 million) in fast charging infrastructure by covering around 40% of capital expenditures related to the construction of the stations. This enables charging companies such as Fastned to invest ahead of the market, and have charging infrastructure in place before large numbers of EVs hit the roads.


The DOE will award up to $15 million in a new funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001808) to encourage the development of what it calls “extreme fast charging” (XFC). The objective is to develop technology that can recharge a battery in half the time of current fast charging systems. The new FOA includes two Areas of Interest: XFC itself; and Batteries for Extreme Fast Charging. Projects addressing the XFC Area of Interest should aim to decrease charging times while maintaining currents of less than 400 A, and assure that battery state of charge increases by at least 50% with a 3C or greater rate of charging. Proposals should list planned charger locations including infrastructure requirements, and describe partnerships with governments, suppliers and other entities to support the system design and demonstration. Area of Interest #2 is Batteries for Extreme Fast Charging. The objective here is to develop battery cells capable of achieving 500 cycles (with less than 20% fade in specific energy) consisting of a 10-minute fast charge protocol, while matching or exceeding current stateof-the-art cell-specific energy and cost (greater than 200 Wh/kg and less than $150/kWh). Specific technical interests include: novel electrode and cell architectures; novel electrolytes; active material modifications; and improved additives.

Photo courtesy of Siemens Photo courtesy of EVgo

EVgo’s new mobile app starts a DC fast charge with just a swipe Fast charging network EVgo has released a new mobile app for iOS and Android devices, designed to provide EV drivers with convenient access to its network of over 980 DC fast chargers. The new app, developed in partnership with charging solution provider Driivz, enables drivers to start a charging session with no need for an access card. Drivers can navigate to the nearest charger, check availability in real time, set alerts for when in-use chargers become available, initiate a session with a single swipe on their phone, and remotely monitor charge duration. EVgo has also launched a web-based driver portal that’s designed to work seamlessly with the smartphone app, and allows customers to review their charging history and plans. “EVgo is already providing a customer experience that makes EV ownership easy, and the addition of new tools, such as the EVgo app, will allow EVgo to deliver the highest-quality customer experience to the growing number of EV drivers hitting the road,” said EVgo CEO Dave Schembri.

California eHighway demonstration uses overhead lines to charge trucks en route In June 2016, Siemens launched a pilot eHighway system in Sweden - two plug-in hybrid trucks performing en route charging via an overhead catenary. Now the company, in collaboration with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), is conducting a one-mile eHighway demonstration near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The catenary system, similar to that used by trolleys or streetcars, features an overhead contact line that makes power available to trucks along the road, and an active pantograph located on top of each truck. The pantograph can connect and disconnect automatically with the contact line via a sensor system, allowing the trucks to switch lanes or pass other vehicles without being permanently fixed to the overhead lines. The eHighway vehicles use a hybrid drive system, which can be powered either by diesel or CNG when driving outside of the catenary lines. “This project will help us evaluate the feasibility of a zero-emission cargo movement system using overhead catenary wires,” said Wayne Nastri, SCAQMD’s Executive Officer. “This demonstration could lead to the deployment of eHighway systems that will reduce pollution and benefit public health for residents living near the ports.” “Experts expect global CO2 emissions from road freight traffic to more than double by 2050,” said Andreas Thon, Siemens’ head of Turnkey Projects and Electrification, North America. “This electrified truck system can modernize the existing infrastructure using the latest technology to accommodate the growing amount of freight travel and reduce harmful emissions.”

NOV/DEC 2017


Photo courtesy of Hubject

Photo courtesy of IONITY


Hubject expands into the US and China

Berlin-based Hubject, which provides an “eRoaming” platform for the exchange of data among charging networks, is expanding its operations from Europe and Japan to the US and China. As Hubject sees it, the large number of non-standardized charging networks makes it difficult to ensure a smooth charging process, holding back the advance of e-mobility. The company aims to overcome these obstacles by establishing a comprehensive digital charging network in cooperation with local providers and operators. “With the expansion of our company, we are taking our vision to new continents,” says Thomas Daiber, one of Hubject’s two CEOs. “We want to create a digital ecosystem for new e-mobility services from which everybody can benefit.” “Mobility has the power to connect people and ideas,” says Co-CEO Christian Hahn. “With our platform, we are creating a charging network for electric vehicles throughout the world, regardless of previous national and system borders.”


