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Electric Circuit introduces heavy/medium-duty EV charging

IMAGE: The Electric Circuit Rue Canard charger
The charging stations on Rue Canard in Laval is the first instance of the pilot project. (Courtesy the Electric Circuit)

The Electric Circuit, the largest public charging network for electric vehicles (EVs) in Québec, is launching a pilot project for heavy- and medium-duty vehicle charging.

The first implementation of the project is on Rue Canard in Laval. Its two stations have a combined charging capacity of up to 350 kW with SAE Combo and CHAdeMO connectors. Other stations will be added by 2024. Drivers are able to park on either side of the station to use it.

"Our goal is to stimulate the growth of electric transportation. Although light vehicles were the initial focus of transportation electrification, many other types of electric vehicles will be on our roads in the next few years. When it comes to their charging, we intend to be ready to give the market the momentum it needs." France Lampron, director in development of energy and mobility offers at Hydro-Québec, said in a statement on the project.

The Electric Circuit consists of 3,800 public charging stations, including over 700 fast-charge stations, across Québec. Launched in March 2012 by Hydro-Québec, it was the first public EV charging network in Canada and now serves all of Québec and parts of eastern Ontario.

It is also working on projects around off-grid charging in remote areas and mobile charging for short-term needs like public events.

Hydro-Québec introduces fleet charging subsidiary

Originally introduced last February, Hydro-Québec has officially created a new brand for its fleet charging solution known as Cleo. Previously, the solution was carried out under the InnovHQ brand.

Cleo’s smart platform is compatible with most vehicle models and charging stations

"Hydro-Québec fully assumes its responsibility and critical role in the transition to a low-carbon economy and seeks to act as a catalyst to meet the government's transportation electrification targets. The market's response since the launch of our charging solutions has been so positive that it made perfect sense to create a brand to reflect how increasingly important our services are within the ecosystem," said Jeff Desruisseaux, Cleo’s CEO, in a statement on the new brand.

Cincinnati-based First Student Inc., North America's largest student transportation provider, chose Cleo's smart platform to automate charging of EVs managed by Transco, its subsidiary in Québec. By the end of the year, nearly 200 electric buses will be running on charging plans optimized by Cleo's platform.

Cleo also supports Autobus Groupe Séguin in Laval and Groupe Autocar Jeannois in Alma, Que., which have been using its services for their electric school buses since the start of the 2021 and 2022 school years, respectively.

Hydro-Québec is Canada’s largest electricity producer, with the Quebec government as its sole shareholder.

Westport and Scania’s engine test results

Westport Fuel Systems Inc. and Swedish manufacturer Scania AB have released the test results of Westport’s H2 HPDI fuel system for heavy-duty vehicle applications.

The demonstration linked the fuel system to Scania’s 13-litre CBE1 engine, with Vancouver-based Westport’s (WPRT-T) HPDI technology powered by hydrogen fuel.

It showed high torque and low fuel consumption with similar nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide compared to the base diesel engine. It also showed a brake thermal efficiency – the ratio of energy in the brake power to the fuel energy – of 51.5 per cent. 

“Westport’s expertise is in working with gaseous fuels. Hydrogen use in an internal combustion engine with our HPDI fuel system is an affordable pathway to employ a zero-carbon fuel using existing engine architecture and existing manufacturing infrastructure,” said David M. Johnson, Westport’s CEO, in a statement on the demonstration.

“This exciting evolution of our patented technology provides greater performance while achieving dramatically reduced emissions.”

In the same release, a Scania senior technical advisor states it could be a complement to battery EVs, particularly for long haulage and locations with limited electrical infrastructure.

The companies expect to complete engine testing in the next month.

Magna’s transmission collaboration with Stellantis

Magna International Inc.’s 48-volt hybrid transmission has hit the market in four Stellantis N.V.-manufactured vehicles – the Jeep Renegade, Compass e-Hybrid, Fiat 500 X and Tipo.

Aurora, Ont.-based Magna (MG-T) signed a multi-program agreement with Stellantis. A release promised future Stellantis (STLA-N) models equipped with Magna’s transmission.

Magna's 48-volt, 7-speed dual-clutch transmission for hybrids provides a maximum torque of 320 newton-metres and torque-split technology.

Its e-motor is capable of providing propulsion to the vehicle even when the internal combustion engine is switched off. This new transmission features independent on-demand cooling for the clutch and e-motor with a single oil circuit for cooling and lubrication, resulting in significant carbon dioxide reductions.

"Our scalable transmission technologies aid our customers in their transition to vehicle electrification which help to achieve regulatory targets. The transmission enhances both efficiency and performance. We are excited that Stellantis has awarded Magna this hybrid transmissions business across multiple vehicle models, a testament to our expertise and capabilities," said Tom Rucker, Magna Powertrain president in a statement on the collaboration.

The transmissions are produced at Magna’s Kechnec, Slovakia division. Its global operations total 341 manufacturing operations and 89 product development, engineering and sales centres spanning 28 countries.

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