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May 2020: Monthly Electric Vehicle News Roundup

1-Ola Electric acquires Etergo, an EV startup based in Amsterdam 

Ola Electric will now work with the startup on bringing their award-winning e-scooters to worldwide markets. Ola Electric, the ride-hailing giant’s unicorn subsidiary Ola, has acquired Etergo, an Amsterdam-based EV startup. Ola Electric became a unicorn in July 2019 after Softbank raised $250 million. Ola Electric aims at the global two-wheeler market of over 100 million, including the Indian two-wheeler market of over 20 million people. It is also supported by Arun Sarin, the former CEO of the Vodafone Group and also Tata Group’s Chairman Emeritus, Ratan Tata. It raised 74 billion in March 2019 from existing and early investors in Ola-Tiger Global and Matrix India.

2-Tata Power to expand its EV Charging Stations by FY 2021 to over 700

The company noted that it currently has around 170 of these charging stations, and now it would substantially invest in expanding its smart EV charging point’s network under the brand name “Tata Power EZ Charge. The company also talked about its plans to create home charging infrastructure, while simultaneously expanding its public charging locations such as metro stations, shopping malls, theaters, and highways. For this, it said it collaborated with the metro rail authorities and local corporations. Tata Power signed an agreement in March to provide charging solutions to the India-based Jaguar Land Rover. They will be spread across Jaguar Land Rover’s 27-store retail network in 24 cities and at the residence and office of customers. Tata Power will deliver a range of AC and DC chargers, from 7 kW to 50 kW. Tata Power and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of commercial-scale electric vehicle charging stations (EV) at retail outlets in HPCL and elsewhere in India.

3- MG ZS EV Now In 6 More Cities in India

The MG ZS EV is India’s second carmaker model after the Hector SUV, and will be manufactured locally alongside the Hector at the Halol plant in Gujarat. It has an understated design and a typical crossover stance and a detailed look at the grille that sports the charging socket gives it’s an electric SUV, other than the electric badging. There’s an embedded eSIM along with built-in Wi-Fi and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also on offer in addition. You then have a complete panoramic sunroof that covers 90 percent of the roof area and you also get a PM 2.5 filter. The battery can offer a maximum range of around 340 km on a single charge, and it can go from 0-100 kmph in just 8.5 seconds thanks to UAES power electronic (PE) solutions. In the ZS EV, you will also get three driving modes and three regenerative braking speeds.

4- Government Notifies Eligibility for EV Components under FAME

The Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises (MHIPE) has given all testing agencies a notification the notice concerns eligibility for xEV parts under the revised Phased Manufacturing Program (PMP). Under the FAME initiative, the government is planning to achieve 100 percent e-mobility by 2030, seeking to have a comprehensive electric mobility ecosystem. In March, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change issued a draft notification for the management of battery wastes. The regulations shall apply to all types of batteries listed in Schedule-I, irrespective of their shape, volume, weight, material, and composition, or use. The batteries have been categorized within two sections under Schedule-I.

5- Buffet-backed BYD to deliver Ford EV batteries

Chinese electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer BYD Co Ltd. will supply U.S. automaker Ford Motor Co. with EV batteries, a statement on Monday’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology webpage. According to the report, Ford’s China venture with Changan Automobile is seeking government approval to construct a hybrid plug-in model fitted with BYD’s batteries. Shenzhen-based BYD, backed by U.S. investor Warren Buffett, said it would provide EV components like batteries and tools for power management. The automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, said last year it intended to launch more than 30 new or substantially revamped models in China by the end of 2021, more than a third of which would be electric vehicles.

6- EV manufacturer Gemopai to introduce new ‘Miso’ mini-scooter in India

The automaker Gemopai plans to launch its new electric vehicle, a mini scooter called ‘Miso’ in India in June. The two-wheeler comes with a transporter that can make it a good option for the delivery business. The electric vehicle will have different battery options in a single charge, with a range of 65 km. It is likely to have a motor spec of 1 kW battery and 250W. The EV is fully assembled and manufactured in India except for the imported battery. Gemopai’s Miso will be available across the country with 60 Gemopai dealers post its launch. With less access to public transportation, two-wheelers are likely to gain more popularity in the country amid social distance guidelines.

