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The Newest EV Innovations & Business Model Transitions

There is a new confluence of interest among participants in the automobility system, which is influencing sector policies and provide the emergence of business model enhancements.

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EV innovations are helping to define, create, and capture significant new market opportunities around technological breakthroughs in all-electric transportation. As a result, EV manufacturers and consumers interested in switching to electric are curious to see which EV innovations will rock the marketplace and become the next generation’s norm.

Automobility is often seen as a significant space in which profound socio-technical transition is an urgent priority. Emergent alternative forms of mobility for the development of sustainable transport are revealing the emergence of business model transitions that are upending a system that has endured more than 120 years.

A McKinsey analysis outlines how accelerating EV profitability will require some bold steps, including:

  • making tough choices around EV-platform design, including balancing lower material cost with higher capital allocation and maximizing volume where possible
  • applying more ambitious cost-reduction approaches to EVs, including design simplification, value neutral decontenting, and aggressive purchasing strategies
  • evaluating new potential partnerships with competitors to share R&D, tooling, and production costs for new EV platforms
  • considering more creative use of alternative EV-specific business models that can boost margins

Let’s look at 3 examples of EV innovations in the recent news that are attempting to apply such “bold steps” to a confluence of elements that is creating exponential growth for all electric transportation.

Enhancing Public Charger Reliability = Important EV Innovations

EVgo is one of the nation’s largest public fast charging networks for EVs. It’s been around for about a dozen years, and it keeps growing and expanding. The newest announcement from the company is its EVgo ReNew, which is an enhanced maintenance program designed to ensure stations across EVgo’s charging network meet its quality and technology standards.

We know that being on the road away from home in an EV and finding an inoperable charger is unacceptable. Through the program, EVgo plans to replace, upgrade, or — in some cases — retire hundreds of stations over the coming year. That will enhance charger availability and build range confidence for EV drivers.

EVgo ReNew is comprised of 6 core pillars that outline EVgo’s approach to reliability: prevention, diagnostics, rapid response, analysis, resilience, and continuous customer service. This effort includes:

  • ramping up in-person preventative health checks of chargers
  • improving system monitoring, diagnostic, and recovery tools
  • replacing legacy equipment
  • retiring problematic chargers if replacement or upgrade is impractical

EVgo ReNew builds on EVgo’s existing charger maintenance efforts. Where possible, EVgo will install new chargers with power levels up to 350kW. Through a combination of proprietary market analysis, data-driven insights, and customer feedback, the program also identifies sites for decommissioning.

In addition to site-level analysis, EVgo also works with site host partners to assess factors like charger placement, station size, and power levels to ensure charging options provide the greatest value for their customers and the community.

Right now, EVgo’s network currently charges about 50 different EV models, and the company anticipates that it will have 100 EV models available to its charging in the next two years across EVgo’s nationwide network.

Skateboard Chassis Configuration for Battery Packs

Earlier this month Neta Auto and CATL agreed to collaborate on the CATL Integrated Intelligent Chassis (CIIC). Through the Cell to Chassis (CTC) technology, key components in battery and other systems are integrated at the bottom of the vehicle, with no need of separate battery packs. This can reduce the user acquisition cost and energy consumption, increase the distance per charge, and expand the passenger space.

Neta Auto will support CATL in technology R&D, supply chain guarantee, and exploring the possibility of vehicles using the skateboard chassis. Peng Qingfeng, co-founder of Neta Auto, said: “The cooperation will enable Neta Auto to develop more comfortable and powerful intelligent vehicles in a faster and more economical fashion. It can better implement the brand value of equality in technology worldwide.”

The CIIC will help Neta Auto products reach a new height in distance per charge and intelligent driving, providing EVs with greater safety, comfort, and maneuverability for customers as part of its EV innovations.

Electric Truck Charging Network

Heavy trucks contribute a quarter of all road transport CO2 emissions and are key to tackling climate change, but truck charging is an entity unto its own. So a new Swedish charging station operator, Nimbnet, and Finland-based global charging platform and end-to-end solution provider Virta have signed a partnership to build a brand new type of charging network specifically for electric trucks. As part of the partnership, Virta will deliver platform-integrated Kempower charging stations to Nimbnet.

The pre-bookable truck charging stations are designed to enable Swedish logistics companies to replace most of the current 85,000 heavy trucks with electric ones. The Nimbnet charging stations are laid out to accommodate the longest heavy trucks as well as personal cars.

The first new Nimbnet charging stations, aided by a grant from the Swedish Energy Agency, will be built in Gothenburg, Söderhamn, Sundsvall, and Nordmaling. They will be ready to receive the first heavy trucks for charging at the end of 2023.

Nimbnet aims to fill all the main geographical blank spaces to ensure that all of Sweden can be serviced by electric trucks. The “Powered by Virta” network includes 70,000 chargers in 34 countries with access to over 350,000 charging points. At Nimbnet stations EV drivers will be able to charge with Virta mobile APP, RFID tag, credit card, and Plug&Charge compatible vehicle. The integrated Kempower chargers can deliver up to 350kW of continuous power, which means charging times will be quite competitive.

“As all the major truck manufacturers are quickly electrifying their fleets and 56% of all heavy trucks travel less than 250 kilometers each day, range is no longer the issue it once was. Most heavy trucks could be replaced with electric ones, but the current charging infrastructure does not yet serve their needs. Nimbnet’s Virta-powered network is designed with their needs in mind from the very beginning,” says Torbjörn Nordling, Project Supervisor at Nimbnet.

Nimbnet’s innovative reservation system helps commercial truck operators plan dependable delivery routes and schedules beforehand so that overall waiting times are minimized, and fleet utility rates are maximized.

In addition to enabling reliable and scheduled A-to-B delivery logistics, Nimbnet promises truck companies savings on electricity prices. The network offers flexible pricing based on the current electricity price on the Nord Pool electricity market and the load of the local power grid. Customers will be able to plan their charging to get the best price, which will also help grid operators avoid huge peaks of demand.

Over 1,000 partners around the world operate their EV charging services with Virta.

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Written By

Carolyn Fortuna (they, them), Ph.D., is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. Carolyn has won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavy Foundation. Carolyn is a small-time investor in Tesla and an owner of a Model Y as well as a Chevy Bolt. Please follow Carolyn on Twitter and Facebook.


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