Rivian’s network of DC fast-charging stations, called the Rivian Adventure Network, is slowly but surely expanding with a new station this week. Other automakers should pay attention and possibly follow the same strategy.
Last year, Rivian revealed its charging strategy, and we applauded them for a very thorough plan to address charging from all angles. We noted that the strategy was clearly inspired by Tesla, which is a good thing since it’s hard to argue that anyone is doing fast charging better than Tesla at this point.
While most automakers producing electric vehicles rely on third-party charging network operators, Rivian decided to build its own network to augment the third-party networks.
Like Tesla, Rivian is building two networks. The first, a DC fast-charging network called the Rivian Adventure Network, is the equivalent of Tesla’s Supercharger network. The second, the Rivian Waypoint network, is a level 2 charging network similar to Tesla’s Destination chargers.
This gives Rivian more control over the charging experience, which has been a huge problem for basically every electric vehicle that is not a Tesla.
We recently reported on a study that showed abysmal uptime at every charging network except Tesla’s – mainly due to chargers being down. Besides Rivian (RIVN) CEO RJ Scaringe, none of the other automaker CEOs seem to understand the value of owning the charging network.
Rivian Adventure Network
It’s quite hard to deploy DC fast-charging stations. There are a lot of things that need to align in order to deploy a single new station. You need to find the appropriate location with high-power access, make a deal with the property owner, obtain the building permits, secure the charging equipment, find a contractor to install it, and finally have the local electric utility inspect and turn on the charger.
Rivian announced the Adventure Network with 600 locations more than a year ago, and it just recently opened its first stations in June.
A few months later, it still only has six stations in operation, with a new one opening in Barstow, California, this week.
All of the stations in operation (yellow) are in California except for one in Colorado:
Rivian is focusing on locations that enable adventures and help Rivian owners in their long-distance travels.
Rivian’s network is growing slowly, but it is growing. Ultimately, I think this strategy is going to help Rivian since convenient stations are going to help convince buyers.
The same happened with Tesla. Some buyers waited for stations that fit their habits to come online before pulling the trigger.
While it likely won’t pay off until the network grows significantly bigger, I think other automakers should already consider following in Rivian’s footsteps. Rivian is also using the Plug and Charge standard for authenticating vehicles, which should allow it to charge other vehicles to use the network seamlessly.
Interestingly, Rivian decided to make its network only for Rivian owners for now. It makes sense while it’s small to maximize the benefit for their buyers. However, like Tesla is doing, I believe Rivian is also eventually going to open it up to all EV owners. That will be easy since the network uses the CCS standard.
Rivian might open it up sooner rather than later in order to secure some government funding for EV chargers, which is only available for charging stations that are open to more than one automaker.
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H2FLY to build aviation center at Stuttgart Airport to support hydrogen electric plane testing
Zero emission powertrain developer H2FLY has announced a joint project alongside Stuttgart Airport to develop and erect a Center for Excellence in Hydrogen Aviation. Together, the aviation teams will implement a purpose-built facility at the airport specifically designed to support hydrogen electric plane testing for passenger flights.
H2FLY is a company that specializes in the development of hydrogen electric aviation technology, hoping to be one of the first to deliver a qualified propulsion system to market. We’ve recently covered news of other companies completing their maiden testing flights using hydrogen electric planes, but H2FLY’s first flight was all the way back in 2016.
The HY4 hydrogen electric plane that completed that flight is still going through testing and broke a world record in 2022 when it soared above 7,000 feet in the sky during a 77-mile journey across Germany.
With nearly a decade of experience in zero-emissions aviation, H2FLY says it is continually seeking out ways to support its partnerships and accelerate its technology in Germany and the rest of the EU. As a Stuttgart-based company, H2FLY has found support at its local airport, where it will implement a new facility for hydrogen electric plane testing, research, and development.
Stuttgart to become hub for hydrogen electric plane testing
H2FLY states that the Hydrogen Aviation Center at Stuttgart Airport will be developed and constructed as a joint project between both parties and will be supported by the government of Baden-Württemberg using funding from its Ministry of Transport.
The Center itself will provide a centrally located aviation facility where businesses and scientific institutes alike can perform development and testing of hydrogen electric propulsion with the goal of delivering zero emission passenger planes someday. Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg Winfried Kretschmann spoke:
We’ve been following our own hydrogen roadmap in Baden-Württemberg for two years. With hydrogen set to play a crucial role in tomorrow’s transport and logistics sector, one of our aims is to establish ourselves as a leading region in the transformation of aviation. To achieve this, we need concrete actions – such as the new Center of Excellence for Hydrogen in Aviation at Stuttgart Airport which is being co-financed by the government of Baden-Württemberg to the tune of €5.5 million. Aircraft such as those being developed here point the way to the future of emission-free flight. This project will enable our region to become not just a center of R&D for hydrogen aircraft, but eventually also a manufacturing center, and demonstrate how we are countering climate change with a spirit of innovation.