Automakers launch joint venture to build 350 kW European charging network BMW, Daimler, Ford and the Volkswagen Group have launched a joint venture called IONITY, which will develop and implement a High-Power Charging (HPC) network across Europe. The network will use the CCS charging standard, and each charging point will have a capacity of up to 350 kW. A total of 20 stations will be opened to the public this year, located on major roads in Germany, Norway and Austria, at intervals of 120 km, through partnerships with retailers Tank & Rast, Circle K and OMV. The network is slated to expand to approximately 400 HPC stations by 2020. “The first pan-European HPC network plays an essential role in establishing a market for electric vehicles,” said IONITY CEO Michael Hajesch. “IONITY will deliver our common goal of providing customers with fast charging and digital payment capability, to facilitate long-distance travel.”

Photo courtesy of ABB

Multiforce’s FuelForce EV fuel management system for electric fleet vehicles

ABB’s Autocharge enables charging with no card or app required Most of the time, using a public charger is a pretty hassle-free experience, but electronics behemoth ABB has developed a way to make it even more convenient. The company’s new Autocharge feature allows a charge session to be automatically started by simply connecting the vehicle to the charger - no RFiD card or mobile app required. Autocharge is based on a unique identifier called EV-ID, which is passed on by a CCS-equipped vehicle when it is plugged in. After a first-time registration by the charging station operator, all chargers in the network will instantly recognize a customer’s vehicle and initiate charging automatically. The Autocharge function should work with both older and new vehicles with a CCS charging connection. ABB’s tests have shown that most EVs manufactured since 2012 can communicate their unique ID and use the Autocharge feature. Autocharge is based on standard OCPP communication and the default properties of the CCS protocol, so implementation requires minimal adaptation to standard OCPP-based back offices. The feature is available immediately for testing, and can be made available via overthe-air-updates to the installed base of ABB chargers.

Multiforce Systems provides automated fuel management systems that help fleet operators control fuel costs. Now the company has launched a new line specially designed for EVs. FuelForce EV offers energy management and control for fleets of plug-in vehicles. In collaboration with Cyber Switching, a power management company based in Silicon Valley, Multiforce has developed the FuelForce 814-EV, the first in a suite of products that will authorize, monitor, control, and track EV charging and power usage. Sitting between the electrical panel and the EV chargers, the 814-EV provides a control point for fleets, validating each charging transaction and tying that data back to the driver, vehicle, department, etc. With, Multiforce’s cloud-based system, fleet managers can access power utilization reports from any device with a web browser. These reports can be combined with similar data for diesel, gasoline, etc, providing a single platform for the management of all fleet fuels. The heart of the FuelForce EV platform is power management technology from power distribution specialist Cyber Switching. “The collaboration between Multiforce and Cyber Switching has created a product that allows fleet personnel to authorize and control the dispensing of electricity to EVs while collecting accurate, critical energy usage and vehicle data for accounting and fleet maintenance needs,” explains Chuck Reynolds, CEO of Cyber Switching. “We’ve designed this patent-pending approach so that it will work with standard Electric Vehicle chargers and all standard Fuel Management Systems, not just our own,” said Multiforce President Tom Bates. “Charging can be scheduled in a way to avoid Utility Demand Charges or Peak Rates,” explained Bates. “Utility billing for electricity is much different than the standard billing approach for other fuels, and this creates a dilemma for fleet managers required to appropriately allocate costs to departments using EVs. Depending on the time of day and the overall electricity use of an organization, the costs for charging an electric vehicle can vary greatly. This is vastly different than monitoring and managing liquid fuels.”

