LVNG, a German state-owned railway company, which had commercially rolled out 14 hydrogen trains (Alstom Coradia iLint trains) since 2022, has decided, it will replace all future diesel trains with battery electric trains, instead of hydrogen. 102 new battery electric trains are pencilled in to be introduced by 2029. This stems from LVNG encountering numerous problems/failures from the hydrogen trains, ranging from defects which required retrofitting new hardware and software alongside driver shortages, which resulted in no time to educate the drivers on running hydrogen trains. This led to severe disruption and resulted in the German transport authority providing free travel for 2 months to compensate fed-up passengers. Although this is a step back from adopting hydrogen trains, we believe that hydrogen-powered transport will play a critical role in achieving net zero by 2050.
According to the China Passenger Car Association, for the time ever, China has surpassed Japan by exporting 2.34m vehicles in H1 23, compared to Japan exporting 2.02m vehicles. China attributes much of this achievement to its Chinese EV OEMs, as they have been pushing hard to enter Western markets, to varying levels of success. For example, Xpeng and Nio have been/are targeting Europe, BYD is virtually in every major market and Zeekr has announced plans to expand in Western Europe and Central Asia. Interestingly, the China Passenger Car Association, also remarked that Chinese EV brands will need to improve their EV technology offerings, in order to meet European standards. The next step for Chinese EV OEMs will be to localise, improve and adapt their product offerings to new (European) markets.
Germany has raised its carbon price from €30 to €40 per tonne in 2024 and to €50 per tonne in 2025, for its housing and transportation sectors. The carbon price was meant to increase to €35 this year, however, the Russia/Ukraine conflict which resulted in the energy crisis, led to the postponement as the government wanted to shield households from higher energy costs.
In Q2 23, more than 30,500 second-hand EVs in the UK were sold, which is an increase of 81.8% compared to Q2 22. Although this is a headline-grabbing statement, in reality, second-hand EV sales accounted for just 1.7% of all the total second-hand market sales. This illustrates the scale of adjustment needed by the UK's vehicle fleet before the ban on new ICE vehicles in 2030 comes into effect. Creating a buoyant second-hand EV market is critical, as it increases the ramp-up and affordability of EVs. The UK is starting to create a second-hand market however it is doing so slowly, as concerns over residual values and resilience of the charging network & power grid, still exist.
Proterra, an American-based EV OEM and energy storage company, has filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11. By voluntarily declaring bankruptcy, Proterra is protected from creditors, whilst it explores avenues of repayment. The firm will continue operating as normal by using existing money to fund its business operations. Bear in mind, the company posted a net loss of $244m in Q1 23 (vs $50m in Q1 22), even though the company delivered 42 new buses and 243 battery systems. The company has stated that issues such as supply chain disruption, the increasing cost of capital and slow demand have led to its bankruptcy. It is important to note that this company had been championed and promoted by President Biden and USA States Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, who even held a number of shares. This mirrored President Obama championing Solyndra (solar panel maker), in 2009, which eventually went bust in 2011. We believe the Proterra IP, and expertise is very valuable and with the right (new) leadership and/or new capital, it is well-positioned to take advantage of the IRA funding, which included significant incentives to convert diesel buses to electric buses.
EVE Energy, a Chinese-based global lithium battery manufacturer, has opened a manufacturing facility in Malaysia with an initial investment of $422m. This is EVE’s 53rd factory and this one will focus on the production of cylindrical lithium-ion batteries to support power tools and electric two-wheelers. This is a significant endorsement of the country, and it will help flesh out Malaysia’s EV value chain. The national government is hoping this will foster an environment of innovation and technological advancement, which will spur more (EV) manufacturing investment in the country.
The battery electric bus partnership between BYD and Alexander Dennis announced it has delivered its 1,500th (Enviro200EV) bus to Go-Ahead. The bus operator and BYD-Alexander Dennis have a close relationship, as BYD-Alexander Dennis buses account for just less than 25% (c600) of Go-Ahead’s entire bus fleet, as acceptance by drivers, engineers and passengers has been high. Interestingly, TfL announced London crossed 1,000th zero-emission buses, with the 1000th delivery being a Wrightbus StreetDeck Electroliner for Metroline (that will be used on route 204). Although London has the largest zero-emission bus fleet in Western Europe, industry experts have been vocal in urging the govt to bring forward the date, for an entirely zero-emission bus network, from 2034 to 2030.
Based on local stakeholder feedback Marubeni Europower and Hyppo Hydrogen Solutions have agreed to carry on collaborating and have extended their transport services to deliver ZEVs to Bridgend (Wales). Currently deployed is a green hydrogen-powered car that takes Bridgend Community Transport customers to doctor appointments and the hospital. Alongside a hydrogen fuel cell bus taking customers between Bridgend train station and the Royal Porthcawl golf club during the Senior Open golf tournament. This announcement further illustrates Marubeni’s commitment to the area, as it already has a green hydrogen production and refuelling facility at Brynmenyn Industrial Estate.
Ampcontrol, a NY-based AI-powered software solution for fleets startup, has raised $10m in a Series A led by The Westly Group. The capital will be used to enhance its software offering and further expand its geographical reach. One of its customers, Revel, saves +45% on its monthly energy costs by using the start-up's AI-powered software. The company also states to have the best-in-class uptime of 99.995%, which makes it the most reliable software system in the market for EV fleet charging.