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The Amped EV Podcast

  • Paired Power's pop-up microgrid aims to solve challenges associated with fleet electrification

    13 MAG 2024 · Fleet electrification is tricky. Many fleet locations never planned to one day convert their vehicles to run using electric powertrains, and therefore lack the adequate electrical infrastructure to easily make the switch. The good news is that upgrade solutions are typically available, and today there are lots of partners out there who can help fleets get started. The bad news is that the upgrade process can involve lengthy wait times – sometimes up to two years – due to factors like utility management and equipment shortages. Tom McCalmont, CEO and co-founder of Paired Power, says his company has developed what he calls a novel solution that both circumvents the need for extensive grid upgrades and also significantly accelerates the installation process: PairTree, a pop-up solar canopy that offers freedom from costly construction and infrastructure upgrades required by traditional solar canopy installation. "Over the last 10 or 12 years, solar has gotten dramatically cheaper, but the one type of solar that has not gotten dramatically cheaper is solar carports. And the reason they haven't is ... because they have a massive foundation, with steel and concrete going into the ground. It's a very labor-intensive process to construct the actual overhead canopy and it's slow," McCalmont says. "So, we thought about that problem. The PairTree has a ballasted foundation with a light attachment. It can be attached to the ground with ground screws, but it's not a massive foundation like you would do with a traditional canopy. All of that can be accomplished in one day with two workers." In this episode of The Amped EV Podcast, McCalmont discusses the challenges related to fleet electrification, why some fleets are turning to microgrid EV charging systems, and the adaptability of these charging systems to different geographic conditions. The Buzz:
    16 min. 17 sec.
  • First Student's blueprint for electrifying 30,000 school buses by 2035

    15 APR 2024 · First Student isn't messing around when it comes to its ambitions for school bus electrification – 30,000 school buses by 2035. At first glance, it may seem a bit pie-in-the-sky, but Kevin Matthews, head of electrification at First Student, assures that school buses may be the area that makes the most sense when it comes to fleet electrification opportunities in the U.S. "That number was not a 'throw darts at a dart board approach.' We also believe this [growth will be] a little bit shallower than a hockey stick, where when you get to around the year 2029 or 2030 we'll see a real uptick in the percentage of buses that become electric," Matthews says. "The yellow school bus has been the redheaded stepchild of the automotive industry for a long, long time. But as we transitioned to electrification, we've actually moved toward the tip of the spear." In this episode of The Amped EV Podcast, we discuss how mandates for electric school buses in various states line up with the natural replacement cycle of school buses, the dual approaches districts adopt in electrifying their fleets, and shed light on the timelines and complexities involved in transitioning to electric school buses.
    16 min. 11 sec.
  • Grid management at the intersection of hardware and software

    26 FEB 2024 · Electric vehicle charging and grid management are both critical factors when it comes to handling the increased adoption rates of EVs. The fragmented nature of the electric utility industry mixed with the necessity for the intelligent management of EV charging on a hyperlocal level isn't an easy hurdle to cross – and it's hard to do it alone. The good news is that the industry is intimately aware of this, and partnerships are cropping up to intersect well-designed hardware with advanced grid management. The partnership between Wallbox and Weavegrid is one of those. WeaveGrid, a software company that enables rapid electric vehicle adoption on the electric grid, and Wallbox, a leading provider of electric vehicle charging solutions, recently announced their joint effort to expand access to utility-managed charging programs for North American Wallbox owners, beginning with Xcel Energy’s Charging Perks Program in Colorado, where Xcel Energy currently serves around 1.3 million residential customers. "There's a very academic approach one can take to this sort of problem: It's looking at vehicles purely as batteries on wheels and drivers as just sort of an inconvenient human element to this problem of balancing out the batteries on those vehicles," says Yakov Berenshteyn, director, automotive & charging partnerships, Weavegrid. "I think that's a perspective that Wallbox and Weavegrid both have, and it's part of that shared value that led to this partnership. We need to make sure that this is a good driver experience and that's going to be manifested in this partnership." In this episode of The Amped EV Podcast, we discuss the need for renewable energy generation, the benefits of managing EV charging intelligently at a hyperlocal level, and how the partnership between Wallbox and Weavegrid is making strides in Colorado's growing EV market. The Buzz:
    13 min. 39 sec.
  • Are EVs really more expensive to maintain?