NOV/DEC 2017




WAY By Joshua Gordon

EV Safe Charge connects the dots for charging installations



uying an EV can be a relatively simple task for those who have bought a vehicle in the past. Too often however, what goes unnoticed is the complexities involved in EV charger installations. Whether it is choosing the right manufacturer, finding a reliable electrician, or understanding compatibility and safety, installation for both businesses and consumers carries challenges. Charged recently chatted with Caradoc Ehrenhalt, founder and CEO of EV Safe Charge, to learn more about this startup company that’s filling this market gap and providing a complete solution for installation. “EV Safe Charge started when I bought a Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive,” said Ehrenhalt. “The dealer really didn’t have much knowledge of how to get the charger installed, so I went home and looked online for hours to figure out the right kind of charger and find a qualified electrician, who ended up not showing up for


our scheduled appointment. The entire process was full of aggravation and dismay. I thought, ‘Wow, if this is the challenging experience that most other consumers or businesses are going through when buying an EV and EV charger, there must be a better way.’ And so, EV Safe Charge was born.”

The problem with the current market When you first buy an EV, the focus is typically on the distinct benefits over its ICE alternative. EVs are much cheaper to operate and maintain, have excellent performance features, fewer moving parts, cleaner operation, etc. EV Safe Charge believes that less focus is placed on consumers’ charging requirements, and a scarcity of information leaves consumers ill-informed about charger manufacturers. The same goes for businesses or schools looking to provide EV charging solutions for

NOV/DEC 2017


Photo courtesy of EV Safe Charge

tenants, mall shoppers, employees or school bus fleets. Even less information is available regarding the installation process. Ehrenhalt is committed to educating new EV owners and businesses on the end-to-end process of EV charging solutions and taking out the aggravation and complication. “I was at an auto dealer that had a display for one of the EV charger companies,” said Ehrenhalt. “I was talking to the salesperson about the charging solution they offer their consumers for EVs. We were literally two feet away from this display in the middle of the dealership floor and the salesperson was telling me that they didn’t have a solution and desperately needed one. I think the problem is that EVs have been such a small percentage of sales. Even some of the auto dealers and OEMs that have solutions in place have an obstacle of the lack of information trickling down to the salespeople and then eventually to the consumer. Now that EV sales are growing exponentially, it’s time for an easier solution.” Ehrenhalt explains that after sourcing a charger, finding a reliable, EV-knowledgeable electrician can have its difficulties. “You have very frustrated consumers out there. Some electricians sign up to do an installation at a consumer’s house, but then the electrician gets a bigger job and drops the consumer, or underestimates what is needed for an installation and gives the homeowner an unexpectedly large bill. There has been a lot of frustration in the marketplace.” The process of buying an EV and installing an EV charger is fragmented, and EV Safe Charge believes


it has a better all-inclusive coordinated solution than the ones most auto dealers and OEMs half-heartedly offer EV buyers. “Consumers are not sure what kind of chargers they want or need,” said Ehrenhalt. “We answer a lot of questions about Level 1, Level 2, Level 2 for business and DC fast chargers. One of the roles that we have is providing educational support, and a lot of consumers contact us before they buy their cars.” Ehrenhalt says that even more issues exist in the commercial market, because of the increased complexity of those charging installations. A lot of guidance is required for commercial customers to understand the different types of chargers, the difference between networked and non-networked chargers, and the issue of available power. “Commercial projects, including apartment buildings and condominiums, are more complex and require a great deal of planning and coordination among the stakeholders, local utility, and department of building and safety in advance and during the project,” said Ehrenhalt. “One of the things that really makes our company stand out is that we are product-neutral and product-agnostic. We are fortunate to work with the great EV charger manufacturers, and we present [products] in a very fair and balanced way, based on the consumer’s needs or the business’s needs. Ultimately we provide a safe and straightforward solution and process that are tailored to them.”

EVSE in action The mission of EV Safe Charge is to make the world a greener place by simplifying EV charging solutions. It


We’ve found that consumers and businesses both want an EV charger expert. They want to know that they are working with a company that has the utmost experience in EV chargers and has seen it all. takes time to build a rapport with new EV owners or businesses seeking EV solutions and talk through an extensive list of charger options. The company follows several steps to ensure an effective installation. “First, we speak with clients about their unique needs and provide charger options and discuss pricing,” said Ehrenhalt. “We help our clients choose the best one for their needs. Then for residential installations we send our clients the charger and set up the installation appointment. Once a client receives their charger, the installation deployment is immediately triggered. Finally, we do an inspection in collaboration with local building and safety [agencies] to make sure that everything has been installed correctly and is up to code.” The logistics involved in installing an EV charger are decentralized - finding the right charger and a wellqualified reliable local electrician who will carry out EV charger installation can be time-consuming. EV Safe Charge’s goal is to simplify the whole process into one manageable solution. “Everything goes through us,” said Ehrenhalt, “so that consumers and businesses can avoid the hassle of an electrician not showing up, or dropping the job. We manage the scheduling and all details for a smooth installation experience. The consumer or business doesn’t have to think about safety or reliability when they’re working with us. We also help find and assist in applying for any available rebates or grants, which our customers greatly appreciate.”

