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BASF Buys Big into Battery Materials: Sion Power, Ovonic, Merck in 2012

February 26, 2012 in EVs, Hybrids by rich  |  No Comments

Germany’s BASF is taking advantage of government support for electric vehicles and deepening relationships with the likes of Daimler-Mercedes and Bosch. It is fast building a global Battery Materials business unit via more than $108 million in acquisitions just this young year.

BASF last month disclosed an investment of $50 million to take equity ownership position in Sion Power, Tucson-based “global leader in the development of lithium-sulfur” batteries.

NiMH -- nickel metal hydride -- battery technology developed by ECD-Ovonic powers most of the world's hybrid electric vehicles, including Toyota's popular Prius

NiMH — nickel metal hydride — battery technology developed by ECD-Ovonic powers most of the world’s hybrid electric vehicles, including Toyota’s popular Prius

This month it bought Ovonic Battery Company from Energy Conversion Devices (which then filed for Chapter 11) for $58 million, taking over Ovonic’s position as worldwide licensor of nickel metal hydride-NiMH battery technology. BASF hired 35 Ovonic employees, ECD said.

Last week BASF said it acquired the electrolytes business for high-performance batteries from German chemical and pharmaceutical company Merck.

“Our Battery Materials business is focused on advanced battery materials and technologies, not battery manufacturing,” Battery Materials GM Markus Hoelzle said in a release.


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Via Motors Unveils PHEV Trucks (F&F Strategies)

January 15, 2012 in Electric Drive, EVs by rich  |  No Comments

Remy-Powered, Range Extended Electric Trucks
Introduced by Bob Lutz with PG&E in Detroit

“There are powerful clean electric vehicles, without range limits, that you can take anywhere you need to go,” says ex General Motors vice chair Bob Lutz.
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EV Advocates Get Serious

January 15, 2012 in EVs, Fleet Order by rich  |  No Comments

ELC Calls for Large-Scale Fleet Demo Project, Could Be 1,500 Vehicles,
PG&E to Help Create ‘Comprehensive National Model for EV Deployment’

A coalition claiming “blue chip” membership is designing a large-scale electric vehicle demonstration project it says “will help create a comprehensive national model for EV deployment.” This year and next could see more than a thousand EVs, likely in Northern California.

Navistar, Pacific Gas and Electric, FedEx Express, A123 Systems, Hertz, Azure Dynamics, Coda Automotive, Ecotality, Automatiks, and GE Capital are members of the just-announced Electrification Leadership Council.

1,000 EVs? 1,500?

ELC, which according to Navistar eStar battery electric truck VP Mark Aubry has been working for more than a year, also includes large delivery service companies and vehicle manufacturers, and representatives of national, state and local agencies.
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OLEV Wireless for Texas Buses

January 2, 2012 in EVs, Fleet Order by rich  |  No Comments

An on-the-go wireless charging system from Boston’s OLEV Technologies will be tested on three Metro McAllen buses in McAllen, Texas.

Three existing Blue Bird diesel buses will be converted to battery electric operation for the trial, which has funding from the Federal Transportation Administration’s TIGGER (Transit Investment in Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction) program.
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Saft Poised to Tackle EVs, Again

January 2, 2012 in Uncategorized by rich  |  No Comments

Saft is providing lithium ion batteries for two plug-in hybrid electric ferries by Keolis for Bordeaux. Keolis photo from a Saft release.

Saft is providing lithium ion batteries for two plug-in hybrid electric ferries by Keolis for Bordeaux. Keolis photo from a Saft release.

The French battery maker Saft, which employs more than 4,000 people worldwide, has just opened its 16th manufacturing plant (in Jacksonville, Fla.), and stands poised to re-enter the road electric vehicle market with unprecedented depth of experience and new product offerings.

“We are studying if and how we can return,” says Franck Cecchi, who directs automotive strategy for the $800 million company. “We are very confident that we can deliver a good and safe product,” he told F&F.

Cecchi was COO at the Johnson Controls-Saft joint venture, and helped fashion this past summer’s “divorce” (his word), from which Saft emerged with a $145 million cash payment and the commitment that a plant at Nersac, in southwest France, be transferred back to Saft at the end of 2012.

The Nersac plant could be used for electric and hybrid electric vehicle batteries. Output from the new plant in Florida, which could be worth $300 million per year, is initially aimed at stationary markets.

Multiple Battery Types

Saft is fully commercial in NCA (nickel cobalt aluminum) lithium batteries and is readying a “Super Phosphate” lithium iron phosphate variant as well, Cecchi says. Saft, which was founded in 1918 as the Société des Accumulateurs Fixes et de Traction, claims the world lead in nickel-based batteries for industrial and transportation applications, and has described the move to lithium as “a natural progression.”

