Polestar investment helps commercialise StoreDot’s extreme fast charging tech

Polestar investment helps commercialise StoreDot’s extreme fast charging tech

Swedish all-electric premium car maker Polestar has become a shareholder in Israeli startup StoreDot, the developer of fast-charging electric vehicle batteries.

As part of the partnership and investment agreement, Polestar will investigate utilising StoreDot’s extreme fast charging silicon-dominant batteries for future Polestar cars.

StoreDot is on track to begin mass-producing its ‘100in5’ technology batteries as early as 2024 which can achieve 100 miles of range with just a five-minute charge.

“This is yet another significant vote of confidence in StoreDot and our market-leading extreme fast charging battery. This investment from one of the pioneering electric vehicle brands is an important step in our commercialisation process,” says Meir Halberstam, StoreDot’s CFO.

“It will not only enable us to bring the ground-breaking ‘100in5’ batteries to market quicker, but also boost our R&D capabilities. We are rapidly moving towards even more game-changing technology and are laser-focused on offering 100 miles of range in just two minutes of charging, within a decade.”

Polestar’s investment comes as part of StoreDot’s Series D funding round. The company’s global strategic partners now include Daimler, BP, VinFast, Polestar parent company Volvo, Ola Electric, Samsung, TDK, and EVE Energy. Polestar will not have exclusive rights to use StoreDot’s tech

“Polestar can help shape the development of new battery technology for the automotive industry and provide invaluable insights from the perspective of a brand focused on performance and sustainability,” says Polestar CEO, Thomas Ingenlath.

“Charging and range anxiety are common concerns holding owners of combustion engine cars back from making the switch to EVs. StoreDot’s advanced battery technology potentially provides real solutions to these obstacles. If our current pilot projects with StoreDot are successful, we could see these solutions being implemented in Polestar cars by 2026.”

UKs first lithium refinery to be funded by Trafigura

UKs first lithium refinery to be funded by Trafigura

The UK start up Green Lithium has agreed terms with commodity trading company Trafigura, to support the development of the first lithium refinery in Europe.

Under the agreement Green Lithium will produce battery-grade lithium chemicals for the EU electric vehicle and battery industries while Trafigura will supply the lithium feedstock for the UK based refinery.

Given the significance that lithium plays within the supply chain and more importantly, the role it plays in the transition to a more sustainable economy- an agreement between Green Lithium and Trafigura will be fundamental in the development of battery manufacturing and will create a major milestone in Trafigura’s international battery metals business. 

Green Lithium’s chief executive Sean Sargent has said: “Green Lithium’s refinery will accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and sustainable energy storage through the increased supply of low-carbon, battery-grade lithium chemicals – a key component of lithium-ion batteries,”.  

He continues to  say: ”Fulfilling this vision requires the right supply chain and investment partners. In Trafigura, we have found the perfect match in a company that not only has vast experience and expertise in the battery supply chain, but that is also willing to make a key equity investment to support Green Lithium in achieving its project objectives.”

There is currently no commercial lithium refining capability in Europe, leaving it solely reliant on China for battery metals. Therefore, in producing this lithium refinery, Green Lithium expects to fill a missing gap and promises upstream supply chain security.

This is the latest series of investments to revolutionise the production of batteries, and to kick start a new operation in the EU’s electric vehicle and battery industry.  

Bird research validates benefits of pneumatic e-scooter tyres

Bird research validates benefits of pneumatic e-scooter tyres

Research from micromobility provider Bird appears to resolve a question that probably isn’t uppermost in riders’ minds when they hire a scooter, but might be by the time they return it. Shocks or no shocks?

Most shared scooters rely on one of two tyre models, explains Bird, either solid/semi-solid tyres with suspension “shocks” or pneumatic tyres without them. A scooter’s tyres are also one of the most critical components impacting traction and stability, argues Bird, so it’s important for shared micromobility providers to invest in designs that improve vehicle safety.

