Category Archives: Blog

Audi & Qualcomm to Deploy Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything Technology on Virginia Roadways That Will Alert Drivers When Workers Are Present

A new pilot project in Virginia aims to make the state's roads safer using wireless communications technology known as "cellular vehicle-to-everything" (C-V2X), which allows vehicles to communicate with infrastructure, such as traffic signals, road signs as well as other nearby vehicles.

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Electric Vehicles Jolt into Trash Pickup

Republic Services orders 2,500 electric refuse trucks from Nikola (Update)

Bookings for Tre cabover model electric chassis could reach 5,000 units

Editor’s Note:Updates throughout with comments from virtual press conference

Republic Services is ordering a record 2,500 Nikola Tre-based battery-electric truck garbage trucks, generating up to $2 billion in revenue for the electric truck startup.

The order could expand to up to 5,000 trucks, Nikola (NASDAQ: NKLA) said. The news sent company shares soaring. They closed Monday at $44.81 up 22.03%.
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Is this Last Mile for the Million-Mile Battery?

Announcements from Tesla and CATL show that a long-lived, cobalt-free and competitively price EV and grid/home batteries may finally have arrived.

John Blyler Jul 06, 2020

The much discussed 1 million-mile (1.6 million kilometers) battery may now be a reality. As the name suggests, these batteries would last for 1 million miles without breaking down. Tesla, along with China-based Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), have announced such a battery that not only lasts longer but also costs less than $100/kWh and uses cobalt-free materials. Why are these two features important?

It has long been a metric for the success of electronic vehicles (EV) that their battery energy density be on parity with traditional gasoline-powered engines. Such a condition would allow EVs to compete with gasoline vehicles on both weight and range – especially the latter. This means that, if gasoline is 100 times more energy-dense than a battery, that a vehicle would need 100 lbs of battery to go as far as 1-lb of gasoline.

But past studies by the Argonne National Labs have shown that system efficiency is another key consideration when comparing EV and gasoline energy densities. The research lab noted that electric powertrains are far more efficient than powertrains powered by gasoline. In many cases, less than 20% of the energy contained in a gallon of gas actually gets converted to forward motion. After that power has been transmitted through a transmission and differential to the wheels, it would have suffered significantly more mechanical losses. By contrast, an electric powertrain can be more than 90% efficient. This would suggest that the energy density of an EV battery could be far less than equivalent to a gasoline-powered vehicle and still come out ahead.

Let’s go back to the Tesla-CATL announcement of a 1 million mile, $100/kWh battery. This is a significant improvement in an accelerated trend in battery improvements. Last December 2019, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) released the results of its 2019 Battery Price Survey, finding that industry-weighted average battery pack prices fell to $156 per kWh. This drop represented a 13% decrease over the 2018 average ($180/kWh, when adjusted for inflation), and BNEF foresees cost reductions continuing, with $100/kWh potentially being reached by 2023. But it would now appear that the $100/kWh battery may already be here in 2020!

Bloomberg NEF energy density trends. (Image Source: BNEF Energy Density)


There is another benefit to these long-lived batteries especially for the Tesla company. Even after a full life inside a Tesla EV, which have an average life of 200,000 miles, the battery can hypothetically be resold or recycled for use on a Tesla battery farm or home (Powerwall) system. Such reuse potentially means that EV companies can lease the batteries to car owners and bring down the costs of ownership to be on par with traditional gasoline-powered vehicles.

Lastly, let’s look at the importance of making EV batteries free from cobalt materials. Most of today’s EVs run on lithium-ion batteries made with heavy metals like cobalt, which are in limited supply and require less than ideal mining conditions. Further, cobalt batteries tend to catch on fire.

The move to cobalt-free batteries has been the focus of many research firms. For example, the IBM Research Battery Lab has recently developed a new battery built without heavy metals. It's made, instead, with materials that can be extracted from seawater. According to IBM, the new design could outperform current lithium-ion batteries in cost, charging time (less than five minutes to reach an 80 percent charge), power density and energy efficiency. The battery is also less flammable, and it could be used in aircraft, EVs and smart energy grids.

Returning to the earlier announcement, CATL said it is ready to begin manufacturing a cobalt-free battery that will last for 16 years and power an EV for 2 million kilometers (1.24 million miles). Naturally, other companies have been pursuing cobalt-free batteries. For example, the battery unit of Great Wall Motors China – known as SVOLT – recently announced that their new cobalt-free battery is guaranteed to work for 15 years or up to 1.2 million kilometers, close to a million miles.

