Toronto, Ontario — In this week’s EV/AV Report, we see major brand decisions made by Hyundai, “landmark” orders for electric refuse trucks and China’s CATL working on technology that will make systems less bulky.
Hyundai is officially turning IONIQ into a standalone brand dedicated to future electric vehicles. IONIQ became the world’s first automobile to offer a choice of three electrified powertrain options: hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric all within a single body.
To celebrate this the London Eye was turned into a giant letter “Q” using electric lights. Hyundai also just announced that three new IONIQ models will debut over the next four years. They will be named with even numbers for sedans and odd numbers for SUVs.
The IONIQ 5 midsize crossover will be released early 2021, the IONIQ 6 sedan will be released in 2022 and the IONIQ 7 a large SUV will be released early 2024.
All IONIQ vehicles will be built on an Electric Global Modular Platform or E-GMP. The IONIQ brand will help Hyundai reach its emissions and clean mobility goals. Hyundai says they expect to sell one million electric vehicles and grab 10 percent of the market share by 2025
China’s CATL, a Tesla supplier, said on Wednesday it is working on a new technology that will allow battery cells to be integrated with an electric car’s chassis, shedding traditional casings that make battery systems bulky.
Integrating cells directly into an electric vehicle’s frame will allow more cells to be loaded into a car and extend its range – a key concern for customers.
With the new technology, EVs could have a driving range of over 800 kms (500 miles), CATL Chairman Zeng Yuqun said at an industry conference in Wuhan on Wednesday.
The Ningde-based company aims to launch the technology before 2030. Zeng did not say whether CATL was already working with any automaker to implement this new design.
China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL) supplies lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries to Tesla Inc and recently signed a partnership with Japan’s Honda Motor. It also supplies Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG.
A technology such as this will allow EV battery makers to participate in vehicle design from an earlier stage. Automakers currently tend to source battery modules from battery makers and equip them to fit a car’s mechanical design.
Zeng, who expects Europe’s EV market to surpass China’s this year because China cut subsidies, said CATL is exploring new businesses including the recycling of batteries and energy storage.
On Tuesday, CATL said in a filing that it plans to invest around 19 billion yuan ($2.73 billion) to secure key resources and accelerate global expansion. It did not disclose details of the investments.
Nikola Corporation announced a “landmark” order for 2,500 battery-electric refuse trucks for Republic Services, one of the largest waste collection companies in the U.S.
The deal is for a minimum of 2,500 vehicles with an option for up to 5,000 total, which is really two orders of magnitude beyond anything we saw in the U.S. so far. According to the press release, it’s the largest single order in the waste industry.
The Nikola Refuse trucks will be based on the battery-electric Nikola Tre truck for Europe (entire package including batteries, controls, inverters and e-axle). The brief specs show that it will be able to take up to 1,200 cans per charge.
The plan is to “likely” start on-road tests in early 2022 and full production shortly after with deliveries in 2023. Nikola is to produce both the chassis and body—previously Republic Services was usually forced to buy them separately. For comparison, the production of Nikola Tre trucks will start in 2021.