Bird’s approach has been to work with a tyre manufacturer to develop an automotive-grade 6-ply tubeless pneumatic scooter tyre specifically designed for the rigors of the shared micromobility industry.

But is the right solution? That was the question Bird recently set out to address at its R&D facility in Southern California.

Its engineers compared a Bird Three scooter equipped with custom pneumatic tyres and a mass-produced scooter model used by many operators worldwide with semi-solid tyres and shocks.

The tests were designed to test the two core assumptions underpinning Bird’s approach. Firstly, pneumatic tyres tend to offer better shock absorption over a wider variety of common street surfaces including gravel and cobblestone.

And secondly, while solid tyres become rigid with dropping temperatures, decreasing their traction when it’s needed most, the air in pneumatic tyres compresses in colder temperatures making them softer and more compliant.

Both scooters were fitted with handlebar-mounted instrumentation to detect the vertical acceleration that would be experienced by riders as jolts and vibrations. Bird then ran each scooter multiple times down test tracks over a range of surfaces including gravel, cobblestone and a wide variety of other simulated street surfaces that riders encounter across the globe.

In each test, the tubeless pneumatic tyre performed better than the solid tyre with shocks, experiencing on average 33% less vertical acceleration.

“This reduction in vibrations is significant because it means 33% more stability and control for riders when experiencing everyday bumps and uneven road conditions” said Scott Rushforth, Chief Vehicle Officer at Bird. “Pneumatics are demonstrably better at damping vibration and low-frequency bumps than solid or semi-solid tyres with suspension, and this most recent testing clearly validates that.”

In addition to the safety benefits that come with fewer vibrations and better handling and stability on bumpy streets, Bird’s says its pneumatic tyres have a hidden environmental benefit. Limiting the amount of shaking cuts down on premature wear and tear, increasing sustainability. Pneumatic tyres can also easily be changed when damaged, salvaging the wheel hub, while solids are typically serviced by replacing the entire wheel or motor assembly.

MOVE, which takes place at ExCeL London on 15/16 June, is an opportunity to hear from senior Bird executives including Victoria Springthorpe, Head of UK & Ireland Public Policy and James Padden, General Manager – UK & Ireland. With over 600 speakers across 33 themed stages MOVE is the world’s most important mobility event. Find further details here

Michigan State University autonomous bus starts carrying passengers

Michigan State University autonomous bus starts carrying passengers

Following six months of extensive on-campus testing and more than 650 test runs, Michigan State University’s full-size autonomous electric bus initiative has started accepting passengers on a 2.5-mile campus route.

The 22-seat Karsan Autonomous e-ATAK bus, believed to be one of the largest of its kind to be deployed on public US roads to date, was recently approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The project is a collaboration with the State of Michigan, bus manufacturer Karsan and Michigan-based ADASTEC, which develops SAE Level-4 automated driving software platforms for commercial vehicles.

ADASTEC’s flowride.ai software platform incorporates a range of sensor, safety and mapping equipment on the bus that also supports data sharing, mission control and fleet management operations. The bus is also fitted with a wheelchair ramp along with audio messaging for accessibility.

Traffic lights along the 2.5-mile route are equipped with intelligent roadside units which communicate with the bus to enable vehicle to infrastructure interoperability. A licensed safety driver and operator from ADASTEC’s Ann Arbor office will be on-board at all times.

Michigan State University will study and analyse various aspects of the project, from vehicle to infrastructure communication technologies to the user experience for people with disabilities.

Pony.ai secures license to operate Guangzhou fee-charging robotaxi service

Pony.ai secures license to operate Guangzhou fee-charging robotaxi service

China- and US-based autonomous driving technology company Pony.ai has been awarded a permit to operate 100 autonomous vehicles as traditional fee-charging taxis in Nansha, Guangzhou, making it the first autonomous driving company to obtain a taxi license in China.