At least one senior analysist in the energy sector – Peter Kelly-Detwiler, Principal at NorthBridge Energy Partners, LLC - is not surprised about the CATL announcement. When asked by Design News, he noted that the company had a large number of scientists with advanced degrees in materials science that have been focused on advanced battery technologies.

“Either way, this announcement is very good news for the industry and for the grid,” explained Kelly-Detwiler. “All of those batteries are likely to outlast the car and need a second home - literally!”

With all of these benefits, the cobalt-free, 1 million-mile, cost competitive EV and potentially reusable EV batteries should usher in a new era for energy-based technology and markets. Perhaps this is one reason why several major oil companies are investing heavily in renewable energies such as wind and solar, which will only increase the need for long-lasting and cheaper energy storage devices like batteries.

Source: 7/15/2020

Navistar Defense buys West Point Assembly Plant

By DENNIS SEID / Daily Journal

Navistar Defense on Monday said it had acquired its assembly plant in West Point for an undisclosed amount. The company has leased the facility from Babcock and Wilcox since 2006.

“The purchase of the assembly plant is a part of our strategic plan to grow our business,” said Ted Wright, Navistar Defense chief executive officer. “With the hard work of the local workforce, Navistar Defense has manufactured tens of thousands of vehicles at this facility since 2006. This acquisition shows our commitment to the West Point community and to Mississippi.”

The West Point Assembly Plant has been Navistar Defense’s primary manufacturing site since 2006. The company calls the plant its hub for the manufacture of it line of military vehicles, which are sold worldwide. The plant is located on 161 acres and has 562,000 square feet of manufacturing, storage and office space comprised of five multi-purpose, moving assembly lines.

“This facility has the ability to produce armored and unarmored tactical vehicles from the ground up,” said Wright. “Beyond that, the plant’s large capacity offers the potential to manufacture a variety of products in addition to our core product lines.”

In addition to assembly tooling and equipment, the plant has high-volume chemical agent resistant coating painting, certified welding and technical automotive capabilities.

“West Point is pleased that Navistar Defense has made a long term, permanent commitment to our community,” said West Point Mayor Robbie Robinson. “We look forward to working with Navistar Defense for the good of our city, state and nation.”

Navistar Defense in December was awarded a $24.5 million contract to provide medium tactical vehicles to foreign military sales customers worldwide, except for Iraq.

Work will be done in West Point, with deliveries starting in 180 days after receipt of each delivery order.

The three-year requirements contract, awarded by the U.S. Army Contracting Command, is comprised of 6X6 general transport trucks and 6X6 wreckers, along with spare parts and technical data for both variants.

Navistar has been contracted to provide MTV variants to Iraq since 2017.

Source: 1/15/2020

Navistar Launches New Business For Electrification

Navistar's NEXT eMobility Solutions to develop electric trucks and school buses.

Navistar announced recently a new business unit - NEXT eMobility Solutions - envisioned for customized electrification solutions (trucks and school buses).

The plan is to introduce on the market thefirst EVs next year:

  • from late 2020 electric school buses (IC Bus)
  • from early 2021 medium-duty electric trucks (International Truck)

"NEXT eMobility Solutions is dedicating a world-class, lean engineering team to developing the best products in the electric vehicle space, using a unique consultative philosophy that embraces the full range of customers' needs.

Vehicles developed by NEXT will be offered under the International Truck and IC Bus nameplates and will be sold and supported by International Truck and IC Bus dealers, respectively."

Persio Lisboa, Navistar executive vice president and Chief Operating Officer said:

"Companies interested in operating electric trucks have more questions than answers; they are looking for a partner who also brings clarity. NEXT combines the technical expertise required to develop leading electric vehicles with the industry experience to deliver custom solutions that go beyond the vehicle."

"NEXT will combine the lean and agile approach of a start-up with the proven engineering and manufacturing capabilities of Navistar. The team is well positioned to deliver rapid, customer-focused innovations in the eMobility space."

International eMV Series concept

At the North American Commercial Vehicle Show (October 28-31, 2019) Navistar unveiled an all-new International eMV Series concept.

It's an all-electric version of MV Series with up to 250 miles (400 km) of range:

  • range of up to 250 miles (400 km) *with 321 kWh battery pack
  • 107-321 kWh battery options
  • 474 kW (peak) electric motor and 300 kW continuous

"The International eMV Series concept is based on the production version of the diesel-powered International MV Series.  The truck features a redesigned aerodynamic hood for superior visibility and is powered by an electric motor with peak power of over 474 kW—or 645 HP—allowing it to be able to pull any load required.  The continuous power is 300 kW, or more than 400 HP, which is available at all times. The system, exclusive to Navistar, enables peak efficiency across the entire operating range.