What’s the alternative? Some EV OEMs have preferred vendors and some sort of charger training options for dealers. EV Safe Charge

says its competitive advantage is being able to offer a white-glove service with a variety of charging station brands, as well as installation, to both residential and commercial consumers. “In one sense, we have competition and probably always will from generalists who only offer one solution,” said Ehrenhalt. “On the other hand, we’re one of a kind. We’ve found that consumers and businesses both want an EV charger expert. They want to know that they are working with a company that has the utmost experience in EV chargers and has seen it all. That’s EV Safe Charge.” Consumers can find charging stations at a big-box retailer or source them online, but retailers typically don’t offer a comprehensive installation solution. “We work directly with the EVSE manufacturers, so we offer the chargers for the exact same pricing that people find in other places, plus a high level of concierge-style service.”

The sky’s the limit EV Safe Charge says it is in the early stages of actively building relationships with auto manufacturers, OEMs and car dealerships. The company reports a strong customer base with more than enough demand for its services without yet launching any major marketing efforts. “We are currently raising more funding, and are busy building out the national infrastructure so we can grow and continue executing flawlessly for our partners and customers,” said Ehrenhalt. The company recently won an award for installing the first EV chargers for the Colton Joint Unified School District bus fleet in California. “Another partner in the automotive space that we’re very excited about is Penske Automotive Group - we’ve done several installations at some of their Southern California locations,” said Ehrenhalt. “We recently installed several chargers for Mercedes-Benz of San Diego which is owned by Penske. There is so much need for this type of service that we’re experiencing a lot of growth organically.” EV Safe Charge was recently named an LA Auto Show and AutoMobility LA 2017 Top 10 Startup. “We are honored,” said Ehrenhalt. “Disruption in auto mobility involves the need for EV charging. The role of education and making EV charging infrastructure easier is really important, and we’re happy to play that role.”

NOV/DEC 2017


By Scott Shepard, senior research analyst contributing to Navigant Research’s Transportation Efficiencies program.




Photo courtesy of BMW

Automakers, utilities and charging companies are developing business models for vehicle-grid integration that could dramatically change the economic case for electrification Photo courtesy of eMotorwerks

NOV/DEC 2017



ehicle-grid integration (VGI) is a topic that tends to be at the fringes of coverage of transportation electrification. Developments in the VGI field are often overshadowed by Tesla Model 3 delivery timelines or by the range specs of the next-generation Nissan LEAF. Regardless, VGI is a critical component in actualizing transportation electrification’s potential, especially for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. If VGI reaches its full potential, it could create a revenue stream that erases energy costs for plug-in vehicle owners, making the purchase of a plug-in over a conventional vehicle that much more attractive. VGI does this by enabling EV owners to participate in programs and markets for grid balancing, such as frequency response. The most advanced form of VGI is vehicle-togrid (V2G), in which the EV delivers power back to the grid, increasing both the amount of time it can provide balancing services and the amount of money it can earn for its owner. BMW has been effective at showcasing the potential benefits of VGI to EV owners through its ChargeForward program in the San Francisco Bay area. In the first phase of the program, BMW used unidirectional VGI technologies (also known as V1G), and offered handsome rewards to a small group of i3 owners who allowed BMW to manage their charging. The second phase (now under way) reduced the reward size (which is still substantial) and expanded the population of eligible BMW owners to include those who own PHEVs. The primary goal of BMW’s program is to assess the critical unknowns of VGI economics - owner participation rates and per-vehicle and per-kilowatt revenue potential. These unknowns have hampered VGI development since mass-market plug-in vehicles were developed. It should be noted that the rewards to the ChargeForward participants were heavily subsidized by BMW to incentivize participation. That is to say, BMW’s program is not sustainable at current reward amounts. Similar returns for future residential VGI programs are unlikely. Years have been spent on lab tests and pilot fleets (like BMW’s) to scope out what sustainable VGI business models may look like. Finally, the prospects for such business models appear to be heating up. The latest development is the acquisition of San Francisco Bay area-based charging station manufacturer and charging service provider eMotorWerks by major international utility Enel.




