Tesla lobbies for anyone with solar and batteries to participate in Texas’ energy market

Tesla has filed to change rules for grid operators in Texas in order to enable anyone with solar and batteries, including residential homeowners, to participate in the state’s energy market.

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Source: Charge Forward

Webinar: Ensuring crimp quality for large gauge wire in EVs

The rapid growth of EVs, HEVs, and PHEVs has led to an increase in the use of large gauge wires and cables, but large wire crimping presents its own set of challenges. Harness manufacturers must take care to ensure quality connections where these cables and terminations perform.

This webinar, presented by TE Connectivity, will focus on the tooling needs of the EV industry, and the role of advanced control and monitoring innovations to support industry growth.

The webinar, hosted by Charged on June 15, 2022 at 1:00 PM EDT, will include a live Q&A session.

EPA announces $500 million in funding for electric school buses

The EPA has announced $500 million in new funding for school districts and other eligible bus operators to begin replacing the nation’s fleet of school buses with American-made zero-emission buses. This 500 big ones represents the first round of funding from the $5-billion investment authorized by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Portions of the rebates can also be used to install charging infrastructure for the new buses. The rebate program will select awardees through a lottery system.

The EPA will accept funding applications from May 20 through August 19, 2022. Questions may be directed to CleanSchoolBus@epa.gov.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allows the EPA to prioritize buses serving high-need local education agencies, Tribal Schools and rural areas—at least 40% of the benefits of certain government investments are to be directed to underserved communities. The EPA plans to focus education and outreach efforts to underserved communities, including those that may have never applied for a federal grant or rebate.

The agency will also launch a grant competition later this year. Further Clean School Bus competitions will be run every year for the next five years.

“This historic investment under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will forever transform school bus fleets across the United States,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “These funding opportunities to replace older, heavily-polluting buses will result in healthier air for many of the 25 million American children who rely on school buses, many of whom live in overburdened and underserved communities.”

“Right now, most school buses are powered by dirty diesel engines that exacerbate climate change and emit dangerous air pollution,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. “With these funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are paving the way for cleaner air and healthier communities. These investments will also help spur the development and deployment of American-made clean technology, creating more good-paying jobs right here at home.”

GM’s Ultium-based EVs feature heat pump technology

GM has announced that its current Ultium platform-based EVs come standard with an energy recovery system composed of a patented heat pump and technology that recovers waste heat from the vehicle as well as humidity from inside and outside the vehicle. 

Waste heat from batteries and power electronics, and humidity—including humidity from the body heat of passengers—is collected and stored by the system. According to GM, “the Ultium Platform can then deploy energy stored through the recovery process to heat the cabin more quickly in cold weather than comparable systems found in vehicles with an internal combustion engine.”

According to the company, the energy recovery system lowers energy demands on the battery from heating and other functions, “potentially allowing more power and range than vehicles with similarly sized batteries without energy recovery capabilities.” The system could also allow vehicles to charge more efficiently by warming up the batteries before charging.

ORNL licenses electrolyte and thin-film coating tech to BTRY

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has licensed some electrolyte and thin-film coating technologies it developed to battery technology company BTRY, which plans to use them to manufacture lithium-ion batteries. ORNL says the licensing will enable BTRY to “make batteries with increased energy density, at lower cost and with an improved safety profile in crashes.”

Composed of conventional electrolyte and an additive, Safe Impact Resistant Electrolytes (SAFIRE) are designed for EVs and aerospace applications. ORNL says they have an improved safety profile because the SAFIRE electrolyte “solidifies when hit, preventing the electrodes from touching if the battery is damaged. This new stability reduces the need for bulky protective shielding.”

ORNL’s thin-film coating technology is a process of adding silica to a battery before the electrolyte is introduced. Researchers from ORNL and the University of Rochester used perfectly spherical particles of silica 200 nanometers in diameter, which achieve solidification by clumping together.

“You can’t do that with a shear-thickening electrolyte because the minute you try to inject it, it solidifies,” said ORNL researcher Gabriel Veith.

Wolfspeed opens silicon carbide semiconductor fab facility in New York

Silicon carbide and gallium nitride technology company Wolfspeed has opened a silicon carbide semiconductor wafer fabrication facility in Marcy, New York. Wolfspeed calls the automated facility “the world’s first and largest 200 mm silicon carbide fab, providing uncompromised wafer quality and higher yield.”

In April, the facility produced its first batch of silicon carbide semiconductor wafers, and the company plans to begin supplying customers this year. Wolfspeed reached a multi-year agreement with Lucid Motors to supply silicon carbide devices.

Wolfspeed is also planning a materials factory in Durham, North Carolina which is slated for completion later in 2022.