    30 GEN 2024 · Electric vehicles have been steadily rising in popularity in the US for around a decade now, so surely consumers have had plenty of time to research and understand the differences in aspects like maintenance costs, range and government incentives, right? ...Right? The truth is, there are plenty of misconceptions about the current state of EVs, a topic that has recently been researched in-depth by CDK Global in the company's recently published whitepaper "" "When we talk about EVs in general as an industry, we know a lot of things are true and we talk about them on shows like this, on LinkedIn, all those things. But we have to understand the American consumer is not following any of that," says Dave Thomas, director of content marketing and industry analyst at CDK Global. "What they mostly see about EVs is what's in the mass media or from friends in their networks. And the one thing they all know is EVs are more expensive overall. They cost more to buy. Tesla started all off as a luxury brand when it started. That's kind of core to their belief. "As we know, it's a core benefit of an EV that maintenance costs are lower, there are no oil changes and brakes should last much longer," he continues. "All those kinds of things should pay off for the consumer in the end. But, EV shoppers ranked maintenance as being more expensive, so it's all over the place." On this episode of The Amped EV Podcast, we speak with Thomas about EV maintenance, EV tax credits and the effect that social networks have on one's knowledge and interest in EVs. The Buzz:
    18 min. 24 sec.
  • How microgrid mastery empowers fleets to go electric

    23 OTT 2023 · The U.S. energy grid is a complicated, dynamic system involving a vast infrastructure, power generation, transmission, distribution, substations, and so much more. Thus, it would be easy to assume that creating your own, personal microgrid – something that fleets across the country are beginning to experiment with – would be a hair-pulling, blood-boiling process. The truth is that establishing a microgrid can be an intimidating experience, but doing so can be well worth it for fleets making the transition from diesel- to electric-powered vehicles. Setting up a microgrid allows the fleet to create a localized energy systems that offer control over power generation, involving components like batteries, solar panels, and software solutions. Microgrids integrate batteries, solar panels, and generators with software solutions, granting control over start-stop functions, scheduling and historical records. "To call something a microgrid can make it kind of daunting, but in reality, it's just the way you get power onto your property," says Terry O'Day, the chief operating officer and co-founder of InCharge Energy, a company that works with fleets to establish microgrids and renewable energy charging capabilities. "We can get you in business with a microgrid in nine months, and that will solve the problem of fueling on site." On this episode of The Amped EV Podcast, we speak with O'Day about the benefits of microgrids for fleet managers, such as providing fueling for EVs on-site and allowing for better control over charging schedules. We discuss the key factors fleet owners should consider when evaluating the feasibility of integrating microgrids, including fleet size, power needs, and available real estate. The Buzz:
    17 min. 37 sec.
  • How these autonomous EVs operate outside road lanes

    2 OTT 2023 · Autonomous vehicles tend to be electrified using powerful batteries because they are covered in sensors and require the latest computer hardware to interpret the onboard data in near-real time. This draws a ton of electric power, and an all-electric battery pack can not only provide this power, but keep the stream much more steady and stable when compared to an ICE engine. These sensors work together to provide a comprehensive view of the vehicle's surroundings, enabling it to detect and respond to various objects, obstacles, road conditions, and traffic situations. But, what if you eliminated the lanes these vehicles use to navigate completely? Low-speed autonomous vehicles are expected to navigate areas without lanes with short stopping distances. This makes them suitable for various environments like resorts, hospitals, university campuses, industrial campuses, retirement villages, gated communities, airports and more. On this episode of The Amped EV Podcast, we speak with Avinoam Barak, the CEO of Carteav, a company that develops autonomous low-speed electric vehicles. During our conversation, he dives into the technology Carteav uses – like sensor fusion, which combines lidar, radar, and cameras to enhance the vehicle's perception and safety. We also discuss the navigational accuracy of these vehicles as well how to address the infrastructure challenges that come with managing these vehicles. The Buzz:
    25 min. 26 sec.
  • World record driver shows off what's possible in an EV

    18 SET 2023 · Think back to the year you first received your driver's license. What did you do? Maybe driving to school or across town to a friend's house was your idea of excitement. Maybe you even braved the highway, holding your breath on the onramp until safely merged into traffic. When multiple-time Guinness World Record holder Rainer Zietlow first received his license in 1988, one of his first missions was to conquer the Sahara Desert via a six-week trek. "My friend told me about his father doing a tour through the Sahara and I said, 'Hey, let me buy a car and I join you,' Zietlow said. "[There were] no signs, with nothing support you. Some people got stuck in the sand, some even would drive by without getting enough water. That was really an adventure." It was the beginning of a lifelong passion for pushing the limits of what we believe can be accomplished in a vehicle, and has evolved into Zietlow crushing over a dozen world records. Today, he mainly focuses on beating records while driving electric vehicles. "The interesting thing is that since 2020, you cannot ask anyone about combustion engine projects. They will only accept EV projects," he says. "My last combustion engine project was in 2018." Zietlow is also the owner of Challenge4, a company based in Germany that specializes in planning and executing these record-breaking expeditions. On this episode of The Amped EV Podcast, Zietlow delves into the challenges of long-distance electric vehicle driving, like range anxiety and the need for charging infrastructure. He also touches on the unique conditions he faced in Alaska, including extremely low temperatures and the importance of his tires when it comes to winter driving. The Buzz:
    28 min. 14 sec.
  • Look behind the EV collision repair curtain

