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March 15, 2021
Further Battery Innovation on the Horizon
Source: GM
Transportation electrification has been at the top of the news cycle throughout 2021 with stories of both boom and bust for automakers, startups, and other companies seeking to generate capital through stock offerings. It has been a wild ride for companies like Nikola, Lucid Motors, Canoo, Workhorse, Fisker, and Lordstown Motors, all of which entered the market in the past year through reverse mergers with Special Purpose Acquisition Companies. These deals, along with commitments from major automakers, contributed to more than $90 billion in global private investment the EV Hub has tracked since July 2020.

It has not only been powerhouses like Tesla and rising stars like Nio who have experienced gains and losses from the volatile EV stock market. Automakers and startups alike are vying for leadership in the battery space as several groups have hinted at imminent breakthroughs. QuantumScape, a startup dedicated solely to the development and commercialization of solid state lithium-metal batteries, which use a solid rather than liquid electrolyte and aim to produce gains in range, battery life, and speed of charging, was another company which listed on the stock market through reverse merger. The Bill Gates and Volkswagen-backed company saw stock prices peak at more than $130 per share at the end of 2020 before plummeting to a low of around $40 in February after news broke of lawsuits filed alleging the company misled investors and that their prototype cells would not be able to power an EV. QuantumScape responded with an announcement of a breakthrough in late February with more advancements expected before the end of the year.

QuantumScape has also been jockeying for position with other startups like Fisker. The latter recently agreed to settle a legal dispute over trade secrets in February and later announced it would pull out of the solid state battery effort altogether. For their part, Fisker is turning its focus to the release of their debut EV and inked a deal in February with Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn to produce the vehicle. As Fisker pulls back, others are beginning to dabble in the solid-state space. New job postings sighted from Rivian in early March at their Palo Alto, California facility indicate the company is looking to boost internal R&D capacity. Rivian, which is releasing its entry level debut vehicles this summer, already boasts an industry-leading maximum range of 400 miles for their lithium-ion batteries in vehicles that will be available in 2022.  

The giants are hot on the tails of these upstarts with both Tesla and GM making serious inroads in U.S.-based battery development. On March 11th, GM announced a new partnership with MIT-based SolidEnergy Systems to develop next generation lithium batteries by 2023. The partnership seeks to produce denser, cheaper batteries that go beyond the already impressive 450-mile estimated top range of GM’s forthcoming Ultium battery system. Despite the name of the company, SolidEnergy is not a solid-state battery company and still works with liquid electrolytes. However, GM continues to explore technology advancements in solid-state batteries and the product of this venture is expected to be some form of hybrid “wet” lithium-ion battery.

Tesla’s forays in the solid-state realm are more murky, although the EV kingpin is hard at work on in-house battery production to power its upcoming Semi and other upcoming vehicles. Analysts expect Tesla to retain the lead in cheap battery prices through the decade with GM and others closing in. American autos will face stiff competition as Volkswagen, increasingly considered a leading contender for EV market dominance, is gearing up to slash battery production costs by 50 percent and roll out its new “unified” battery cells by 2023 based on announcements made at a March 15th “Power Day” event. The automaker also indicated plans to “eventually” transition to solid state platforms and deploy 18,000 charging stations across Europe through 2025. Volkswagen is one of several automakers that committed to accelerate their electrification plans worldwide in the last month, all of which you can track on the Automakers Dashboard.
Automakers Dashboard
Special EV Hub Live Episode on USPS this Thursday (3/18) at 3 PM ET!

ICYMI: Last Friday, we recorded a great conversation with Cassie Powers from NASEO and Geoff Morrison from Cadmus on their new EV policy rubric. You can watch or list to the show here.
For this week, we’ve pulled together a special episode on the U.S. Postal Service. We’ll be recording live this Thursday at 3pm ET. Nick Nigro will be joined by two powerhouses on this issue, Dorothy Robyn of the Boston University Institute for Sustainable Energy and Gina Coplon-Newfield of the Sierra Club. We’ll discuss the contract awarded by USPS, the response from Congress, the role of EVs, and where we go from here.

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EV Hub News

Six Utilities in Southeast and Midwest Partner for Electric Highway

On March 2, 2021, six of the country’s largest utilities agreed to partner to develop fast charging corridors throughout the Midwest and Southeast. The Electric Highway Coalition, made up of American Electric Power (AEP), Duke Energy, Dominion Energy, Entergy Corporation, Southern Company, and the Tennessee Valley Authority, plans to roll out DC fast charging across the region. This marks the first major multi-utility partnership in these regions, following similar initiatives in the Rocky Mountain region under REV West and along Pacific Coast interstates with the West Coast Clean Transit Corridor. Read More Here

GM to Sell Only EVs by 2035

On January 28th, 2021, General Motors (GM) announced plans to electrify their entire sales offerings by 2035. This follows announcements made in late 2020 that the company will increase their overall investment in EVs to a total of $27 million in support of at least 30 new EV models by 2025. GM is now leading the total investment commitment to EV manufacturing in the United States. The new announcement is part of a wider ambition for the company to reach carbon neutrality across all operations by 2040. GM is also the first of the “Detroit 3” automakers to make a commitment of this nature and follows European auto giants Volkswagen and Daimler who made similar commitments in 2020. Read More Here

Three States and DC Move to Implement TCI Program

On December 21, 2020, members of the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Washington D.C. announced plans to be the first jurisdictions to begin administering the Transportation & Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P) that could bring $300 million of annual investment in clean transportation projects to communities throughout the region. Investment will come from the TCI program which collects “allowance” payments from major oil and gas suppliers in the region to invest in transportation electrification and other emissions-saving technologies. Emissions reductions in these four jurisdictions are expected to reach 26 percent by 2032. Read More Here

Catch Up On EV Hub News Alerts
Job Openings
Below are current job openings in transportation electrification: If you have a job posting you would like to share with EV Hub users, please send them to us in an email at
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In this episode of EV Hub Live, Nick Nigro will be joined by Dorothy Robyn of Boston University Institute for Sustainable Energy and Gina Coplon-Newfield of the Sierra Club to discuss the contract awarded by USPS, the response from Congress, the role of EVs, and where we go from here. Read more.

March 18th @ 3pm EST

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