ACT News 2017


UPS Ups the Alt Fuels Ante – Again

November 20, 2017 in Biofuels, Biomethane, CNG, Companies, delivery vehicles, investments, LNG, milestones, NGVs, trucking by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Ten Million Gallons Annually of RNG from Big Ox Energy
As Well as 1.5 Gallons Annually for Five Years from Amp

UPS is disclosing this morning a landmark agreement for 10 million equivalent gallons per year of RNG/renewable natural gas from Big Ox Energy. “This is the largest investment in RNG to date for the company,” says a release.

The agreement with Big Ox runs through 2024.

Amp Americas Gets $47 Million for CNG

August 11, 2017 in Biomethane, CNG, Companies, investments, NGVs, trucking by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

EIV Money to Help ‘Scale and Execute Our Aggressive Growth Plans’

Amp Americas said yesterday that it’s secured a $47 million equity commitment from Houston-based EIV Capital, a private equity firm focused on the energy industry.

Faraday Future Furthers Factory

August 9, 2017 in Companies, EVs, investments, manufacturing by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Discloses Lease on Facility in Central California,
Hopes to Produce FF 91 Battery Car There in 2018

Faraday Future has leased a million-square-foot production facility in Hanford, Calif., from which it hopes to bring its fully battery-electric, high-performance FF 91 to market in late 2018. The plant “is strategically located between the country’s two largest EV markets, Los Angeles and Silicon Valley,” Faraday said.

Utilities Investing in Greenlots ‘Sky’ EVSE

August 1, 2017 in EVs, EVSE, investments by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Money Is Being Channeled via Energy Impact Partners
‘Towards Electrification of the Transportation Industry’

A group of major utilities has invested in Greenlots, an advocate of open-source technology for connecting electric vehicle chargers – aka EVSE, for electric vehicle supply equipment.

VW’s $200mm EVSE Plan Gets CARB Nod

July 28, 2017 in Companies, EVs, EVSE, Infrastructure, investments by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Cal Agency Gives the OK for First $200 Million of $800 Million
For EV Charging in California by VW’s Electrify America Unit

Volkswagen got the go-ahead from California yesterday to invest $200 million on electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the state. The automaker’s Electrify America unit will place high-speed chargers along highways, invest in EVSE/electric vehicle supply equipment in disadvantaged communities, and promote electric transportation through outreach and a new “Green City” initiative.

Sacramento is to be the first of the Green Cities, with EV chargers there followed by Fresno, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and San Diego. EVSE is be placed in “community locations, multi-family dwellings, commercial and retail locations, workplaces and municipal parking lots and garages,” says the California Air Resources Board.

Overview of ‘Cycle 1’ of VW-Electrify America’s EVSE plan for California

Electrify America has pledged to establish a network of more than 2,500 EV chargers at more than 450 EVSE sites nationally during the first phase, with about 240 of them in 38 states other than California.

The company has “discussed partnerships and interoperability” with EVSE providers including EVgo, Greenlots and SemaConnect.

$800 Million over Ten Years in California

So-called “Cycle 1” for California is the “first of four plans by VW to invest $800 million over ten years in zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure, public outreach, and access to these ultra-clean vehicles for residents of disadvantaged communities,” states yesterday’s CARB release.

The $2 billion EVSE investment comes in the wake of Volkswagen’s installation of software, beginning in 2009, to mislead regulators on the emissions of its diesel vehicles.

That software, CARB says, caused VW’s “2009-2016 diesel passenger cars to spew up to 40 times the allowed amount of nitrogen oxide (NOx) into the atmosphere.”

‘Tenacious Technicians’

“The tenacious efforts of CARB technicians forced the company to admit the use of the so-called ‘defeat device’ in those cars in 2015,” the agency said yesterday. “VW has paid out more than $15 billion in claims and penalties for using those defeat devices,” CARB said.

“This ZEV investment is one of multiple pieces to mitigate the environmental harm caused by VW’s actions.”

Click image or here for VW-Electrify America’s EVSE plan summary.

“Volkswagen can now move forward with its ambitious plan to help bring electric vehicle technology to corners of California ignored in earlier efforts,” said CARB chair Mary Nichols.

Settlement with California and the Feds

“This will help the state as a whole,” she said, “and especially some of our disadvantaged and underserved communities, to shift to the cleanest vehicles on the market.”

CARB noted too that the $800 million ZEV investment commitment for California is part of an agreement by Volkswagen with CARB, the U.S. EPA, and the California and U.S. Departments of Justice “that combines mitigation and penalties to fully resolve all of the environmental harm from VW’s actions.”

