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Renewable energy technology company Heliogen has raised $108 million in funding across two rounds — a first round that raised $25 million, followed by $83 million in what was described as an oversubscribed round. The new tranche of investors included steel and mining company ArcelorMittal, venture capital firm Prime Movers Lab, Canadian venture capital fund Ocgrow Ventures, Edison International, A.T. Gekko and more.

Heliogen has made headlines in the past for two main reasons. The first reason is that the company has Bill Gates as an early and vocal investor. The second, and arguably much more important reason, is that Heliogen has developed an innovative new method for capturing and converting sunlight into an ultra-high temperature heat that can exceed 1,000° Celsius. Named the Sunlight Refinery, it consists of an array of mirrors, controlled using advanced computer vision software, that are used to reflect sunlight to a single target with extreme accuracy. We gave a detailed rundown of Heliogen’s technology back in 2019, including highlighting its drawbacks.

The extremely high temperatures generated by the Sunlight Refinery system were previously only possible by using fossil fuel-powered tech. This means that industrial processes that require these high temperatures, such as mining and cement and steel production, can now effectively be carried out in a carbon neutral way. Given how large the carbon footprint currently is for cement production and for the mining industry, any technology that can help it to operate in a carbon neutral manner is a boon.

In a sign that the mining industry is keen to adopt the tech, mining giant Rio Tinto announced in March 2021 that it has established a Memorandum of Understanding with Heliogen. The memorandum details the terms under which Heliogen will deploy its technology at Rio Tinto’s borates mine in Boron, California. This pilot scheme will see Rio Tinto use Heliogen’s tech to power the mine’s industrial processes and greatly reduce the carbon emissions at the site.

The financing raised by the round will be used to accelerate the global deployment of the Sunlight Arrays and to keep making improvements to the systems efficiency. It will also be used for other pilot schemes like the one being conducted with Rio Tinto.

In a statement, Heliogen CEO and founder Bill Gross said: “This infusion of new support for Heliogen comes at a time when the paradigm shift toward clean energy is even further accelerated by the new realities the world is facing. We’re being granted the resources to do more projects that address the most carbon-intensive human activities and work toward our goals of lowering the price and emissions of energy for everyone on the planet. We thank all of our investors for enabling us to pursue our mission and offer the world technology that will allow it to achieve a post-carbon economy.”


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See & test drive your favorite EVs at Drive Electric Earth Month, all April

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See & test drive your favorite EVs at Drive Electric Earth Month, all April

It’s that time of year again, time for events across the country to show off electric vehicles at Drive Electric Earth Month.

Drive Electric Earth Month is an offshoot of Drive Electric Week, a long-running annual tradition hosting meetups mostly in the US, but also occasionally in other countries. It started as Drive Electric Earth Day, but since not every event can happen on the same day, they went ahead and extended it to encompass “Earth Month” events that happen across the month of April. It’s all organized by Plug In America, the Sierra Club, the Electric Vehicle Association, EV Hybrid Noire, and Drive Electric USA.

Events consist of general Earth Day-style community celebrations, EV Ride & Drives where you can test drive several EVs in one place, and opportunities to talk to EV owners and ask them questions about what it’s like to live with an EV, away from the pressure of a dealership.

This month, there are 180 events registered across the US and 2 in Canada (including one online webinar about things to consider when purchasing an EV). Events have already started, with a smattering happening over the last few weekends, and the bulk of them this weekend, April 20-21.

Here’s a sample of some of the still-upcoming events this month:

  • Phoenix Ride and Drive in Phoenix, AZ – Wells Fargo will be giving away an EV, along with ride & drives. April 20, 8am-12pm.
  • SpaceCoast EV Earth Day in Melbourne, FL, at the American Muscle Car Museum, the largest solar-powered auto museum in the world. Displays include a custom electric camera car for cinematography, the Bricklin 3EV prototype, and NASA’s Apollo Moon Buggy. April 20, 10am-2pm.
  • Electrify Regina in Regina, Saskatchewan, with EV and e-bike test rides and presentations on green tech like heat pumps. April 20, 10am-4:30pm.
  • PUD Energy Block Party in Everett, WA, which currently has 47 vehicles registered as attending and includes something called a “Truckstravaganza.” April 27, 11am-2pm.
  • Salem Kicks Gas in Salem, MA with a large variety of EVs on display and test drives from local dealers, along with e-bike and other battery-powered outdoor equipment displays. April 28, 1pm-4pm.

Each event has a different assortment of activities (e.g. test drives won’t be available at every event, generally just the larger ones attended by local dealerships), so be sure to check the events page to see what the plan is for your local event.