E-Vivacity electric scooter by Peugeot has lithium ion batteries from Saft

E-Vivacity electric scooter by Peugeot has lithium ion batteries from Saft

Recent announcements by Saft have involved batteries for a laser weapon, for stationary energy storage, for satellites, aircraft, trains, and two new plug-in hybrid electric ferries planned by Keolis in Bordeaux, in southwest France. Saft will supply 140-kilowatt battery packs that will allow the diesel-electric vessels for the Garonne River crossing six hours of fully electric operation.

Saft also supplies lithium batteries for the E-Vivacity electric scooter by Peugeot, Cecchi says.

Saft says that its new 235,000-square-foot facility in Jacksonville is “the world’s most advanced automated lithium ion battery factory,” with “fully automated, totally flexible production lines capable of building multi new-generation Li-ion technologies.” The building is topped by a one-megawatt solar power installation, said to be the largest photovoltaic system in Florida. Florida provided incentives for the plant, and there was a $95.5 million grant from the U.S. DoE under ARRA, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

ClipperCreek for PepsiCo/Frito-Lay

January 2, 2012 in Uncategorized by rich  |  No Comments

Lime Energy and SCIenergy Install CS-100s

For Battery Smith EVs in Vast Frito-Lay Fleet

PepsiCo/Frito-Lay’s not talking, but industry sources concur that Lime Energy and SCIenergy have installed Level II ClipperCreek chargers to support nearly 200 battery electric Newton trucks operated by the snack food giant across the U.S.

Frito-Lay driver Shannon Douglas charges a Smith Newton with ClipperCreek charger at recent Frito-Lay open house in Orlando (reported at pluginrecharge.com, photo by Mark Thomason of Palmer Electric)

Frito-Lay driver Shannon Douglas charges a Smith Newton with ClipperCreek charger at recent Frito-Lay open house in Orlando (reported at pluginrecharge.com, photo by Mark Thomason of Palmer Electric)

PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay North America unit said last year that it would deploy 176 battery electric trucks from Smith Electric Vehicles (F&F, September 20, 2010). Frito-Lay is Smith’s largest customer, accounting for 66% of its vehicle sales, or more than $21 million, for the first six months of 2011. Frito-Lay operates more than 20,000 vehicles, Smith notes.

Lime Energy said late last month that it’s completed the design and installation of 90 electric vehicle chargers in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York under a $2 million contract. Lime won’t name its customer, but confirms that the work involves ClipperCreek chargers in support of Smith EVs.

“Lime embraced the opportunity to provide a solution,” executive VP for operations Jim Smith said in a release.

‘A Savings of 30-40%’

As Servidyne, SCIenergy secured a similar contract, reporting that a 10-charger pilot program in Fort Worth led to a $1.75 million contract to install chargers at eight more sites for a total of nearly 80 in seven states (including Florida, where ClipperCreek chargers for Smith EVs could be seen at a recent Frito-Lay open house, detailed at pluginrecharge.com). Servidyne and Scientific Conservation, Inc. merged this past summer to form SCIenergy.

According to Lime Energy, “The benefits of utilizing electric vehicles continue to accrue in today’s marketplace. Along with state and federal grants, electric vehicles offer reduced annual maintenance costs, more favorable utility rates, and integrated controls. One-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector, and switching vehicles from liquid fuels to the electric grid will have a dramatic impact on emission reduction goals,” the company said late last month.

illustration from a Servidyne case study shows ClipperCreek charger and 'snack food company' electric truck

illustration from a Servidyne case study shows ClipperCreek charger and ‘snack food company’ electric truck

“Ultimately, our customers can achieve a savings of 30-40% by switching to electric delivery vehicles as part of their overall energy efficiency program design,” said John O’Rourke, Lime’s President and CEO. “This offers an attractive return on investment and Lime’s unique capability to design and install these charging stations will continue to be a part of our portfolio of clean energy solutions.”

ClipperCreek’s CS-100 charger is rated at a powerful 80 amps continuous. ClipperCreek claims the first UL-approved EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment) line produced in America.

Quantum & SBE for Power Unit

January 2, 2012 in Electric Drive, EVs by rich  |  No Comments

Quantum (NASDAQ:QTWW) last week disclosed a technology partnership with Barre, Vt.-based SBE, Inc. (SB Electronics) via which SBE is to provide a novel integrated capacitor/bus structure design, employing power ring capacitor technology, for power electronics for electric drive vehicles.

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