One theme emerges when you look around the electrification and autonomous truck space. Virtually no one does it alone.
Don’t go alone
“Oh, I can manage with a little help from my friends. Mm, I’ll try with a little help from my friends.” – The Beatles
No man is an island. Even a startup does not strive for electrification or autonomy. Sometimes it’s a partnership. Sometimes it involves licensing or reselling someone else’s activation product. Pretty much everyone does it.
A recent example comes from Nikola. After the startup lamented its third-quarter results for not being able to provide charging infrastructure for burgeoning battery-electric truck sales, the startup signed a deal with ChargePoint to resell its services to customers.
“This partnership enhances our ability to provide a customer-focused charging solution at the right time, place, and price,” said Pablo Koziner, Nikola President of Commercial, in a Nov. 8 press release.
Nikola customers get access to the full suite of advanced ChargePoint software, including charge management, range forecasting, and optimized delivery route and schedule planning. Nikola focuses on building trucks.
It still rents and sells Tritium mobile chargers for those who want them. But connecting to an existing network is a better long-term solution, saving Nikola from investing its shrinking and precious funds it needs to get its fuel cell trucks ready for sale in late 2023.
The Workhorse Group found itself in an untenable position as a manufacturer of electric delivery trucks. It had nothing to produce. The C-Series vans had design laws that forced a recall for structural changes. These fixes surfaced more concerns. The few C-Series vans that exist may never be sold.
The company approached Canada’s GreenPower Motor Co. to complete and sell a version of its medium-duty Class 4 vehicle.
Workhorse ramps up production and delivery of custom W4 chassis for the remainder of the year. It built and sold 10 of the vehicles during the third quarter and 13 more so far this quarter and is on track to pilot production of its W750 Step Van before the end of the year.
The first of the W750s will join a FedEx ground delivery route purchased by Workhorse in the greater Cincinnati area. The entire 10-truck fleet will be electric by the end of the second quarter of 2023.
We build it for you
Lordstown Motors, which is being quickly acquired by Foxconn of Taiwan, is looking for help in other ways. In addition to selling up to 18.3% of its common stock to Foxconn — if the U.S. Foreign Investment Committee approves — the company is offering its near-completed endurance electric pickup truck to “one or two” other truck makers.
Non-established players like Ford, the Ram division of Sellantis or General Motors – who sold their early stake in Lordstown Motors last year. Some of the smaller companies unable to develop their own models are obvious targets for Lordstown.
“As one of the few full-size, all-electric pickups on the market, the Endurance offers other OEMs an opportunity to enter the market quickly and at a relatively low cost,” said Edward Hightowner, Lordstown’s President and CEO, on the company’s third-quarter earnings call on November 8th.
The range is consistent with Foxconn’s desire to commission EVs for other companies. It secured contract manufacture of the Endurance as part of a $230 million purchase of the 6.2 million square foot former GM Lordstown plant. The factory is now called Foxconn EV Technology.
More than changing tires
Autonomous vehicle developer Aurora Innovation is open about handing over the maintenance of its high-tech trucks to Ryder System.
“I know we’ve said this before, but we want to focus on what we’re good at and let others do what they’re great at,” an Aurora spokeswoman told me in an email, in who suggested outsourcing maintenance to Ryder. “Paccar and Volvo make the trucks – FedEx, Werner and Schneider book the autonomous transport to serve their customers – Ryder takes care of the maintenance.”
Ryder engineers are onboarded at Aurora’s Palmer, Texas terminal to support pilot operations and prepare for large-scale commercial operations. Higher utilization then kicks in, meaning more frequent preventive maintenance and immediate access to repairs for autonomous trucks.
“It’s a critical next step toward our vision to build the key service elements that will support the safe deployment of autonomous trucks in the United States,” said Karen Jones, Ryder’s executive vice president, chief marketing officer and head of new product development .
Ryder works with several autonomous startups including TuSimple, Waymo Via, Embark Trucks and Gatik.
The best of the rest…
New autonomy leadership at Daimler Truck
Johanna Buttler is the new head of Daimler Trucks Global Autonomous Technology Group. She will oversee the company’s global autonomous technology strategy, including vehicle programs, global go-to-market and partnerships, including partnerships with Waymo and Torc roboticsmajority independent subsidiary of Daimler,
She succeeds Peter Vaughan Schmidtwho became CEO of Torc earlier this year.
Could 100 Tesla Semis be produced this year?
Tesla wants to build 100 battery-electric ones Half trucks this year, according to testimonies from reported The Wall Street Journal in CEO Elon Musk’s compensation process. Five years after the Semi was unveiled, the first deliveries are scheduled for next Thursday at a Pepsi Fried-Lay Plant in Modesto, California.
First of up to 800 eCascadias delivered to Sysco
Daimler Truck North America delivered the first of the largest known orders for Class 8 battery electric trucks — up to 800 — to Sysco in California. The remainder is due by 2026. By 2030, Sysco plans to add almost 2,500 electric trucks to its US fleet.
Volvo Group Receives $10M in South Bronx Electrification Project
Volvo Trucks North America will deploy eight Volvo VNR Electric Trucks to two Bronx-based community groups as part of the New York Clean Transportation Prizes program. siblings Mack trucks a garbage truck from LR Electric will be added. Volvo Group North America won the Clean Neighborhoods award in New York State Energy Research and Development Agency Program.
It will lead a project to bring clean commercial transportation to Hunts Point in the South Bronx, home to the nation’s largest wholesale grocery center, nine waste handling facilities, several major recycling yards and a wastewater treatment plant. Hunts Point’s nearly 13,000 residents are located in the southern portion of the nation’s poorest urban congressional district.
Kurtt replaces the outgoing Koziner at Nikola
Pablo Kosiner leaves Nicola to be replaced in December by Bruce Kurt as Senior Vice President of Sales and Commercial Operations. Koziner was President of Commercial Activities after serving as President of Energy Division.
insider monkey reports that short sellers hold almost 31% of Nikola shares and are betting that they will continue to fall in price.
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