Among the planned Cycle 1 outlays for California EVSE are

• $75 million for highway fast-charging (implanting chargers up to 350 kilowatts);

• $45 million for “community charging,” including multi-family feelings and workplaces;

• $44 million for Green City initiatives; and

• $20 million for public education and EV awareness.

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Source: CARB with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

Zunum e-Plane: Boeing and JetBlue

July 17, 2017 in Aviation, Electric Drive, investments by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Airline and Airplane Builder Make Investments
In Start-Up That Would Wean Planes from Fuel,
Changing the Very Nature of Regional Air Travel

Boeing and JetBlue have invested in Zunum Aero, a Kirkland, Wash.-based startup that’s developing ten- to 50-passenger series hybrid electric airplanes with an eye to eventual all-electric operation for routes up to 1,000 miles.

ACT Expo Speakers, Exhibition Hall Peek

March 24, 2017 in ACT Expo 2017, Alternative Fuels, Biomethane, CNG, Conference/Meeting, Electric Drive, event, EVs, fuel cells, Game Changer, Hybrids, Hydraulic Hybrid, Hydrogen, investments, LNG, Propane by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Key Meeting Is Early This Coming May in Long Beach

Organizers of 2017’s Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo have released the speaker line-up for the event, which takes place May 1-4 at Southern California’s Long Beach Convention Center. updated March 27

ANG Buys Questar & Constellation CNG

December 28, 2016 in CNG, Companies, Infrastructure, investments, milestones, NGVs, trucking by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

American Natural Gas Now Has Some 40 Outlets in 13 States
Serving Anheuser-Busch, Frito-Lay, Swift, and Central Freight

Hard-charging American Natural Gas has expanded its network of compressed natural gas fueling outlets to approximately 40, announcing just prior to Christmas the acquisition of 11 CNG stations in Arizona, Kansas, Texas, Utah, California, and Colorado through the acquisition of Questar Fueling, and seven stations in Indiana and Ohio via the acquisition of Constellation CNG.

Federal $4.5 Billion for EVs and EVSE

July 22, 2016 in batteries, Companies, Electric Drive, EVs, EVSE, Infrastructure, investments, milestones, money available by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Up to $4.5 Billion in Loan Guarantees for Charging,
Dozens of OEMs, Utilities, Government Groups Joining
Together to Support ‘An Unprecedented Set of Actions’

The Obama Administration is maintaining its support for electric vehicles with gusto, detailing yesterday a plan for as much as $4.5 billion in loan guarantees to support the commercial-scale deployment of innovative electric vehicle charging facilities.

Faraday Breaks Ground for EV Plant

April 18, 2016 in Companies, EVs, investments by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Billion Dollar Environmentally Friendly Facility in North Las Vegas

Faraday Future has hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking for a state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly factory for electric vehicles at the Apex Industrial Park in North Las Vegas.

Westport Reports Cartesian Financing

January 12, 2016 in Companies, investments, NGVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

As Much as $71.3 Million from Global Private Equity Firm
‘Removes Any Concern Regarding Westport’s Balance Sheet’

Westport Innovations said Monday that it’s entered into an agreement with New York’s Cartesian Capital Group for as much as $71.3 million in financing.

“The financing agreement immediately provides $17.5 million in non-dilutive capital with up to $53.8 million in additional capital contingent on reaching key milestones and establishing new investment opportunities,” Westport said, with a contingent payment derived substantially from future HPDI/high pressure direct injection product sales.

Westport CEO David Demers

Westport CEO David Demers

Cartesian managing partner and founder Peter Yu will be appointed to the Westport board.

Key Stipulations

Westport cites four key investment tranches:

  • $17.5 million immediately, in consideration for an innovative technology income streaming facility: contingent payments to Cartesian are based on a percentage of amounts received by Westport on select HPDI and joint venture products in excess of agreed thresholds through 2025.
  • $17.5 million in convertible debenture notes: The convertible debenture notes, expected to close upon completion of the Fuel Systems Solutions (FSYS) merger scheduled for mid-February, feature a 9% coupon, a 4.5 year term, and are convertible into newly issued shares of Westport at $2.31 per share – a 51% premium to Friday, January 8th’s closing price. Fifty percent of the convertible debenture notes may be converted into equity at Westport’s election if, after two years, the share price is greater than $4.62 for 20 out of 30 days and reflects more than $3 million in average daily trading volume.
  • $16.3 million through the sale of assets: Westport has agreed to sell $16.3 million in assets to Cartesian, subject to final due diligence, and expects this transaction to be completed by May 30th. Details of the assets will be disclosed upon completion.
  • $20 million in additional streaming capacity: Cartesian has committed up to an additional $20 million to Westport to support two or more product development ventures as may be agreed upon between the parties. The new streaming facilities would provide development funding for Westport in exchange for a contingent payment on products developed by the new ventures.