These events have offered a great way to connect with owners and see the newest electric vehicle tech, and even get a chance to do test rides and drives in person. Attendees got to hear unfiltered information from actual owners about the benefits and trials of owning EVs, allowing for longer and more genuine (and often more knowledgeable) conversations than one might normally encounter at a dealership.

And if you’re an owner – you can show off your car and answer those questions for interested onlookers.

To view all the events and see what’s happening in your area, you can check out the list of events or the events map. You can also sign up to volunteer at your local events, and if you plan to show off your electric car, you can RSVP on each event page and list the vehicle that you plan to show (or see what other vehicles have already registered).

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Kia EV5 GT leak reveals sporty electric SUV design

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Kia EV5 GT leak reveals sporty electric SUV design

A new Kia electric SUV is getting the GT treatment. Images leaking out of China are giving us our first look at the Kia EV5 GT trim.

Meet Kia’s new EV5 electric SUV

Kia officially unveiled the EV5, its new compact electric SUV, at the Chengdu Motor Show in August. Branded as a family-friendly SUV, the EV5 features Kia’s new “Opposites United ” design.

You can see several elements pulled from Kia’s larger EV9 like the redesigned “Tiger Face” grille, which replaces the signature “Tiger Nose.” It retains the EV9’s boxy, rugged look but in a smaller package.

Aimed at millennials, Kia designed the interior for more than getting from point A to point B. Kia considered it an additional “room” to live in.

It also includes Kia’s next-gen connected car Navigation Cockpit (ccNC) with dual 12.3″ display screens and a 5″ climate control display.

At 4,615 mm long, 1,875 mm wide, and 1,715 mm tall, the EV5 will rival Tesla’s top-selling Model Y (L – 4,760 mm, W – 1,921 mm, H – 1,624 mm).

Kia-EV5-GT-leak
Kia EV5 electric SUV (Source: Kia)

Kia launched the EV5 in China at around $20,000 (149,800 yuan). Powered by a 64.2 kWh BYD Blade battery pack, the base EV5 features up to 329 miles (530 km) CLTC range. The long-range, 88.1 kWh battery pack model is good for up to 447 (720 km) CLTC range.

In Australia, where the EV5 is imported, it will cost around $46,000 (70,000 AUS). An entry-level Air trim is expected to undercut the Tesla Model Y in the region, which starts at around $43,160 (65,400 AUD).

Kia-EV5-GT-leak
Kia EV5 battery options and range (Source: Kia)

Kia EV5 GT leak reveals new sporty electric SUV design

We are getting our first look at the Kia EV5 GT after leaked images from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Tech (MIIT) released official images and specs of the vehicle.

As you can see, there are not many differences on the outside. There is added black trim on the lower front bumper. However, other Kia GT vehicles also include subtle visual differences. The big difference maker is in the performance.

The EV5 GT will feature a dual motor system, with a 215 hp (160 kW) front and 98 hp (73 kW) rear electric motor, for a combined 313 hp output.

Although the final details have yet to be revealed, the EV5 GT is expected to have 0 to 60 mph capabilities in under 6.5 seconds.

Kia’s new electric SUV is not the only one getting the GT treatment. All of Kia’s new EVs, including the EV2, EV3, and EV4, are expected to gain a GT trim.

Kia's-EV2-video
Kia EV lineup from left to right: EV6, EV4, EV5, EV3, EV9 (Source: Kia)

They will join the EV6 GT, which packs 576 hp for a 0 to 60 mph sprint in 3.2 seconds. Kia put the EV6 GT up to the test against a Ferrari Roma and Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder RWD and beat both off the line.

Earlier today, we got our first glimpse of the low-cost EV2 out testing in public. The EV2 is expected to be Kia’s cheapest EV with starting prices around $15,000 (20 million Won). You can watch the video here.

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Podcast: Tesla layoffs, all-in on Robotaxi, shareholders vote, and more

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Podcast: Tesla layoffs, all-in on Robotaxi, shareholders vote, and more

On the Electrek Podcast, we discuss the most popular news in the world of sustainable transport and energy. In this week’s episode, we discuss Tesla’s massive round of layoffs, Elon Musk putting Tesla all-in on Robotaxi, important shareholders vote, and more.

The show is live every Friday at 4 p.m. ET on Electrek’s YouTube channel.

As a reminder, we’ll have an accompanying post, like this one, on the site with an embedded link to the live stream. Head to the YouTube channel to get your questions and comments in.

After the show ends at around 5 p.m. ET, the video will be archived on YouTube and the audio on all your favorite podcast apps:

We now have a Patreon if you want to help us avoid more ads and invest more in our content. We have some awesome gifts for our Patreons and more coming.

Here are a few of the articles that we will discuss during the podcast:

Here’s the live stream for today’s episode starting at 4:00 p.m. ET (or the video after 5 p.m. ET):

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