Photo courtesy of BMW

Better known in North America for its subsidiary, EnerNoc, Enel has long been at the forefront of VGI development in Europe. The company launched one of the first V2G pilot projects in Spain through its subsidiary Endesa, and partners with Nissan to offer one of the only global commercial V2G solutions for fleets. Enel and Nissan have now deployed V2G systems in the UK and Denmark. The acquisition of eMotorWerks is of particular note because eMotorWerks has made a name for itself in a brief amount of time as an innovative developer of VGI-enabling hardware and software solutions. For Enel, eMotorWerks bolsters its charging

services portfolio and introduces it to the North American EV market, which may encourage a resurgence in fleet vehicle electrification. Although EVs have made significant gains among small cars, growth outside anything bigger than a crossover has been limited. Bigger vehicles require bigger batteries, and every incremental gain in battery size expands the premium between the EV and its gas-burning alternative. The payback is on energy and maintenance costs, but to realize it the vehicle must be used frequently. Range limitations (a product of battery size and long charging times) make frequent use dif-

NOV/DEC 2017


THE INFRASTRUCTURE Photo courtesy of Jan-Erik Finnberg - CC BY 2.0

ficult. VGI can dramatically change the business case for electrification, especially when used on fleet vehicles with low and regular utilization schedules. School bus fleets are particularly attractive in this regard, consequently the market for electrified and integrated school buses is making exciting progress. Coming off a series of school bus V2G demonstrations in California, US bus maker Bluebird debuted two electrified models with V2G capabilities in mid-2017 (scheduled to go on sale in 2018). Canadian bus maker Lion also introduced an electric V2G-capable bus offering in early 2017. The market for grid balancing services, which drives VGI developments, is not relatively large in any global region, but that is not a limitation. For instance, total EV charging capacity in major EV markets will surpass grid service market size in the near future, but only a fraction of EV charging capacity can and will be made VGI-capable. That which is VGI-capable will be limited by the amount of time a vehicle is plugged in or charging. Given these constraints, in an upcoming report on VGI, Navigant Research projects that, with over 43


COMING OFF A SERIES OF SCHOOL BUS V2G DEMONSTRATIONS IN CALIFORNIA, US BUS-MAKER BLUEBIRD DEBUTED TWO ELECTRIFIED MODELS WITH V2G CAPABILITIES IN MID-2017, SCHEDULED TO GO ON SALE IN 2018. million plug-in vehicles on the world’s roads in 2026, VGI’s share of the grid service market would likely be well below 1% in all regions. The outgrowth of these developments will be far more effective for moving EVs than for displacing other competing grid-balancing assets. There is much room to grow for VGI developers.

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March 26-29, 2018




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What’s up with the federal EV tax credit?