The investment agreement also provides for Westport to receive 30% of gains realized by Cartesian if certain return thresholds are met.

“This financing creates a solid financial foundation and clear path to the commercial launch of key products,” Westport CEO David Demers said in a release. “It also removes any concern regarding Westport’s balance sheet.”

Low Oil Price ‘Has Masked the Importance of Methane’

“The commitment from Cartesian signifies the importance of natural gas to the environment and ratifies that short-term energy market volatility has masked the importance of methane as a transport fuel,” Demers said.

“The natural gas engine and vehicle industry has a compelling future and Westport represents a key part of that future. This financing will be a critical part our of our success.”

‘An Industry that Is Essential’

“The pending merger with Fuel Systems Solutions, combined with this financing agreement, creates a formidable global force in the natural gas engine and vehicle market. With the financing behind us and the merger progressing towards completion, we can increase our focus on streamlining operations, investing in innovative technology and launching key products into attractive markets,” Demers added.

According to Yu, as quoted in the Westport announcement, Westport’s proven technology, unmatched innovation capabilities, and world-class management will continue to lead and drive the natural gas engine industry – an industry that is essential for sustainable global growth.”

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Source: Westport Innovations with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation

January 11, 2016 in Alternative Fuels, Electric Drive, investments, money awarded by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Technical Assistance, Project Development, Funding Support

The new, California Energy Commission-funded San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center is to “provide technical assistance, project development expertise, and support with acquiring funding for San Joaquin Valley vehicle fleet owners, local governments, businesses, and residents,” Calstart said today.

Qualcomm Webinar on Wireless Charging

November 11, 2015 in Alternative Fuels, Electric Drive, EVs, industrial, investments, Research, Technology, Testing, transit by Jon LeSage  |  No Comments

Wireless Charging Moving Forward

Wireless charging will contribute to mass-market production of electric vehicles by automakers and their suppliers, according to a webinar presented by Qualcomm Halo. Keith Malinson, an industry analyst with WiseHarbor, and Anthony Thomson, vice president of development and marketing, Qualcomm Halo, gave a presentation on the technology innovations bringing wireless electric vehicle charging (WEVC) to market.

UPS Deploying 18 Electric Trucks

November 10, 2015 in Alternative Fuels, Electric Drive, EVs, industrial, investments, Research, Technology, Testing, transit by Jon LeSage  |  No Comments

DoE Provided Grant Funding

UPS has purchased 18 electric delivery vehicles for the Houston-Galveston area in Texas. The purchases are part of a partnership with U.S. Department of Energy, local governments, and the non-profit Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE). These vehicles were designed by the Workhorse Group for UPS, and are expected to reduce consumption of an estimated 1.1 million gallons of diesel fuel over 20 years.

TransPower and IKEA Test Tractor

November 10, 2015 in Alternative Fuels, Electric Drive, EVs, industrial, investments, Research, Technology, Testing, transit by Jon LeSage  |  No Comments

Year-long Test Results from Electric Truck

IKEA and TransPower announced results from their first year of testing a demonstration vehicle. An electric yard tractor has been driven at IKEA’s distribution center in Tejon, Calif. TransPower’s electric propulsion has powered a Kalmar heavy-duty tractor, which is being used to minimize CO2 emissions.

Smith EVs Is Back With Chinese Backing

May 10, 2015 in ACT Expo 2015, batteries, Companies, Electric Drive, EVs, investments, New Products by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

$35 Million Joint Venture Means ‘Stability, Capital, Capacity’
As FDG Will Supply Smith and Capitalize on Smith’s Past Work
For Expanded Line of Fully Battery Electric Commercial Vehicles

With 12 million on-road miles on its all-electric delivery truck fleet, Smith Electric Vehicles is transitioning from demonstration phase to scale, with the announcement the week of ACT Expo 2015 of a $35 million joint venture with Hong Kong-based battery and vehicle producer FDG Electric Vehicles Limited.

The JV allows Smith to “go to our partners and say, ‘We have stability, capital, capacity,’” business strategy and process VP Terry Pageler told F&F-powered ShowTimes in Dallas.

