Volta Trucks set to launch urban electric lorry

Volta Trucks aims to begin producing its electric truck this year

by Jean-Baptiste Oubrier

Anglo-Swedish startup Volta Trucks will launch its urban electric lorry this year, the group said Wednesday, tapping into keen demand for electrified transport—and increasing bans against high-polluting vehicles.

Volta Trucks has developed what it bills as the world’s first purpose-built fully-electric 16-tonne commercial vehicle which is designed to criss-cross cities for short journeys.

The young firm, which was founded in Sweden in 2019, this week sealed a $20-million (16.5-million-euro) investment to help boost production of the Volta Zero which has a driving range of 150-200 kilometres (93-124 miles).

And despite humble plans so far, the truck already has an order book worth $260 million—regardless of ongoing turmoil surrounding Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are a Scandinavian company with a UK operating base and we have presence in France as well,” Volta Trucks chief executive Rob Fowler told AFP.

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EV Startups Rivian and Cruise Raise a Staggering $4.7 Billion in New Funding

The electric vehicle race is heating up. 

By MARTIN LERMA

Tesla may be king of the electric vehicle, but billions are being pumped into the category to (finally) give it some serious competition.

Earlier this week, two of the newest players in the EV race got a serious boost. Amazon- and Ford-backed Rivian revealed that it has raised $2.65 billion in new investments. Meanwhile, GM’s Cruise imprint signed a long-term strategic partnership with Microsoft, for which the tech giant helped raise $2 billion, according to a statement. This financial injection is reflective of the increasing interest from the public in the once niche segment of the automotive industry.

With its latest capital courtesy of T. Rowe Price, California-based Rivian has raised a healthy $8 billion since the start of 2019, which puts current valuation at $27.6 billion, according to Reuters.

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GM debuts all-electric van in battle to capture ‘last mile’ e-commerce deliveries

By Paul A. Eisenstein

FedEx has already placed “a large order” for the electric trucks, after a test showed they resulted in a 25 percent increase in productivity, GM said.

General Motors on Tuesday unveiled a new all-electric subsidiary, BrightDrop, that it hopes will speed up the shipping and delivery process.

General Motors wants to electrify the delivery side of e-commerce, launching a new subsidiary, BrightDrop, that will deliver “an ecosystem” of products and services to speed up the shipping and delivery process.

Set to launch later this year, BrightDrop will offer all-electric delivery vans, as well as a droid-like cargo palette capable of rolling around under its own power.

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GM’s BrightDrop is building an EV ‘ecosystem’ for delivery companies

By Nick Summers

The company is starting with an electric van and pallet.

GM wants a piece of the battery-powered logistics market. The company, which owns Chrysler and Cadillac, has announced a new business unit today called BrightDrop. It’s starting with two vehicles, the first of which is an electric van that can drive up to 250 miles on a single charge. It’s called the EV600 and has up to 600 cubic feet of space inside, or an estimated 2,200 lbs of payload capacity. The all-wheel-drive vehicle is also fitted with a security system in the cargo area, an auto-locking door and motion-activated interior lighting. On the road, drivers will benefit from automatic emergency breaking and parking assistance, among other features. 

Before the EV600 hits the road, BrightDrop will be launching a smaller vehicle called the EP1. It’s a pallet — the kind of trolley that’s often found in stores and warehouses — with an electric motor that makes it easier to move heavy objects around. The included container offers 23 cubic feet of space, or a total payload up to 200 pounds. According to GM, the doors are lockable and there’s a modular shelving system inside so that workers can easily organize goods. The hope is that delivery drivers will use them to shuffle cumbersome items between their van and customers’ front doors.

These two are the first in a BrightDrop “ecosystem” that will include both vehicles and software. The company will provide customers with a cloud-based platform, for instance, that can be used to monitor their operations and improve their fleet’s efficiency. The EP1 will also offer location tracking and battery status, remote locking and unlocking, and other features via over-the-air updates. The EV600, meanwhile, will have location tracking, remote battery and charging management, incident recording, and more. Like the EP1, it will also benefit from over-the-air updates.

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EV startup Canoo unveiled 2 futuristic electric delivery vehicles to take on vans coming from Rivian, Ford, and Mercedes

Tim Levin 

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Canoo MPDV. 
  • Electric-vehicle startup Canoo unveiled two delivery vans Thursday and announced that a third, larger version is in the works. 
  • The futuristic-looking MPDV1 and MPDV2 will offer up to 500 cubic feet of cargo room and get an EPA-estimated range of up to 230 miles. 
  • Canoo offers customizations like storage lockers and shelving, and said large customers can develop a fleet of custom vans. 
  • Limited availability starts in 2022, with full-scale production beginning the following year. 

Tesla may have a lineup of electric luxury cars and a battery-powered semi on the way, but it doesn’t offer any smaller work vehicles for last-mile deliveries and small businesses. EV startup Canoo is targeting that exact space with a new lineup of futuristic electric delivery vans it announced Thursday. 

Canoo unveiled two multi-purpose delivery vehicles — a small MPDV1 and a medium-sized MPDV2 — and announced that a third, larger MPDV3 is in the works as well. The customizable vans can be tailored for use with many different types of businesses, Canoo said. 

Legacy automakers and startups alike have announced plans for battery-powered work vans, with RivianFord, Mercedes-Benz and Bollinger all making inroads into the space in the last couple of years. 

EVs are well-suited for commercial use, because range often poses less of a problem, commercial vehicles tend to follow predictable routes, and EVs are cheaper to run and maintain than gas-powered vehicles. 

