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GreenPower deploys all-electric school bus in the U.S.

IMAGE: GreenPower's all-electric NANO BEAST school bus
GreenPower's all-electric NANO Beast school bus in Clay County, W. Va. (Courtesy GreenPower Motor Company)

GreenPower Motor Company Inc. has deployed its first electric school bus in the U.S. — the NANO Beast, an all-electric, zero-emission, ADA-compliant vehicle — in the Clay County, W. Va. district.

Founded in Vancouver, GreenPower's (GPV-X) primary operational facilities are in southern California. It has been listed on the TSXV since 2015.

"GreenPower, along with its partner Constellium, has developed a full monocoque structure that utilizes the proven GreenPower purpose-built EV Star platform," said GreenPower president Brendan Riley in a statement on the bus.

"The passenger compartment features a flat floor to ensure excellent accessibility for wheelchairs and ensure that there are no seats with compromised foot and legroom."

According to a release, the NANO Beast has the largest standard battery pack for a type-A school bus on the market, with a range of up to 150 miles (240 kms). Its dual-port charging is standard, with Level 2 rates up to 19.2 KW and DC Fast Charging rates up to 61 KW. Wireless charging is also available.

Rock Tech Lithium one step closer to German refinery

Vancouver-based Rock Tech Lithium Inc. is one step closer to the construction and operation of its proposed battery-grade merchant lithium hydroxide monohydrate converter and refinery in Guben, Germany.

The company recently completed a project study that will form the basis for discussions with potential lenders.

The 12-hectare facility is to have an annual lithium hydroxide monohydrate production capacity of 24,000 tonnes, with initial capital costs of around $920.7 million. Construction would begin in Q1 2023.

"Our Guben converter is an exceptional project as it will help address the increasing need for battery-grade lithium hydroxide. Additionally, it will strengthen regional supply chains by offering a processing route for spodumene concentrates in Europe,” said Dirk Harbecke, Rock Tech's CEO, in a statement on the study.

It is planned to be the first European lithium converter – all the more important given the European Union’s recent agreement to ban the sale of new combustion engine vehicles from 2035. Lithium hydroxide is also a key ingredient in many batteries, like those found in electric vehicles.

Commissioning is planned to commence in Q2 2025. It will have a 25-year lifespan.

Spodumene, Rock Tech's main feedstock, is to be sourced from mines in Australia or Canada, including the company’s own mining project in Georgia Lake, Ont. It formed a joint venture with Geneva-based Transamine SA to create RTT Lithium SA as a means of securing the supply of lithium-bearing spodumene around the world.

Rock Tech (RCK-X) is undergoing a front-end loading Stage 3 study to finalize basic engineering to support a final investment decision.

RecycLiCo advances lithium recovery plant

RecycLiCo Battery Materials Inc., along with research and development partner Kemetco Research Inc., have progressed to the next stage of development of its patented lithium recovery process at RecycLiCo's Vancouver demo plant.

RecycLiCo (AMY-X) commissioned its demonstration facility earlier this year. Company data shows a 163 per cent increase in actual leach processing capacity over the 500 kgs per day of planned capacity, and 99 per cent leach extraction efficiency of lithium-ion battery cathode waste material, using the company’s closed-loop process.

The process can also extract cobalt, nickel and manganese. The next stage involves demonstrating lithium recovery at this scale.

“The build-out and diligent testing of our demo-scale operation has kept pace with the battery recycling market’s demands and enabled us to de-risk our future commercial expansion efforts,” said Zarko Meseldzija, RecycLiCo’s CEO and director, in a release updating the process.

“This has put us in a favourable position to adapt with the market, collaborate with potential partners in developing next-generation recycling and upcycling solutions that serve a broader market, and to potentially secure long-term partnerships.”

An engineering study is being prepared for the design and construction of a commercial-scale plant.

In October, the company changed its name from American Manganese Inc., to better reflect its efforts to create a circular battery chain.

Lion Electric acquires debt facility

Private debt fund Finalta Capital and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) have closed an agreement to equally fund a new $30-million credit facility for the Lion Electric Company.

Lion Electric (LEV-T) designs and manufactures all-electric class-5 to class-8 commercial urban trucks, all-electric buses and minibuses for the school, paratransit and mass-transit markets.

"With growing demand and fleet owners wishing to make the transition toward electric vehicles, this new credit facility provides an additional tool to finance our activities at a critical moment in our growth . . . This provides an unprecedented opportunity for a company like Lion," said Marc Bédard, CEO and founder of Lion Electric in a statement on the facility.

"We are delighted to welcome CDPQ among our capital providers and to extend our existing partnership with Finalta Capital."

Montreal-based Finalta Capital is Canada’s largest private debt fund in terms of tax credits and government grants.

A portion of the $30 million has already been drawn by Lion Electric, some of which was used to pay down past credit facilities it concluded with Finalta in May 2021.

As of the end of June, CDPQ’s net assets totalled $391.6 billion.

The company recently reported its Q3 earnings, noting the delivery of 156 vehicles. This marked an increase of 116 vehicles, compared to the 40 delivered in the same period last year. It also reported a net loss of $17.2 million, compared to net earnings of $123 million in Q3 2021.

At the beginning of November, it announced the assembly of its first zero-emission LionC school bus at its Jolliet, Ill. facility. 

Gardewine adds EVs to fleet

Transportation and warehousing industry service provider Gardewine Group Limited Partnership has added seven electric Ford Transit vans and one International electric MV series truck to its existing fleet.

The E-Transit has a 198 KW electric motor on the rear axle, with a 68 kW-h lithium-ion battery. The MV series truck is outfitted with an all-electric powertrain, as well as a combined 210 kW-h lithium iron phosphate battery pack capable of moving loads up to 13,000 pounds.

The Winnipeg-based company, a subsidiary of Mullen Group Ltd., serves customers from B.C. to Quebec across 34 terminals. It had previously announced the addition of an electric shunt truck, and in February 2021 added Ford Transit hybrid engine vans.



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