7- Tata Hornbill (HBX) EV the cheapest EV in India to replace Nexon EV

For this year, Tata has a few good cars lined up, starting with the Gravitas, Hornbill (HBX) micro SUV, Harrier Petrol, and Altroz Turbo. Both of them are eagerly awaited for being the game-changers in their respective segment. Next, two EV’s are also expected for the near future. Tata revealed after seeing a good start for the Nexon EV, that it is also planning the Altroz EV and Hornbill EV in the future. The Altroz electric version has been unveiled at last year’s Geneva Motor Show. They will both be cheaper than the Nexon EV, currently priced from Rs 13.99 Lakhs to Rs 15.99 Lakhs (ex-showroom).

8- Tesla’s battery ‘million miles’ may last decades

Tesla has changed the field and scope of electrical mobility around the world and has a substantial lead in electric vehicle (EV) space in every major country it has a presence in. While the battery has generated tremendous interest and has been raved about endlessly even if it is not currently out on any of Tesla’s electric cars, it could well be made available commercially as soon as 2021. The most expensive part of an EV is, very naturally, a pump. The cost of these batteries has been going down over the past few years, which has made EVs more affordable. In countries like India, which is still in the nascent stage of electric mobility, it remains a challenge to support infrastructure too, one that can be addressed by a battery that may not need frequent charges.

9- Strom R3, India’s Electric Car to Go On Sale for Rs 4.5 Lakh

The R3 was originally scheduled for a launch this year in March but was postponed due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown. For those unaware, Strom R3 was launched as a three-wheeled electric the vehicle, set in reverse orientation as compared to an auto-rickshaw. This means that two of its wheels are placed at the front whilst one wheel supports the rear. The R3 is set to seat two passengers in a two-door setup. The variant to first go on sale will be the top-speed model with a claimed 200 km range on a single charge. Strom says the lithium-ion battery pack takes about 3 hours for a full charge and has a lifetime of about 1 lakh km. The Strom R3 will also include a range of new-age vehicle tech features including keyless entry, air conditioning, 7-inch touchscreen in addition to 4.3 and 2.4-inch digital auxiliary touchscreens, and 4 G GPS and onboard navigation connectivity.

10-Patents for motorcycle lighting included the concept of motorcycle

Lightning Motorcycles, a US-based manufacturer of electric motorcycles, is theoretically designing an enclosed motorcycle, based on a patent illustration that is circulating online. In China, Lighting Motorcycles already has a huge manufacturing factory of components that could be used to build the new motorcycle, if it makes it into production. The Chinese facility currently manufactures components for the Lighting Attack, the most affordable electric motorcycle, which is priced at $13,000 (about Rs 9.8 lakh). The design looks certainly aerodynamic and it shows that Lighting Motorcycles might be developing a high-performance electric motorcycle with a focus on top speed. The material used to manufacture the capsule was not revealed but it would be the ideal choice given the need to keep the weight in check, carbon fiber, or some other lightweight composite material.

11- Norway’s environmental battery heavyweights pump $4.5 billion EV

According to a recent study by the UK’s Faraday Institution, the international electric car market is rising and with that also the battery demand is projected to hit 450GWh per year in Europe alone by 2030. The planned EV battery factory will be rivaling the proposed battery factory from Swedish Northvolt which aims to produce 16GWh of batteries by 2021 and 32GWh by 2024. With Volkswagen also collaborating with Northvolt to create another 16GWh factory in Salzgitter, Germany, the Swedish factory is also estimated at nearly 20 billion ($A4.46 billion) kroner. The 20 billion kroner will go toward a new research and manufacturing facility that will exploit past research and expertise, Bellona founder Hauge said in a statement.

12- No badge required for tourists who rent cab, bike

Cabs and motorcycles are not required to carry badges under ‘Rent a Motorcycle’ and ‘Rent a Cab’ schemes, the ministry said in an advisory to transport state secretaries and commissars. The driver of a commercial vehicle is required to display a ‘badge’ issued by the Commissioner along with the name of the authority authorizing the driving of a public service vehicle with an identification number. It stated that commercial vehicles such as motorcycle without gear, a motorcycle with gear, light motor vehicle (goods and passenger), and e-rickshaw and e-carts would not require an individual endorsement. Two-wheelers authorized under the ‘Rent a Motorcycle Scheme’ are allowed to travel within the Member States paying the necessary taxes.