By Charles Morris

he federal EV tax credit is on the chopping block in Washington. The House version of the current tax bill would eliminate the credit as of the end of this year, while the Senate version would preserve it. A conference committee will hash out a final version of the bill before submitting it to the executive branch, so it’s anybody’s guess at this point whether the credit will survive. The Plug-In Electric Drive Vehicle Credit, which was signed into law by President George W Bush in 2008, provides a tax credit of $2,500 to $7,500 for the purchase of a plug-in vehicle, depending on the size of the battery (all pure EVs qualify for the full $7,500). The credit is far from the most efficient way to encourage EV sales. It can’t be carried over from year to year, so only higher-income taxpayers can take full advantage of it. It also provides no incentive for auto dealers to sell EVs. A cash rebate delivered “on the hood,” with a piece going to the salesperson, like the system Connecticut instituted in 2015, would be better. And if the goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a carbon tax would be by far the most efficient solution. However, politicians (and voters) always prefer a tax break to a tax increase, and under the current regime, any changes that would encourage EV sales are out of the question, so we’ll probably be lucky to keep what we have. The EV tax credit has little support in the auto industry. The only automakers that have stood up for it are Tesla (of course), GM and Volkswagen. “Because General Motors believes in an all-electric future, we will work with Congress to explore ways to maintain this incentive,” said GM in a statement. “Eliminating the EV tax credit would hurt the environment, hurt jobs, and hamper progress being made to reduce carbon emissions,” said VW in a message to Congress. Nissan issued a waffling statement that it “supports continuing measures that help encourage greater adoption of EVs,” but said nothing specifically for or against the tax credit. Ford has made it clear that it’s much more interested in the cuts to the corporate tax rate contained in the tax bill - in a letter to Congress, a company lobbyist thanked Republicans for their work to slash the corporate tax rate, and did not mention the tax credit. UBS Securities Analyst Colin Langan estimates that the proposed tax reductions could boost the earnings of GM and Ford by 19%, whereas eliminating the EV credit would have little impact on most automakers. The industry’s usual Washington mouthpiece, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, offered tepid support, if that: “The...elimination or phase out of the electric vehicle tax credit will impact the choices of prospective buyers and make it more challenging for manufacturers to comply with electric vehicle mandates in 10 states [sic].” Considering the amount of effort and money that automakers have been devoting to watering down the arguably more important CAFE standards (and the fact that 7 of the Alliance’s 12 members currently sell no EVs in the US), it’s safe to


say that the legacy automakers wouldn’t be sorry to see the tax credit disappear. If it does, their next target will probably be the ZEV mandates. Automakers may not value the tax credit, but many industry analysts do. Navigant’s John Gartner believes this is exactly the wrong time for the government to change the rules. “The next two years are a critical time [for EVs],” said Gartner. “In the 11 ZEV states where OEMs are required to sell specified volumes of EVs, removing the federal tax credit would make it virtually impossible to meet these requirements, and it will put at risk the billions of dollars that automakers have already invested in developing EV technology.” The tax credit is not without friends. Republican Senator Dean Heller, who sits on the Senate’s finance committee, has said that he will fight against the repeal. A few large electric utilities are defending it, including Duke Energy and PG&E. Would eliminating the credit decimate EV sales? Denmark offers a dire portent - after the country (ironically, a world leader in renewable energy) eliminated its EV incentives in 2015, sales plummeted by 60%, at the same time that they grew by 30% in the EU as a whole (Denmark recently tweaked the law to phase out incentives more gradually). Closer to home, the state of Georgia replaced a $5,000 tax credit with a $200 yearly user fee in 2015, annihilating sales. As Nissan’s Michael Arbuckle told Charged (see this issue’s cover story), LEAF sales in the state went from 80% of the company’s US sales to 7%. The EV industry isn’t likely to die if the credit goes away, but it could move out of the US. China has instituted strict mandates for EV sales, and has rebuffed requests from foreign OEMs to water them down. Global automakers are already building EVs for China that they have no intention of selling in their home markets, and this trend is likely to accelerate. Surely Americans of all political stripes can agree that it would be a shame to see this nascent industry, which was largely developed in the US (and supported by a good deal of taxpayer-funded research) move elsewhere. Of course, the past is an imperfect guide to the future, and eliminating the tax credit may not be the knockout blow that some fear (and others hope). Monthly US plug-in sales have increased compared to the previous year for 17 months now. New EVs such as the Volt and the upcoming 2018 LEAF offer increased range and lower prices, and with battery costs continuing to fall, the day that EVs are truly cost-competitive with legacy vehicles is at most only a couple of years away. Most of the thousands who put down deposits on a Tesla Model 3 must have known that they probably wouldn’t be getting the federal tax credit in any case. Are EVs ready to be pushed out of the nest, so to speak? Is electromobility mature enough to compete in the market without government help? We may find out soon. The Electric Drive Transportation Association is leading efforts to keep the credit alive - learn how to lend your support at

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CHARGED Electric Vehicles Magazine - Issue 34 NOV/DEC 2017  

CHARGED Electric Vehicles Magazine - Issue 34 NOV/DEC 2017

CHARGED Electric Vehicles Magazine - Issue 34 NOV/DEC 2017  

CHARGED Electric Vehicles Magazine - Issue 34 NOV/DEC 2017