    21 AGO 2023 · Collisions happen, and even when no one is hurt, they're a pain. Working with insurance, getting your car worked on, potentially being without a car for a while... none of it is fun. With an EV, this entire process can be even more problematic. "I think [drivers] need to know that if they're involved in an accident in their EV, they need to have a whole different set of expectations around what's going to go on as it relates to repairing that vehicle and bringing it back to pre-loss condition," says Ryan Mandell, the director of claims performance at Mitchell. "We say all the time that these vehicles are not simply just an electrified version of the internal combustion engine vehicle. These are really something that are wholly different because of the complete re-engineering of all the propulsion systems and the way that power is managed, and that very significantly changes the requirements for collision repair. And we can't simply just use the same kind of labor calculations to determine the number of days it's going to take to repair." On this episode of The Amped EV Podcast, Mandell walks us through some of the latest data surrounding EV collision work, the lack of available data and standardized repair formulas for EVs, and how the economics of EVs affect repair costs. The Buzz:
    15 min. 20 sec.
  • How many more miles of EV range can your tires give you?

    7 AGO 2023 · If we're talking about electric vehicles, I'll give it about five minutes before we hit the ol' "range" topic. Typically, the conversation swings into range anxiety territory, and this makes talking about easy ways to extend the driver's range so much fun. Instead of focusing on "range anxiety," we can shift our focus to "range serenity." To this end, many drivers may be surprised at the effect their choice of tires has on their maximum expected range. The good news is that tire manufacturers have been focusing on low-rolling-resistance tires – which naturally enhance a vehicle's range – for decades now. "I did a study and I compared roughly 50 tires on the same vehicle, a very popular electric vehicle. We saw a difference in range from the best tire to the worst tire of about 14%," says Russell Shepherd, technical communications director at Michelin. "Typically, in particular with Michelin, the best range you're going to get is the tire that was originally on the vehicle. But going from there, there are offers outside of the OE fitment that can provide different balances of performances, differences in terms of longevity, differences in terms of maybe you've got a summer fitment and you want to go to an all-season or winter fitment, and those choices can impact your range because of the tires." On this episode of The Amped EV Podcast, Shepherd gets into the nitty-gritty on how much a driver's tire choice affects an EV's range, what kind of mileage drivers can expect out of EV tires, and the different high-tech ways that tire manufacturers employ to dampen road noise in the cabin. The Buzz:
    21 min. 18 sec.
  • Mining CEO explains tungsten's role in EVs

    20 LUG 2023 · EV manufacturers depend on a variety of resources to maximize the range, performance and charging capabilities of an all-electric powertrain. Among these is tungsten, a rare metal that, even in tiny doses, is essential to meet the expectations of today's electric vehicle. "In relation to EVs, you use [tungsten] in the looms. Tungsten gas is pumped into every semiconductor and you have about 2,000 semiconductors in each EV," says Lewis Black, president and CEO of Almonty Industries, a global mining company focused on tungsten mining. "In Korea, which is now at the forefront of batteries for the latest generation of batteries, you use it on the anodes and the cathodes. You use a nano-size fraction of tungsten so you can charge the battery much quicker and it doesn't combust, which, of course, is one of those things that obviously many EV owners are concerned about. So it has an increasing role within EVs as well as many other technology centers. On this episode of The Amped EV Podcast, Black explains why EV manufacturers depend on tungsten and other resources, where manufacturers source their tungsten, and where he sees the demand curve heading for this metal. The Buzz:
    19 min. 8 sec.

Electric vehicles are causing a shift in the market, so we’ve created The Amped EV Podcast to try to understand and navigate today’s ever-evolving EV automotive landscape. Host and editor...

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Electric vehicles are causing a shift in the market, so we’ve created The Amped EV Podcast to try to understand and navigate today’s ever-evolving EV automotive landscape. Host and editor of The Buzz, David Sickels, studies the latest trends and innovations surrounding EVs to keep our audience informed on where we see this market heading, as well what can be done to take advantage of its emerging opportunities.
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