From May, Pony.ai will operate commercial services across the 800 square kilometres of Nansha and intends to gradually expand the scale and scope to other areas of Guangzhou. Passengers can hail rides and pay for the service through the PonyPilot+ App with fares based on local standard taxi pricing. While the service will initially operate with a safety driver, the company expects to remove the driver in the near future.

In qualifying for the license, Pony.ai had to achieve various qualification criteria set by national inspection institutions including a minimum of 24 months of autonomous driving and a million kilometres travelled, with at least 200,000 km within the proposed operational area, and no involvement in any active liability traffic accidents.

Pony.ai says the license award signals the Guangzhou government’s formal implementation of autonomous mobility services alongside traditional taxi and ride-hailing platforms. “Being China’s first autonomous vehicle company to receive a taxi license is a testament to Pony.ai’s technological strength and ability to operate robotaxi services. We will expand the scale of our services, provide quality travel experiences and create an industry benchmark for robotaxi services and continue to lead the commercialisation of robotaxis and robotrucks,” said James Peng, co-founder and CEO of Pony.ai.

“Both government policy and the public are increasingly accepting robotaxis as a form of everyday transportation, recognizing the ride experience and technical stability of Pony.ai’s robotaxi,” said Tiancheng Lou, co-founder and CTO of Pony.ai.

Pony.ai’s has been running trial robotaxi services in Beijing and Guangzhou since December 2018. As of mid-April 2022, it had completed more than 700,000 trips, with nearly 80% repeat users and 99% of the passengers giving positive comments and a service satisfaction rating of 4.9 on a 5-point scale.

Polestar embarks on climate-neutral car mission

Polestar embarks on climate-neutral car mission

Swedish electric car manufacturer Polestar has announced several agreements with global suppliers in its efforts to produce the “first truly climate-neutral car”.

New partnerships include German car parts maker ZF Friedrichshafen and Swedish steel company SSAB. Polestar has also signed letters of intent with Norwegian aluminium and renewable energy company Norsk Hydro, automotive safety supplier Swedish Autoliv, electronics and telecoms maker LG Corp and lighting systems and electronics company ZKW Group.

Polestar is emphasising the importance of collaboration for reaching zero-emission goals and the need for the global automotive industry to speed up the efforts for electrification.

“It was clear from the start that this is not a solo mission, and we are very excited to present such a strong line-up of interested partners,” commented Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath.

The global automotive industry is challenged by the increasing evidence that manufacturing long-range battery EVs produces high volumes of green-house-gas emissions. Polestar’s carbon foot printing analysis prompted it to draw the conclusion that its current models are still part of the problem, not the solution.

Ingenlath has previously said that “going electric is not enough, making cars electric is the starting point.”

Polestar’s ambition is to create a “truly neutral” car by 2030 in which carbon emissions are removed from the supply chain by changing the way the cars are built rather than planting trees.

The new agreements include:

  • SSAB will supply fossil-free steel, assisting Polestar to replace not only the conventional steel but also other materials in the car,
  • Norsk Hydro, the world’s largest aluminium provider and renewable energy company, will assist Polestar to switch to zero-carbon aluminium,
  • ZF will boost innovation in Polestar EVs by increasing overall systems competence to reduce carbon emissions and lower resource usage,
  • Autoliv will provide zero-emission seatbelts and airbags for Polestar cars, improving safety through eliminating CO2 emissions,
  • ZKW, an automotive lighting supplier, will equip Polestar EVs with climate-neutral electrical control systems and wiring.
Virginia adopts mileage-based user fee programme

Virginia adopts mileage-based user fee programme

The US state of Virginia has signed a contract with toll-based mobility solutions provider Emovis to implement a mileage-based user fee programme for an initial period of three years.