The vehicle was designed to accommodate multiple battery capacity options that range from 107 to 321 kilowatt hours.  Navistar believes customers operating a truck with a 321 kWh battery in typical pickup and delivery cycles should expect to be able to travel up to 250 miles on a single charge."

Source: 11/2/19

Truck manufacturer Navistar to build plant in San Antonio, sources say

Truck maker Navistar International Corp. is looking to build a plant in the Mitchell Lake area on San Antonio’s South Side, say people familiar with the matter.

The Lisle, Ill.-based company ⁠— which manufactures commercial trucks, buses, military vehicles and engines ⁠— is expected to announce its intentions as early as Thursday.

Sources said Navistar will need a network of suppliers in the region to serve the plant, though it’s unclear if those companies would be located adjacent the manufacturer. The company is expected to hire as many as 500 workers initially.

It’s also unclear whether Navistar will seek city or county incentives to build the plant. The company operates manufacturing facilities in Ohio, Oklahoma, Illinois and Alabama as well as in Mexico and Brazil.


Source: Madison Iszler, Diego Mendoza-Moyers / on

Comcast has Reportedly Acquired Metrological

AMSTERDAM – Comcast has reportedly acquired Metrological, an application platform developer that integrates OTT video services and other content into the pay TV experience.

nScreenMedia analyst Colin Dixon first reported the news and confirmed it through an unnamed source. It’s unclear what the financial terms were for the potential deal.

For Comcast, the acquisition is likely geared toward further integrating third-party streaming apps and offering a full app store on its X1 video platform, which Comcast also white-labels to other operators including Cox.

As Dixon points out, X1 is built on RDK, an open source software platform for the connected home that standardizes core functions used in broadband devices, set-top boxes, and IoT solutions. But whereas a competing platform like Android TV has a large, built-in app store (Google Play), RDK does not.

Approximately one year ago, RDK Management addressed this by launching a new app program to make it easier to develop and launch apps across RDK-based set-top boxes. The program lets service providers use the new RDK App Framework to build and manage their own solutions, or choose a RDK pre-integrated app store solution, which is the Metrological App Store.

Metrological’s app store includes access to a library of more than 300 apps. It can also be used to launch video apps including Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video; local and regionalized apps; and includes the back-office tools needed to launch and manage the lifecycle of an app store.

If Comcast does indeed acquire Metrological, the deal will strengthen Comcast’s position as an aggregator of traditional pay TV content (linear, VOD, PPV) along with SVOD services. Comcast has been one of the most active U.S. operators in terms of integrating SVOD applications into its platform. Comcast also recently launched Xfinity Flex, a service for its broadband-only subscribers that provides a set-top box that functions as an aggregated video streaming hub and a smart home


Source: nScreenMedia

September 12, 2019: Awarded a contract to remanufacture electronic components for a Heavy Duty Truck Manufacturer

September 12, 2019

Carol Stream, IL

Advanced Technical Services (ATS) announced today that they have successfully completed the PPAP process for a Heavy Duty Truck Manufacturer and have been awarded a contract to remanufacture electronic components for this OEM.

No further details were available in regards to unit types or annual volumes.

When asked about the addition, ATS company President, Dave Vikartofsky, said that we are very excited to be supporting this new Automotive customer.

Our roots are in Automotive Electronic Remanufacturing and to be adding an Automotive OEM with products where we have decades of direct support experience seems like it will be an excellent fit for both parties.

For more information about ATS product and service offerings please visit the company’s website

Comcast Multifamily Unit Announces ‘Smart Communities’ Project in Chicago

Partnership will equip 50 rental units in two MDU properties with smart thermostats and lighting Xfinity Communities, a unit of Comcast devoted to servicing multifamily dwellings, has announced a new smart communities project in Chicago.

The operator has partnered with Chicago-based property manager Kass Management Services to integrate smart devices, including thermostats and lightening, into 50 rental units across two properties. These devices will enable renters to control lighting and room temperature via app.

Property owners, meanwhile, will have similar control in public areas of the buildings, as well as in vacant apartments.

“Home automation is a burgeoning market, and we’re thrilled to bring it to Chicago area apartment dwellers,” said Chris Smith, Comcast’s regional VP of marketing and sales, in a statement. “Tenants are going to appreciate the control they have over their units, and property managers are going to appreciate the convenience and control this technology will give them over their properties.”

Added Mark Durakovic, principal, Kass Management Services Inc.: “Creating smart communities by integrating smart home technology into our properties makes life easier and more convenient for residents and may even help them have more control over their utility usage,”. “In a competitive rental market like Chicago’s, smart features help to differentiate properties, add value and attract residents.”