The mobility rEVolution: Microgrid for EV charging, hydrogen fueling, backup power


Kaizen Clean Energy (KCE) and  ZincFive have come together to develop an integrated distributed energy solution for EV charging, hydrogen fueling and backup power. The new solution is said to provide the lowest delivered cost for hydrogen fueling,  as well as up to 2,300 kg/day of hydrogen production, which is equivalent to 38 MWh of usable energy, in a 40-foot, movable containerized solution. It can be islanded or grid-connected, with no risk of battery thermal runaway and a small volume of hydrogen stored on site. The system integrates KCE’s hydrogen generator, ZincFive’s immediate power nickel-zinc batteries, and fuel cells from Power Cell to offer customers modular, scalable economic fueling as a service. Robert Meaney, co-founder of KCE, told pv magazine that the energy input comes from methanol. He said the system is essentially the clean version of a diesel generator. It uses the ZincFive battery for immediate demand response as the methanol-to-hydrogen system ramps up to full production over the first 15 minutes. After entering full production mode, the batteries shut off and the reformer takes over the full power demand. The system is charger agnostic and can support multiple DC fast chargers at once. KCE has started accepting pre-orders and plans to deploy a 20-foot, 150 kW solution with pilot customers in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Lightyear has launched the final design of its long-range, production-ready solar car. The model, which has been renamed “Lightyear 0,” has a Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) range of 625 kilometers and consumption of 10.5 kWh per 100 kilometers.  However, the Dutch startup claims that a theoretical range of 695 kilometers could be achieved, with a battery pack capacity of 60 kWh. “The optimized solar roof and holistic design mean that the car can drive for weeks, even months, without charging,” the company said. Lightyear is already readying its second solar electric car, which will be available by late 2024 or early 2025.

European Union lawmakers have upheld plans to ban combustion engines in new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles from 2035, while moving closer to forcing carmakers to stop selling gasoline-powered cars. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) support the corresponding proposal of the EU Commission. Specifically, car manufacturers must reduce their average fleet emissions by 15% by 2025, by 55% by 2030 and by 100% by 2035. Synthetic fuels will not be exempt from the ban. “An ambitious revision of CO2-standards is a crucial part of reaching our climate targets,” said Dutch MEP Jan Huitema, who had introduced the draft. “With these standards, we are creating clarity for the car industry and can stimulate innovation and investments for car manufacturers.” EU member states will have their say in the coming weeks before a final agreement on tougher emission requirements is approved.

Ferrari is reportedly looking to expand its factory in northern Italy as part of its electrification strategy, scheduled for release next week. According to BloombergNEF, the Italian luxury car manufacturer has bought space near its Maranello plant and has started clearing the way for a third production line that will be dedicated to making hybrid and electric vehicles. The expansion will likely include a new battery R&D center, according to unidentified sources. Ferrari is expected to launch its first purely electric vehicle in 2025.

Nio said that in 2024 it will start making high-voltage battery packs. The Chinese EV maker has developed them on its own, as part of a drive to improve profitability and competitiveness. It will start producing an 800-volt battery pack, which recharges faster than 400-volt batteries present in most EVs on the market today. The self-produced batteries will be used in its new mass-market models, which should be ready for sale in the second half of 2024. Like Tesla, Nio plans to use a combination of self-produced and externally sourced batteries over the long run.

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Nano One and Rio Tinto have announced a strategic partnership to provide iron and lithium products, and a $10 million investment in Nano One that equals to 4.9% of the company shares. The partnership and funding are expected to accelerate Nano One’s multi-cathode commercialization strategy and support the production of active cathode materials in Canada. The Canadian battery developer's patented One Pot Process and metal-to-cathode active material (M2CAM) technologies form a unique manufacturing platform. It enables nickel-rich (NMC), iron-rich (LFP) and manganese-rich (LNMO) lithium-ion cathode active materials to be made sulfate-free from a range of battery metal sources with fewer steps, lower costs, less complexity, and a smaller environmental footprint. The tech applies to all lithium-ion battery chemistries for applications in electric vehicles, renewable energy storage, and portable electronics.

Siemens has acquired a minority stake in wireless charging specialist WiTricity for $25 million. The two companies seek to bridge gaps in the global standardization of wireless charging for electric passenger and light duty commercial vehicles, to enable interoperability between vehicles and infrastructure, as well as support market penetration. In addition, they will collaborate on wireless charging systems.

The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, meanwhile, also selected Siemens to set up a nationwide network of ultra-fast charging stations for electric vehicles. Ten Siemens Sicharge D 160 kW and 180 kW charging stations will be installed along the highways in Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain and Fujairah. To meet changing market demand, the chargers have a scalable power of up to 300 kW and can be expanded with additional external dispensers for up to two additional charging cables. All of them are cloud-connected devices that allow for remote monitoring and management.

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