Learn more about Canoo’s delivery vehicles — which the company says will hit streets in 2022 — below.

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E-bikes and e-scooters will transform our cities in 2021

By LUCY YU

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The startup world likes to celebrate exciting new technologies, such as AI and autonomous vehicles. But these are newcomers to the party compared to the electric motor, whose precursor technology celebrates its 200th birthday in 2021. Yet today, mobility overwhelmingly runs on fossil fuels. Electric-powered vehicles have been confined to the wealthy, the geeky and the green – not sufficiently affordable, accessible or practical for everyone else. In 2021, startups and industry disruptors will proliferate, heralding a new era of e-mobility for all of us. 

The driver for this is, of course, climate change. Over 77 countries and more than 100 of the world’s biggest cities have committed to achieving net-zero emissions. Globally, transport is one of the largest sources of CO2 and other greenhouse-gas emissions. Governments have imposed future bans on the sale of petrol and diesel-powered vehicles, incentivising more electric-vehicle purchases and taxing the most polluting vehicles, but investors are also keen to accelerate the global shift from pump to plug.

In January 2020, London-based startup Arrival became an electric-first unicorn, attracting sizeable funding from established automakers. Its light commercial vehicles, including buses, vans and delivery robots, will be assembled by a planned network of 1,000 global “microfactories”. In July, Tesla overtook Toyota to become the world’s most valuable carmaker, and Chinese electric-vehicle startup Li Auto raised over $1bn from its IPO.

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World’s First Never Charge Solar Electric Vehicle Aptera Goes Live – Again


By Elena Gorgan

Aptera Motors is making a massive comeback after more than one decade of struggling as a startup, following up on the promise made one year ago. The first pre-orders for the Aptera sEV (solar electric vehicle), the world’s first never charge three-wheeler with record-breaking range, are now live.

Aptera Motors has been around since 2008 and has started on this comeback journeyexactly one year ago, with new plans for the reborn solar-powered vehicle. Aptera is not a car, but a three-wheeler, which could be classified as a motorcycle or an autocycle). It features solar panels on the roof and a battery pack as a backup, for those who plan on using it for more than just the daily commute. 

It has a futuristic design, it’s nimble and comparatively small, but the makers promise it’s spacious enough for two adults and a trunk-load of cargo, reliable and safe in case of an impact, and also very fast. It sounds like your dream vehicle (albeit a three-wheeler) has arrived – and it’s open for pre-orders. 

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China built the first electric car designed exclusively for ride-hailing

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The D1 is a partnership between Didi Chuxing and BYD

Two of China’s top companies have joined forces to design, develop, and build an electric car for the express purpose of ride-hailing.

The vehicle is an adorable green hatchback called the D1, and it was developed by Didi Chuxing, the top ride-hailing company in China that notoriously defeated Uber in 2016, and BYD, one of the leading electric vehicle manufacturers. The D1 will have a range of 418 km (260 miles) as judged by NEDC (New European Driving Cycle). They also explained some of the more interesting design touches that make this vehicle particularly well-suited for app-based ride-hailing.

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Tesla opens world’s largest Supercharger station

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It is located between two of Tesla’s biggest markets.

Tesla has been quickly expanding its Supercharger network lately and it just reached another milestone by opening the world’s new largest Supercharger station.

Tesla’s fleet is growing at a fast pace and the automaker is adding more electric vehicles to the road than any other automaker.

At the same time, the company is trying to keep up its infrastructure, like service centers, mobile service fleet, and charging infrastructure in order to support its growing fleet.

Tesla’s charging infrastructure mainly consists of the Supercharger network, arguably one of the company’s greatest assets.

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Arriving soon: Electric aviation for passengers

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Drone pilots don’t need to be told about the wonders of electric flight. But Scientific American believes electric aviation for passengers may be here sooner than we think as the industry struggles to decarbonize.

It’s one of the top ten emerging technologies the magazine highlights in its most recent issue.

In an article co-written by Katherine Hamilton and Tammy Ma, the authors point out that air travel accounted for 2.5 percent of global carbon emissions in 2019. And that number could triple by 2050. Electric airplanes could be one solution.

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Getting a country from moderate/high EV purchase rate to 100% EV market share – some ideas

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 Norway just hit 82% plugin vehicle new car sales in September 2020. This raises the question: “Why are 18% of the purchases non-plugin vehicles?” That got me dreaming up ideas for how to get a country from moderate EV market share (5–10%, for example) to 100% EV market share. Perhaps some of those ideas could be effective in Norway now, and other countries later as they get closer and closer to a high percentage of plugin vehicles.

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Electric cars cost less to own- Consumer Reports agrees with us

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 We’ve been publishing “total cost of ownership” comparisons — well, forecasts — for years here on CleanTechnica. Actually, the first ones I published were probably 7 years ago or so. As electric car technology (esp. battery technology) has improved, the comparisons have gotten more and more compelling. Nowadays, any of the most advanced, most competitive electric vehicles on the market should easily outperform their gasoline-powered class competitors while costing less (unless you drive very little). Consumer Reports agrees.

Also, whereas I have to couch my analyses in paragraphs of disclaimers and notes about assumptions and disclaimers about notes about assumptions or else I’ll get chewed out by people who think I’m being too friendly to electric vehicles, Consumer Reports just blurted it out with almost no nuance in the very beginning of its press release:

“Owning a plug-in electric vehicle today will save consumers thousands of dollars compared to owning a gas-powered vehicle, according to a new analysis by Consumer Reports comparing electrics to CR’s top-rated vehicles, as well as the best-selling, most efficient, and best-performing gas-powered vehicles on the market.”

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