This footprint in Stuttgart will eventually consist of a dedicated hangar with testing stands, workshops, plus an integration area for hydrogen electric plane conversions or installations. The joint project is also planning an outdoor area for demonstrations.
H2FLY states the testing infrastructure will require mega-watt scale components and subsystems as well as close collaboration with the airport, commercial companies, and scientific institutes. Looking ahead the next few years, H2FLY expects hydrogen electric planes to be able to transport 40 passengers distances of up to 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles), but there is still plenty of testing that will need to take place.
The Hydrogen Aviation Center is expected to open in late 2024 and is expected to become the hub for hydrogen electric plane testing and development and H2FLY welcomes all interested organizations to utilize the facilities.
Genesis X electric sedan concept will enter production as flagship EV – report
Genesis gave us a glimpse into what the brand’s future will behold by revealing the X Convertible EV concept at last year’s LA Auto Show. According to new reports, the luxury electric sedan will go into production as Genesis’s new flagship EV.
After an overwhelmingly positive response to its Genesis X Speedium Coupe Concept EV revealed last April, the automaker completed its concept trilogy by revealing the X Convertible Concept in November.
The X Convertible takes the best features from its first two Concept vehicles, the X (a two-door grand tourer that highlights Genesis athletic design) and the X Speedium (a more progressive representation of the brand’s elegance), materializing it into one.
One of the most distinct features you see when looking at the luxury EV sedan is the front headlight bars that replace the iconic Genesis front grille. Genesis says the look integrates the new EV face and forms an abstract of the Crest Grille.
At the time of its release, executive vice president and chief creative officer Luc Donckerwolke told reports:
At the moment we’re showing the search for an icon for the brand, and this is one of the possibilities.
The company may have found its icon, as a new report from Automotive News suggests the X Convertible concept is headed to production as the brand’s flagship EV.
Genesis X Convertible EV to enter production
According to Peter Lanzavechia, chairman of the Genesis National Dealer Advisory Council, at Genesis’s annual meeting, Donckerwolke told dealers the X convertible Concept would go into production.
When he said that at the dealer meeting — to say it in front of a couple of hundred Genesis dealers — that’s a pretty good sign.
Genesis dealers are requesting an electric performance GT coupe, according to Lanzavechia, as he adds:
I guarantee we’re going see a lot of Bentley Continental convertible trade-ins on that when it comes to our showrooms.
Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury brand, has already released two electric vehicles. Its first, the electrified G80, is a luxury electric sedan adapted from its gas-powered G80. And The Genesis GV60, its first dedicated EV – based on Hyundai’s E-GMP platform – that buyers began receiving in May 2022.
If the Genesis X Convertible concept does enter production, Lanzavechia said, “It would be a true halo flagship for the brand.”
Genesis plans to become an all-electric brand, halting ICE car development in 2025 and selling only electric models from 2030. What do you guys think? Do you want to see the X Convertible go into production?
TravelCenters (TA) to deploy 1,000 Electrify America DC fast chargers at 200 locations across major highways
The largest publicly traded full-service truck stop and travel center, TravelCenters of America (TA), is teaming up with Electrify America to deploy DC fast chargers along major highways to meet the growing number of electric vehicles on the road.
People are buying electric vehicles at a record pace as interest in zero-emission EVs has never been higher.
New EV sales volume reached over 800,000 for the first time last year, an increase of 65% compared to 2021, according to Kelley Blue Book.
More electric vehicles on the road mean additional charging infrastructure is needed to accommodate the surge. Although over 80% of charging is done at home, expanding the number of available public chargers can give EV drivers confidence on long trips or on the highway.
Electrify America currently operates one of the largest DC fast-charger networks across the US, with 3,435 fast chargers across 791 stations, according to their website.
Unlike many publicly available EV chargers, EA offers some of the fastest charging speeds. EA’s Ultra-Fast 150 kW and Hyper-Fast 350 kW options make them suitable for public deployment, especially along major highways.
TravelCenters teams up with Electrify America
In a significant partnership, TravelCenters is teaming up with Electrify America to offer EV charging at select TA/Petro locations.
The first stations are expected to roll out this year with a goal of deploying around 1,000 individual EV chargers at 200 locations along major highways over the next five years.
President and CEO of Electrify America praised the company’s new partnership, saying:
Electrify America is pleased to collaborate with an industry leader like TravelCenters of America to provide the critical infrastructure needed for EV drivers of today and tomorrow. Our combined strengths allow us to take bigger steps toward our shared vision of a more sustainable future.
Electrify America will handle the infrastructure deployment process and maintenance. Meanwhile, TravelCenters will gain access to the company’s charging network, allowing the locations to become visible to EV drivers to access via its mobile app.
In addition, the company says the network of charging stations will be available for most EV models.
The partnership is a win all around. Electrify America continues expanding its network with one of the most prominent truck stops and travel centers. TravelCenters will see additional traffic as more and more drivers switch to zero-emissions EVs over the coming years.
And perhaps, most importantly, EV drivers will have more fast charging options along major highways.
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