13- New ‘Polestar Spaces’ opening in China 

Electric performance car brand Polestar is expanding its retail presence in China as the company is looking to compete with U.S. electric car maker Tesla with its Polestar 2 EV in the world’s largest automobile market. Swedish automaker Volvo and Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding (Geely) jointly own the Polestar brand. The automaker is based in Gothenburg, Sweden, and positioned as a new Volvo-operated standalone electric car performance brand. Polestar’s business model is similar to Tesla’s retail stores, mostly located in upscale shopping centers, rather than utilizing conventional showrooms for vendors, and hired salespeople. The Spaces will be staffed by experienced Polestar company experts who will be able to answer any questions about the vehicles. Creating trendy showrooms in luxury shopping districts is becoming a significant way of selling their new electric vehicles as well as promoting their advanced technologies and exclusive ownership experience as Chinese EV companies aim to compete with Tesla in their home country.

14- Northvolt & Hydro Team Up For EV Recycling Batteries

A new partnership has been established between Swedish lithium-ion battery manufacturer Northvolt and Norwegian aluminum producer Hydro to recycle EV batteries. Norway is the perfect location for such a recycling scheme since as a

Percentage of population it is a world leader in the number of electric cars. The recycling center will be in Fredrikstad and will start operations in 2021. The automated plant can process 8,000 tons of batteries per annum. It is great that the raw materials can be recycled in EV batteries, but what about all those electric motors that use electric cars? The copper in electric motors can be stripped and reused, but there are other parts that can also be recycled, such as rare earth magnets, although that process is much more difficult. The circular economy is an ideal fit for the increasing electric car industry.

15- Inovio files lawsuit against vaccine partner VGXI COVID-19

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, based in the United States, filed a lawsuit against VGXI, a U.S. subsidiary of GeneOne Life Science, based in South Korea, demanding key information required for the planned large-scale manufacture of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate.VGXI, which has collaborated with Inovio to develop a COVID-19 DNA vaccine for this latter, is responsible for the commercial development of the vaccine. In the lawsuit, Inovio argued that VGXI did not have the capacity to manufacture large quantities of the vaccine, thereby refusing to provide the requisite details to allow others to produce it instead. Inovio said it needs to have 1 million doses ready by year’s end, but its plan faces a disruption due to the refusal of VGXI. Inovio also said it took VGXI two weeks to make 30,000 doses, which is not enough for clinical trials, and VGXI deliberately delays its production to squeeze out more money from Inovio. VGXI is expected to make its official declaration Friday.

16- By May 2020, MG Motor India will sell 710 units

In the month of May 2020, SAIC-owned MG Motor India recorded 710 retail sales, amid supply chain constraints. At its Halol manufacturing facility, the carmaker has resumed production with approximately 30 percent capacity utilization. Approximately 65 percent of its showrooms and service stations throughout the country also operate with a reduced workforce. MG Motor India recently unveiled its latest contact-free ‘Shield+’ technology package to improve the customer experience. It continues to follow all sanitation procedures at its facilities to ensure its customers and workers are safe.

17-Largest electric vehicle in the world is a 290 ton dump truck  

This year the first rounds of hydrogen-powered truck production launch. The new hydrogen outfit will make it less noisy and cheaper for the mining truck to keep than its diesel versions. According to Popular Mechanics, the dump truck would weigh 290 tons making it bigger than the previous biggest electric vehicle: the 45-ton dumper. A lithium-ion battery will replace the diesel engine, allowing both a battery and hydrogen fuel cell technology to drive the FCEV haul truck, similar to the new Nikola Badger electric pick-up truck. It also provides up to 1,000 kilowatt-hours of energy storage for the mining truck, concede it to work in the same “challenging environment” as a diesel-powered haul truck, The truck will also have regenerative braking which will allow the vehicle to conserve and recover energy while descending.

18- General Motors announces $20 trillion investment in electrification 

The automaker today unveiled its new Ultium electric vehicle propulsion architecture as part of the company’s “EV Day,” an event where GM shared its strategy of increasing its electric vehicle sales and transforming the company for the future. As part of GM’s “EV Day,” the automaker welcomed hundreds of employees, dealers, investors, analysts, media, and policymakers to its Technical Center to disclose details of the company’s strategy to rapidly, efficiently and profitably increase its electric vehicle sales over the next five years. GM also unveiled details of the latest Ultium platform and the batteries which will drive its upcoming electric models for the first time today. The joint venture between GM and LG Chem will push battery cell costs below $100 / kWh the automaker claims is around 40 percent lower than what they cost now. The new battery cells use patented low cobalt chemistry and production changes would help further reduce costs.

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