• chevron_right

      EVgo knows that DC fast charging is still rough, so it’s fixing more stations / ArsTechnica · 3 days ago - 18:08 · 1 minute

    Man showing his son the EVgo app while charging a car

    Enlarge / If my dad had been able to show me the intricate dance between smartphone app, car, cable, and station, perhaps my first outing wouldn't have been quite so confusing. (credit: EVgo)

    EVgo, one of the nation's largest DC fast charging providers, seems to be coming around to the idea that while having more chargers would be nice, having reliably functioning chargers is more important at the moment. So it's doing something that would be odd for most other companies and announcing its progress in fixing and upgrading its network.

    As part of " EVgo ReNew ," the company's plan focuses on "overall network performance and the holistic customer experience." EVgo says it "upgraded, replaced, or decommissioned" charging gear at 120 of its more than 850 stations. It has also brought at least one 350 kW charger to nearly all its stations, claims to have cut its average station repair time in half over the last 12 months, and improved its repair parts inventory and customer service staffing. And EVgo says it will track "One & Done" success rates, measuring how many people are able to initiate a charging session on their first attempt.

    EV charging reliability has been an issue for a few years now. It's something we wrote (warned, really) about in 2022 , and a JD Power study on the EV public charging experience last month showed it's not getting better. EVgo rated a 569 out of 1,000 in that study, roughly midway between ChargePoint at 606 and Electrify America at 538, with all of them dropping from 2022. Tesla, meanwhile, with its nationwide network of Supercharger spots with first-mover placement advantage, rated 739 out of 1,000, unchanged from 2022.

    Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    • chevron_right

      Autoworker strike could give GM breathing room to fix battery production / ArsTechnica · Monday, 18 September - 20:02 · 1 minute

    A naked GM Ultium rolling chassis

    Enlarge / The Ultium platform is the foundation of GM’s EV strategy, including the battery cells, modules and pack, plus drive units containing electric motors and integrated power electronics. It underpins GM’s EV architecture and was developed with a common set of components, providing energy for nearly every segment on the road. At least that's if it can ramp up production. (credit: General Motors)

    Last Thursday, the United Auto Workers went on strike at a trio of factories owned by Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis. Negotiations to replace an expiring contract reached a stalemate, leading to thousands of UAW members stopping work in Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio. The strike has been targeted to disrupt profitable production lines like Ford's Bronco, but there might be a silver lining to the strike for General Motors.

    That curious idea appeared over the weekend in Reuters . You see, GM has been having somewhat of a production problem. The automaker has publicly committed to going all-in on electrification, developing a new battery platform to be shared across Brightdrop, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC.

    An Ultium-shaped headache

    Known as Ultium, the new batteries are meant to be far cheaper to produce than the batteries that power the Chevy Bolt; when Ultium was first announced , CEO Mary Barra said that costs would drop below $100/kWh "early in the platform's life."

    Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    • chevron_right

      EV startup Lordstown Motors files for bankruptcy protection / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 27 June - 14:52

    Photo of Lordstown Motors plant in Ohio

    Enlarge (credit: Bloomberg )

    Lordstown Motors has filed for bankruptcy protection, marking the end of the road for an ailing electric truck manufacturer that promised a corner of the US Rust Belt hundreds of jobs tied to the auto industry’s green transition.

    The company said the move followed the unraveling of a deal with Taiwan’s Foxconn, which in 2021 agreed to partner with Lordstown and help produce its flagship pick-up truck, the Endurance, and last year purchased its plant.

    In a statement on Tuesday, Lordstown accused Foxconn of failing to “execute on the agreed-upon strategy, leaving us with Chapter 11 as the only viable option to maximize the value of Lordstown’s assets for the benefit of our stakeholders.”

    Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    • chevron_right

      Manchin vows to sue Biden administration over EV tax credits / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 30 March, 2023 - 14:07 · 1 minute

    Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, speaks during the 2023 CERAWeek by S&P Global conference in Houston, Texas, US, on Friday, March 10, 2023.

    Enlarge / US Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) is a millionaire thanks to coal, gas, and oil interests. He was responsible for rewriting the US electric vehicle incentives. (credit: Aaron M. Sprecher/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

    US Senator Joe Manchin was instrumental in rewriting the nation's electric vehicle incentives , but now the West Virginia Democrat says he wants to sue the federal government "if I'm allowed to" in order to stop too many EVs from reaching US customers with battery packs that contain materials and components refined, processed, or manufactured abroad. The politician made the remarks during a panel on Wednesday, according to S&P Global .

    Originally, the IRS tax credits offered to car buyers to incentivize them to purchase a plug-in electric vehicle were linked to the size of the car's battery. But as part of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, the rules were changed. Now, the $7,500 tax credit is only applicable to "clean vehicles"—either battery EVs or hydrogen fuel cell EVs, not plug-in hybrids.

    Where do your minerals come from?

    There are several more requirements , including final assembly in North America, but for most new EVs, the stumbling block is a requirement that battery components be domestically sourced.

    Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    • chevron_right

      Meeting the Inflation Reduction Act’s EV battery requirements will be hard / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 9 March, 2023 - 18:17 · 1 minute

    Image of a large pile of greyish stone.

    Enlarge / Lithium ore sits waiting for processing. (credit: Bloomberg Creative Photos )

    The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has some car troubles. One of President Joe Biden’s major initiatives, the law was intended to foster activities that are both good for the economy and green. As such, it contains stipulations about the manufacturing of EVs—particularly that their batteries come from local sources or free-trade partners. But there are some issues with the availability of critical minerals that meet the "local" criteria and some vagueness on important terminology, according to a recent paper .

