In another week of news for the green car industry, much of which centered around EVSE stations and batteries:

  • Monday 21st January: The previous state-owned oil company of Canada (Petro Canada) has shown their desire to get into the green car industry, by announcing that they will be installing electric car charging stations within their gas stations. In a move similar to Shell’s Ionity program in Europe, this Canadian program will look to roll out thousands of EVSE stations across Canada. The first install has a 200 kW CCS charger and a 100 kW CHAdeMO point, along with relatively cheap charging prices. Assuming this program continues to be installed, bringing rapid DC charging for cheap rates to most Canadians, EV adoption should ramp up even further.

  • Monday 21st January: The American state of Maryland has become the next state to push for quicker EV adoption, and an announcement that 5,000 new EVSE charging stations will be installed in the next few years is a big boost to that. The 5,000 new installs for the 6 million population of Maryland is part of a push for 300,000 EVs to be sold by 2025, in order to reduce harmful carbon emissions by 30-40% in the next decade. This plan will aim to install the fastest rapid DC chargers along the highway, along with subsidizing the cost of workplace EVSE installs. Maryland Commission Chairman (Jason Stanek) announced this plan saying “Today’s decision not only ensures that charging infrastructure will support Maryland’s transition to electrified transportation, but also maximizes the benefits of smart charging while minimizing cost impacts to ratepayers.”.

Battery pack mock-up from a Nissan Leaf

  • Tuesday 22nd January: Toyota and Panasonic have announced a joint partnership to research and produce lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles in two Asian Panasonic factories (one in Japan, one in China) with 3,500 employees from both companies being committed to work on this project. Nothing will proceed on this agreement until it passes antitrust inspections, however the idea is that Toyota will own 51% of the new factories with Panasonic owning 49%. This is a similar arrangement to the American gigafactory which is co-owned by Tesla and Panasonic and which also produces Li-ion batteries. Toyota had previously concerned some green car industry watchers with their general reluctance to build anything other than hybrids, but this announcement should mean that Toyota are finally looking at producing batteries for a fully electric car. This deal with also involve research being done on solid-state batteries which use a solid (not liquid) electrolyte and are expected to increase range whilst reducing EV battery pack costs.

  • Tuesday 22nd January: Chinese plug-in electric sales continued to rise rapidly in December 2018, with another record-breaking month of 180,000 unit sales taking total 2018 sales to over 1 million. The plug-in (BEV + PHEV) share of sales reached 8%, whilst BMW was the largest non-Chinese seller with 2% of sales (a tiny number compared to the Chinese car manufacturers, but this is historically how the Chinese market has worked).

  • Wednesday 23rd January: Tesla - who had previously only worked with Panasonic in America for their battery production - have announced that they are in talks with Chinese company Tianjin Lishen to supply batteries to its new Shanghai-based Gigafactory (which will produce the Model 3 and Model Y to the key Asian markets). Details are still scarce, and a Tesla spokeswoman said that “We have not signed any agreement of any kind with them”. This is another move away from producing most of the parts within American, which makes sense considering that producing full cars in America and then transporting them to Asia would be quite expensive. The new Shanghai factory - which will cost $2 billion - will open at the end of 2019 (and it seems like a decision of which company will supply batteries has not been agreed).

  • Wednesday 23rd January: General Motors’ CEO has confirmed that their eventual goal is to have a 100% electric line-up as soon as possible, and today GM have announced that they are looking at a plug-in electric version of their Sierra pickup truck. This carries on last week’s news that GM are looking at an electric F-series pickup. The Sierra pickup is larger again, however, so this would be a big change for GM’s pickup range and push the boundaries of current lithium-ion battery capacity (with many previous EVs being smaller cars or crossover SUVs). In general though, the more that battery prices fall and capacity increases, the greater the chance that we get a fully fledged pickup truck with sufficient range.

Promotional image of the Porsche Taycan being charged up

  • Wednesday 23rd January: The large demand for the Porsche Taycan - which previously had been sold-out - has prompted Porsche to double their production levels from 20,000 Taycan units to 40,000. The Taycan is a hotly anticipated luxury (i.e. expensive!) electric car which will support very high charging rates, and is aiming to compete with the higher end Tesla Model X and S cars. The high-end market is also becoming more competitive with the launch of the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron SUV, and the Taycan’s $80,000+ price tag will be similar to other cars in this segment.

  • Thursday 24th January: Dyson, the UK vacuum cleaner market leader who is working on an electric car, have taken another big step towards solidifying their secretive EV. They have announced the hiring of Roland Krueger, who used to be Infiniti’s President (Infiniti being Nissan’s luxury brand which is working on moving their whole range to electric and hybrid power). Krueger will head up Dyson’s automotive operations, as they aim to produce up to three models of electric cars by 2021. Dyson will be producing their EVs “from the ground up”, and they will initially harness Dyson’s massive amounts of experience with Lithium-ion batteries before eventually moving to use solid-state batteries. Dyson will be producing their EVs in Singapore, which is where they are also moving their HQ too (from the UK).

  • Saturday 26th January: Electrify America, one of the largest EVSE charging station providers across America, has announced that they are temporarily shutting down all of their CCS (rapid DC) 150-350 kW charging stations - although their slower L2 and faster CHADeMO charger will stay open. This is after advise from the charging cable supplier HUBER+SUHNER who thinks that the CCS chargers have an issue with the very high voltage running through at the highest charging speeds. The CCS 50 kW stations are remaining open, too, so this is just affecting the very fastest chargers. In a statement, Electrify America said “Electrify America is shutting down the majority of its high-powered chargers (150 kW – 350kW) in its network to investigate a potential safety issue with its liquid-cooled cables. The recommendation was issued to all of HUBER+SUHNERS’ customers using the technology worldwide.”.