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Exro provides 2023 commercialization updates

IMAGE: Exro CEO Sue Ozdemir in an electric Humvee
Exro CEO Sue Ozdemir in an electric Humvee. (Courtesy Exro Technologies Inc.)

Exro Technologies Inc. has released a letter to shareholders updating commercialization efforts for its Coil Driver and Cell Driver as it prepares for production by Q3 2023.

The Coil Driver replaces the inverter in an electric vehicle (EV). The driver utilizes coil switching — the ability to switch electric motor configurations while in use, to maximize speed and torque. That concept is not new, but most EV models require multiple motors and gearboxes, while the Coil Driver eliminates that requirement.

“Right now, the industry is trying to apply a one-size-fits-all solution, but that’s not how electrification succeeds, and the ability to scale will determine who succeeds versus who fails,” Exro CEO Sue Ozdemir wrote in an email interview with SustainableBiz in April.

“That is why we’re hyper-focused on proving Coil Driver’s ability to optimize performance across any powertrain requirements — from a single motor, using a single, scalable solution — and we are constantly on the lookout for new companies to partner with.”

Calgary-based Exro’s (EXRO-T) Cell Driver technology can utilize regular batteries in their “first life” as well as reusing batteries in their “second life,” establishing its own circular economy supply chain for battery power. In September, Exro signed an agreement with Inferno Solar Systems to combine the Cell Driver with Inferno’s solar technology to create the Inferno System.

The letter includes updates and announcements of new partnerships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) around the world. This includes piloting the Coil Driver, outfitted in a motor supplied by Italian company HB4, in an Italian EV passenger car.

Exro had been working with HB4 — a Tier-1 supplier to Lamborghini, Ferrari and Ducati — under a non-disclosure agreement for over two years. HB4 has now placed an initial stock purchase order of Coil Drivers beginning in Q3 2023 over a three-year term.

The companies will co-market their products in Italy and Europe on a non-exclusive basis.

Exro also entered a commercial agreement with an “emerging growth” private Brazil-based retrofitter to jointly develop electric retrofit kits for commercial vehicles across South America. It includes a Coil Driver installed in a motor for a prototype vehicle for a major global beverage company.

The motor will be integrated into the prototype by the end of Q2, and if all goes well over three to six months of testing, the firms plan to enter into a multi-year master sales agreement.

Exro is also in negotiations for two other projects with its Brazilian partner.

In December, Exro delivered a custom electric powertrain system for a light-duty on-road vehicle for a leading automotive OEM.

“We have entered advanced-stage discussions with several global Tier-1 motor manufacturers and suppliers to OEMs,” the letter reads.

FortisAlberta launches smart EV charging pilot

FortisAlberta Inc. is seeking approximately 600 EV owners who live in its service area to participate in its smart charging – the first of its kind in rural Alberta.

According to the latest numbers from the Alberta government, there are around 5,600 registered EVs in the province.

The pilot, approved by the Alberta Utilities Commission, is being conducted in collaboration with San Francisco-based smart charging developer Optiwatt. Users can download the Optiwatt app on iOS or Android to participate.

"The data gathered will help us understand vehicle charging requirements of our customers," Curtis Eck, FortisAlberta’s vice president of engineering, said. 

"It will also demonstrate the opportunity for active managed charging to mitigate grid impacts, reduce carbon impacts and save customers money; costs that directly impact the transmission and distribution fees on Albertans' utility bills.”

FortisAlberta serves 240 communities – more than 60 per cent of the province’s electricity distribution network – with 127,000 kilometres of power lines across Alberta.

NEO gets OK for silicon anode commercial plant

Vancouver-based NEO Battery Materials Ltd. has received construction approval for its commercial silicon anode plant in the Oseong Foreign Investment Zone of Pyeongtaek City in South Korea.

NEO (NBM-X) produces low-cost silicon anode materials it states will enable longer-running and rapid-charging lithium-ion batteries via its proprietary single-step nanocoating process.

When complete, the plant will have an initial capacity of 240 tonnes per year, with the capability of supplying silicon anodes to up to 160,000 EVs. The company plans to scale-up production to at least 2,000 tonnes per year.

"We are extremely excited to announce this long-awaited milestone goal to initiate the first steps of our commercial plant's construction,” Spencer Huh, NEO’s president and CEO said in a statement.

“From the active, diligent work of our commercialization engineering team, we have completed the due diligence period with the city earlier than expected to gain the approval, and we will continue to expedite the next processes to break ground and establish the company into an indispensable supplier of silicon anodes in the EV battery supply chain as soon as possible."

In July 2020, Korea's government announced the Korean New Deal to support green infrastructure and innovation in green industries, injecting approximately US$135 billion to create 1.9 million jobs by 2025.

Canada purchases 350 zero-emission buses for Ottawa fleet

The federal government has committed $350 million in funding toward the purchase of 350 zero-emission buses and the installation of related charging infrastructure for Ottawa's bus fleet.

The City of Ottawa will install the charging infrastructure, build a vehicle storage facility and upgrade two existing facilities, as well as purchasing related infrastructure to maintain and operate the buses.

OC Transpo is targeting a fully zero-emission bus fleet by 2036, while the city is targeting a 100 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in municipal operations by 2040.

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