Virginia joins three other US states that have previously rolled out the solution, namely Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

According to Emovis, which is part of Spanish electronic solutions company Abertis Mobility Services, its mileage-based user fee programme can help compensate for the loss of federal and state fuel tax revenue resulting from the increase in electric and more fuel-efficient vehicles and is designed to be an equitable way to ensure all vehicle owners pay their fair share of tax.

Eligible vehicle owners will be given a choice during the annual vehicle registration process to pay a flat fee or opt for a pay-per-mile charge, capped at the equivalent of the annual flat fee.

The solution to be implemented in Virginia is based on the current Utah solution. Client authority the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles says up to 1.9 million vehicles will be eligible for the Virginia programme, which is expected to launch in July.

“This contract consolidates Emovis as a leader in the mileage-based user fee space, following the existing revenue-service programmes in Utah and Oregon,” said Christian Barrientos, CEO of Abertis Mobility Services.

“It shows a clear commitment toward mileage-based user fees in the country as an alternative for future funding and improved performance of the US transportation system.”

The Emovis solution also uses cloud analytics and mobile technology to ensure personal information and travel habits remain private.

TfL cites fire risk as reason for banning e-scooters from its services

TfL cites fire risk as reason for banning e-scooters from its services

Transport for London (TfL), the body responsible for most of the transport network in London including buses, the underground and overland trains, has banned all privately-owned e-scooters and e-unicycles from its transport network with immediate effect.

This is the result, says TfL, of safety concerns following recent fires. Customers in possession of such devices will not be permitted to enter any premises on TfL’s network or travel on any of its services, including on the Tube, buses, Overground, TfL Rail, Trams and DLR.

In response to recent incidents, TfL has undertaken further work to review the safety of the vehicles and their suitability for carriage on the TfL transport network.

This review has found that the incidents were caused by defective lithium-ion batteries, which ruptured without warning. This led to fires that caused toxic smoke to be released.

TfL consider that if this were to happen again and fires occurred in an enclosed area like a Tube train or a bus, there could be harm to both customers and staff, as well as secondary injuries from customers trying to escape the area.

Whilst privately owned e-scooters remain illegal to use in public spaces, they are widely available for purchase. Private e-scooters and e-unicycles are currently unregulated, meaning they are not currently required to meet any minimum vehicle standards.

TfL added it will keep these changes under review pending any future changes to legislation by the government regarding e-scooters and e-unicycles, specifically around safety standards.

Additionally, TfL is collecting data from the rental e-scooter trials to help shape future policy on safety standards in London and the rest of the UK. TfL’s trial of rental e-scooters, which began in June 2021 as part of trials permitted nationally by the Department for Transport (DfT), offer the only e-scooters legally allowed on London’s roads.

These rental e-scooters are also not currently allowed on TfL services.

Lilli Matson, TfL’s chief safety, health and environment officer, said, “Our primary concern is always for the safety of our customers and staff. We have been extremely worried by the recent incidents on our public transport services, which involved intense fires and considerable smoke and damage.

“We have worked with London Fire Brigade to determine how we should deal with these devices and, following that review, we have decided to ban them. Customers who try to bring them onto our network will be refused access to our stations and premises, and not be permitted to use any of our services.”

The ban does not apply to mobility scooters or foldable e-bikes. TfL said e-bikes are generally subject to better manufacturing standards and the batteries are usually positioned in a place where they are less likely to be damaged, and so are less of a fire risk.

Non-foldable e-bikes will continue to be allowed on some parts of the network at certain times of the day.

British government backs hydrogen powered “Green Skies” flight research

British government backs hydrogen powered “Green Skies” flight research

A British government-back hydrogen-powered jet concept is promising zero emission planes capable of non-stop flight from London to San Francisco at the same speed as today’s jetliners.

The FlyZero project, led by the Aerospace Technology Institute, was unveiled this week at a meeting of the Jet Zero Council, chaired by British Transport Secretary Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP.

The FlyZero project is one of seven to have received funding through the £15 million Green Fuel, Green Skies competition.

