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SWTCH partners with Bectrol to expand Quebec charging infrastructure

IMAGE: A hand gripping an EV charger, putting it into a car with the SWTCH and Bectrol logos displayed in the bottom right corner.
Courtesy SWTCH Energy Inc.

Electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions provider SWTCH Energy Inc. has partnered with Bectrol Inc. to expand charging infrastructure for tenants of multiresidential buildings and commercial properties in Quebec.

Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.-based Bectrol is an integrator of electric vehicle chargers and provides industrial automation, distribution and manufacturing of control panels.

SWTCH’s charging platform and energy management solution is already interoperable with Hydro-Québec’s Circuit Électrique, a public electric utility in Quebec and beyond.

“SWTCH is honoured to partner with Bectrol, a leader in EV charging installation projects in Québec,” Carter Li, SWTCH Energy CEO and co-founder, said in a statement.

“Bectrol has become a regional leader as a full-service EV charging installer, and we're excited to extend our solution and team to scale the deployment of chargers across Quebec together.”

Quebec's goal is to have 1.5 million registered electric vehicles on the road by 2030. Currently, 46 per cent of all registered electric vehicles in Canada are driven on Quebec’s roads.

While the province currently has no regulations to make multiresidential buildings ready for electric vehicles, the City of Laval mandates new multires buildings provide electrical structures to accommodate electric vehicle chargers.

SWTCH is headquartered in Toronto, with offices in Brooklyn and Boston.

In October 2021, SustainableBiz wrote about a three-year pilot program at 55 St. Clair West involving SWTCH, the Smart City Sandbox, IBI Group and Slate Asset Management.

It employs SWTCH’s bidirectional, vehicle-to-grid charging technology to allow a parked Nissan Leaf to recharge and store electricity at times of low energy demand, then redistribute that electricity to the building during high-demand periods.

GreenPower appoints K. Neal as school bus dealer

GreenPower Motor Company Inc. has appointed heavy truck dealer K. Neal International Trucks, Inc. as an exclusive dealer for its all-electric Type D BEAST and Type A Nano BEAST school buses in Maryland and in Washington, D.C.

Vancouver-based GreenPower (GPV-X) manufactures and distributes zero-emission, electric-powered, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

"We are excited to be working with K. Neal, who is a proven school bus dealer in Maryland and in D.C.," Michael Perez, vice president of school bus, contracts and grants for GreenPower, said in a statement.

"The region has around 8,000 school buses currently in operation and a strong desire to migrate from diesel to electric school buses. We are already working with the K. Neal team on several deals including those funded by the recent EPA Clean School Bus Program announcement."

K. Neal will purchase Nano BEAST Type A and BEAST Type D buses from GreenPower for customer demonstrations.

The dealer has three locations in Maryland and one location in Washington D.C.

Orange EV expands into Canada

Kansas City, Mo.-based heavy duty vehicle maker Orange EV is expanding further into the Canadian market, hiring a former Finning general manager to head its operations in the country.

Roberto Bragagnolo, the new country general manager for Canada, also previously spent two years with Export Development Canada in global trade across clean energy and advanced manufacturing sectors, and spent 23 years working for Siemens.

"Orange EV has long anticipated this expansion in Canada, and with the company's proven presence in cold-weather markets such as Minnesota, Western New York, and already in Ontario, it's a natural move that will benefit North American customers and the environment alike," Bragagnolo said in a statement.

The company's Canadian division, Toronto-based OEV Canada Inc., recently became operational. In addition to providing vehicles for purchase, it will provide in-country service and parts support.

Orange EV will move into a larger U.S. production facility in Q2 2023, capable of producing up to 1,800 terminal trucks per year in single-shift operations. The company offers the trucks and charging solutions together.

Orange EV says it was the first manufacturer in the U.S. offering 100 per cent electric Class 8 vehicles to be commercially deployed and scaled. It was founded in 2012 and delivered its first terminal truck in 2015 - trucks that are now active in over 160 fleets across 33 U.S. states, Canada and the Caribbean.

One factor contributing to growth in the sector is a $100,000-per-truck discount through Canada's incentives for Medium-and Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicles program, Orange EV co-founder and chief technology officer Kurt Neutgens said in the announcement.

NFI completes financing agreements with Manitoba

NFI Group Inc. has completed financial agreements for a support package of approximately $187 million with the Manitoba Development Corporation and Export Development Canada (EDC).

NFI (NFI-T), a coach and bus manufacturer headquartered in Winnipeg, has electric vehicles operating or on order in more than 110 cities in six countries. It employs 7,500 people in nine countries.

In addition to its expanding electric vehicle services, it also sells a traditional line of fossil fuel buses and coaches.

The package includes a $50-million debt facility (the Manitoba facility) with a one-year term and an option to extend up to 24 months for working capital and general corporate purposes. It also includes a $50 million facility for supply-chain financing, and an up-to-$100 million surety reinsurance support arrangement for new contracts.

While the Manitoba facility is active, NFI can’t moves its headquarters or senior management out of the province. While both are active, the company cannot pay a dividend.

NFI’s subsidiaries are New Flyer for heavy-duty transit buses; Alexander Dennis Limited for single and double-deck buses; Plaxton and MCI for motor coaches; ARBOC low-floor cutaway and medium-duty buses; and NFI Parts. In addition to its expanding electric vehicle services, it also sells a traditional line of fossil fuel buses and coaches.

The package was previously announced on Dec. 23.

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