Smith Electric Vehicle ‘Newton’ truck operating in Frito-Lay’s Dallas-area fleet was shown at ACT Expo 2015. It has 36,000 miles on its odometer.

Smith Electric Vehicle ‘Newton’ truck operating in Frito-Lay’s Dallas-area fleet was shown at ACT Expo 2015. It has 36,000 miles on its odometer.

Smith’s customers include Coca-Cola, FedEx Express, Staples and Frito-Lay, Smith’s largest customer, whose 88-kilowatt-hour 2012 Smith Newton was shown at ACT Expo. It’s one of 265 Smiths in the company’s national fleet, says Mike O’Connell, Frito-Lay senior director of fleet operations.

Smith Resumed Production in January

“The trucks have been great. Drivers like them. They meet all our needs.”

The JV trucks will incorporate Smith’s platform, control software and subsystems in a new 12,000- to 16,500-GVW range truck with FDG’s batteries. A modular approach will let customers choose battery capacity of roughly 20 to 160 kilowatt-hours, depending on their unique needs, Pageler said in Dallas. The trucks will be assembled in Kansas City.

According to the FDG announcement, Smith restarted production of its re-tooled Newton line of commercial battery electric trucks in January, and “expects to scale up manufacturing operations in the United States over the coming 18-24 months commensurate with the launch of this new product.”

The new JV company “is to bring world-class next generation technology to accelerate commercial fleet electrification in the U.S. market.” In addition to Smith’s Newton truck, it will offer the Smith Drive, Smith Link and Smith Power subsystems, as well as the new all-electric commercial EV, lithium ion batteries and all-electric powertrain, “as well as infrastructure, energy contracts and financing.”

A New, ‘Ground-Up’ Platform

The new 12,000- to 16,500-GVW Smith-FDG truck is promised in multiple configurations including cab/chassis, van, including step-through van, and transit. “Unlike existing offerings in this GVW range, which are modified versions of passenger vans or require a separate upfit, this platform has been designed, from the ground-up, exclusively for long-life commercial applications like postal and parcel delivery and people transit,” the announcement says.

Smith Electric Vehicles has long been making the case for battery-powered commercial vehicles. This image is from a Smith Newton technical manual from September 2012.

Smith Electric Vehicles has long been making the case for battery-powered commercial vehicles. This image is from a Smith Newton technical manual from September 2012.

“It will complement the existing all-electric Newton platform, which is currently offered in the 14,000- to 26,000-GVW range.”

“The JV will contract exclusively with Smith Electric for product development services, vehicle manufacturing, service and support, and with FDG for the supply of lithium ion batteries and SKD [semi knocked down] kits.”

Smith’s existing Newton trucks are based on chassis from Avia Ashok Leyland in the Czech Republic.

‘The Time Is Now’

“We believe the time is now for market acceptance of commercial electric vehicles,” Smith CEO Bryan Hansel says in the JV announcement. “We are seeing all of the indications that the market that we helped establish has now turned the corner from the R&D phase to the commercial phase.

“In establishing this JV, we believe this will accelerate our new technology platform development,” Hansel said. “The new company leverages FDG’s ground-up commercial all-electric vehicle designs and its electric vehicle manufacturing facility, which can produce up to 100,000 vehicle per annum, as well as Smith’s 12 million-plus miles of commercial vehicle experience to offer a complete fleet electrification solution.”

“FDG believes that the electric vehicle is the future mainstream of the global automotive industry and that’s why we are a pure electric vehicle company,” said FDG executive chairman Cao Zhong.

‘Mutual Recognition of Each Other’s Technologies’

“We deeply value our relationship with Smith and the formation of the JV represents the mutual recognition of each other’s technologies, the mutual respect for both teams’ professionalism, dedication and passion for electric vehicles. The combined force will be well positioned as a global leader,” he said.

FDG, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, is described as “a vertically integrated electric vehicle and lithium-ion battery manufacturer engaged in the R&D, production and distribution of all-electric vehicles.”

FDG has EV plants in Hangzhou and Kunming and lithium ion battery plants in Jilin and Tianjin.


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Source: FDG & Smith EVs, Fleets & Fuels at ACT Expo 2015 in Dallas

PERC Funds Icom Direct Injection

March 3, 2015 in certifications, Companies, investments, money awarded, Propane by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

$600,000 for JTGhp High Pressure Liquid Propane Direct Injection System
As Icom North America Receives Investment Too from Solis Capital Partners

The Propane Education & Research Council is backing work on emissions certifications for direct-injection engines fueled by propane autogas, earmarking $600,000 for Icom North America.

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