According to a government statement the plane would be able to carry 279 passengers with the same speed and range as existing midsize passenger jets.

“The Aerospace Technology Institute’s pioneering research highlights the potential for hydrogen in realising zero-carbon global connectivity,” says Jet Zero Council CEO Emma Gilthorpe.

“This ground-breaking green technology looks set to play a critical role in decarbonising flight and through the work of the Jet Zero Council, the UK aviation sector is exploring all avenues to ensure we protect the benefits of flying for future generations while cutting the carbon cost.”

FlyZero Project Director Chris Gear adds: “At a time of global focus on tackling climate change, our midsize concept sets out a truly revolutionary vision for the future of global air travel keeping families, businesses and nations connected without the carbon footprint.

“This new dawn for aviation brings with it real opportunities for the UK aerospace sector to secure market share, highly skilled jobs and inward investment while helping to meet the UK’s commitments to fight climate change.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says, “This pioneering design for a liquid hydrogen-powered aircraft, led by a British organisation, brings us one step closer to a future where people can continue to travel and connect but without the carbon footprint.”

Ticketing + payments: exchanging polluting vehicles for access to alternative transport

Ticketing + payments: exchanging polluting vehicles for access to alternative transport

Lamprini Papafoti, Future Mobility Officer with the West Midlands Combined Authority in England explains the use of mobility credits as a way of encouraging people out of their cars. Slides presented in the ticketing + payments track at Move 2021 in London on 10 November.

Click on the link below to access the slides

14.05 – Lamprini Papafoti, Future Mobility Officer, West Midlands Combined Authority

Ticketing + payments: how contactless evolved through the pandemic

Ticketing + payments: how contactless evolved through the pandemic

Juan Corro Beseler, CIO with EMT Madrid, the company charged with the planning and running the Spanish capital’s urban transport explains how the Covid pandemic has accelerated contactless payments. Slides presented in the ticketing + payments track at Move 2021 in London on 10 November.

Click on the link below to access the slides

11.30 – Juan Corro Beseler, Director of Technology and Innovation, EMT Madrid

Tech + data: working with market innovators to solve London’s challenges

Tech + data: working with market innovators to solve London’s challenges

Rikesh Shah, Head of Commercial Innovation at Transport for London describes how TfL is selecting and working with market innovators to solve London’s challenges. Slides presented in the tech, data and innovation track at Move 2021 in London on 10 November.

Click on the link below to access the slides

11.55 – Rikesh Shah, Head of Commercial Innovation, TfL

Smart cities: upgrading traffic management systems with connected data

Smart cities: upgrading traffic management systems with connected data

Anders Truelsen, Chief Revenue Officer with Israeli connected car data platform Otonomo looks at how connected data can upgrade traffic management systems. Slides presented in the smart cities + infrastructure track at Move 2021 in London on 10 November.

Click on the link below to access the slides

13.50 – Anders Truelsen, Chief Revenue Officer, Otonomo

Smart cities: solving transportation blues with mobility intelligence

Smart cities: solving transportation blues with mobility intelligence

Dan Elbaze and Javier Krysztal from Israeli connected car data platform Otonomo set the scene for the lunchtime roundtable. Slides presented in the smart cities + infrastructure track at Move 2021 in London on 10 November.

Click on the link below to access the slides

13.00 – Otonomo roundtable – solving transportation blues with mobility intelligence

 

Smart cities: Heidelburg — the city where cars are not welcome

Smart cities: Heidelburg — the city where cars are not welcome

Raoul Schmidt-Lamontain, the City of Heidelberg’s Deputy Mayor for Climate Protection, Environment & Mobility, outlines measures taken by the German town to reduce car dependency. Slides presented in the smart cities + infrastructure track at Move 2021 in London on 10 November.

Click on the link below to access the slides

11.30 – Raoul Schmidt-Lamontain, Deputy Mayor for Climate Protection, Environment & Mobility, City of Heidelberg – Repaired