    Higher standards

    The IRA was signed into law in August of last year. It includes a provision that gives tax credits to producers that use critical minerals that come from the US or some of its close trade partners. In particular, to get the credits, an electric vehicle—which needs to be fully electric—would need to have a battery in which 80 percent of the market value of its critical minerals is sourced from within the US. Alternatively, this benchmark could be reached using minerals sourced from free-trade partners, or the minerals could hail from elsewhere but be processed in the US.

    This is an increase over the requirements ( 40 percent ) for receiving previous incentives. In theory, purchasing one of the vehicles eligible for a tax credit would be more affordable for many consumers.

    Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    • chevron_right

      Why it’s time to get over your EV range anxiety / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 2 March, 2023 - 14:28

    EVs charging

    Enlarge (credit: George Rose via Getty )

    Electric vehicle batteries keep getting larger, and the typical driving range between charges keeps growing.

    The shift is partly a response to “range anxiety”—the fear of being stranded because EV batteries don’t have enough power to get to the next charging station—an idea so familiar in discussions of electric vehicles that it was spoofed in a Ram Super Bowl ad last month.

    But this concern is unwarranted for a large share of EV customers, according to research from the University of Delaware, published February 21 in the journal Energies .

    Read 22 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    • chevron_right

      A new battery management system could boost EV range by 20 percent / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 4 January, 2023 - 15:30 · 1 minute

    A circuit board on a white background

    Enlarge / This is the BQ79731-Q1, a new battery pack monitor from Texas Instruments. TI has also developed a battery cell monitor that works with it to much more accurately manage LFP batteries in EVs. (credit: Texas Instruments)

    One of the more exciting developments to come to electric vehicles over the past few years has been the development of lithium-iron phosphate cells as an alternative to more traditional lithium-ion chemistries that use minerals like nickel, manganese, and cobalt. Now, a new battery management system, or BMS, could mean much more accurate range predictions for EVs with these batteries.

    Why LFP?

    LiFePO4, or LFP, batteries were mostly the province of Chinese EV makers until last year thanks to a series of exclusive patent licenses signed with the US and Canadian researchers who first developed the technology. But those patents are expiring, and non-Chinese automakers are beginning to adopt LFP batteries.

    LFP cells dislike very cold weather more than an equivalent NMC or nickel-cobalt aluminum cell, and they also store less energy. But that last bit might in fact be an advantage to this chemistry—there's no danger that an LFP pack will combust or explode in a crash, so there's much less need to surround the pack with a heavy protective shell.

    Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    • chevron_right

      The USPS now says it will buy 66,000 EVs by 2028 / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 20 December, 2022 - 17:38 · 1 minute

    A rendering of the new USPS truck in profile

    Enlarge / It's called the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle, and it was designed by Oshkosh Defense. (credit: USPS )

    On Tuesday, the long-running saga of the United States Postal Service's delivery fleet took another turn when Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced that the service is increasing the number of electric vehicles it plans to purchase. The new plan calls for a minimum of 60,000 Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV) by 2028, 45,000 of which will be battery EVs. The USPS will also buy an additional 21,000 commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) EVs—perhaps EVs like the Ford e-Transit or the BrightDrop Zevo 600 —for deliveries by 2028. And from 2026, all vehicles bought by the USPS will be BEVs.

    "Every neighborhood, every household in America deserves to have electric USPS trucks delivering clean air with their mail, and today’s announcement takes us almost all the way there. The Postal Service’s shift to only purchasing electric mail trucks within five years is the marker of a sea change in the federal fleet as the country looks to an electric future. Ultimately, this shift will buffer us from volatile gas prices, spur the growth of clean energy jobs, and have us all breathing easier," said Adrian Martinez, senior attorney on Earthjustice’s Right to Zero campaign.

    The Postal Service's plans to replace its fleet of aging, inefficient, and increasingly dangerous Grumman LLVs crystalized in February 2021, when it announced that it had selected Oshkosh Defense's NGDV as its next mail delivery van . At the time, the USPS said it planned to buy between 50,000-165,000 NGDVs but that only 10 percent of the order would be BEVs.

    Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    • chevron_right

      How Jaguar uses Formula E to make better road EVs / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 30 November, 2022 - 21:34 · 1 minute

    The Jaguar I Type 6 reveal

    Enlarge / Jaguar's latest factory racing car is the I Type 6, its latest Formula E challenger. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

    Jaguar provided a flight from DC to London and back and a night in a hotel so we could see its new Formula E car and speak to its engineers. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

    LONDON—On Wednesday, Jaguar Racing became the latest Formula E team to unveil its race car for the coming season. The sport has radical new technical rules for its third-generation race car, which is smaller, lighter, more powerful, and more efficient . This will be the British automaker's sixth season competing in the series, and its participation is for more than just marketing; Jaguar Land Rover's electrified road cars have benefited in tangible ways as a result, according to the team's technical manager Phil Charles.

    "If you rewind back to 2017, that's the first time that [we used] our in-house inverter for the racing team," Charles told Ars. "We put a silicon carbide switching device, the Wolfspeed one actually... that gave us the ability to switch super fast. That was the push on our side—we want to switch faster and see if that can give us efficiency, which it did. So we've gotten over and over and over during these inverter development cycles, switching faster and faster and faster," he said.

    At the time, few manufacturers looked at silicon carbide power electronics for road-going EVs. "Now everyone wants silicon carbide, and the reason they want it is the same reasons we do," Charles said. "So the tech that we pushed then has really caught up now—the race to road is really clear. If I kind of map our switching speed increase, we've done five evolutions with different topologies of the in-house inverter. Now the road cars are coming along and the benefit there is range, ultimately; it means smaller batteries."

    Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments