Electric Avenue: Our latest cross-country roundup of notable and innovative EV updates, new year’s edition!

Electric Avenue: Our latest cross-country roundup of notable and innovative EV updates, new year’s edition!

By now it should be taken as a given that EVs are here to stay. Innovative developments seem to manifest almost daily and there’s no shortage of pioneering concepts encompassing everything from energy storage to chargers to design making the rounds as the “next best thing.”One of these rolled out December 4 as Vancouver Fire Rescue Services unveiled a Canadian first: An electric fire engine. This concept is an agile, responsive, safe and climate-friendly emergency response vehicle with health benefits for frontline firefighters.

The Rosenbauer RTX Pumper Truck is now operating out of Firehall No. 1 in Strathcona and supports the city’s by replacing old vehicles with EVs.

“This state-of-the-art electric fire engine represents an important milestone in our efforts to reduce carbon emissions from our fleet,” said Ken Sim, Mayor of Vancouver. “We are extremely proud to be the first in Canada to deploy an electric fire engine and lead the way with this exciting addition to Vancouver’s firefighting fleet.”

From fleet to street, California-based climate tech company ElectricFish builds distributed energy storage solutions powered by software while supporting energy resilience in local communities, all with 100 per cent renewable energy.

CEO Anurag Kamal says that some of their most recent developments represent a significant leap forward in energy storage capabilities. “We’ve recently pioneered a groundbreaking energy optimization patent that enables us to extract maximum value from stored energy, ensuring that every watt counts and we are never out of energy.

“I believe the industry will see significant growth and a transformational shift towards heavy-duty electric vehicles, and extremely fast charging sessions from traditional level 2 charging. I also expect regulatory support to grow in certain states for the deployment of decentralized energy storage,” says Kamal.

 Show me the money!

EV drivers can now make cashless payments at Alimentation Couche-Tard-owned EV charging stations thanks to a joint venture with Montreal-based payment tech company Nuvei Corp., and Nayax, a global payment solutions provider.

In a similar vein to streamlining the charging experience, the Visa Acceptance Solutions division has with Sheeva.AI, an in-vehicle payments solutions provider, to introduce a new tokenization platform for secure in-vehicle transactions for various services including EV charging.

Both solutions aim to create a simpler and more seamless payment process to improve user experiences and the efficiency of public charging infrastructure.

Integrated Automotive Experience

Moving even further east, Nova Scotian EV maven Jérémie Bernardin has embarked on a new venture at Integrated Automotive Experience (IAE), a marketing agency specializing in the automotive sector. Bernardin now leads the development of EV training tailored for industry professionals.

IAE has launched a comprehensive EV training program, leveraging Bernardin’s curated content.

Aimed at arming employees with information to answer hard questions, this self-paced, three-hour program covers topics including:

  • How much range do you lose in winter?
  • What tips and tricks exist to maximize range, especially in winter?
  • Can you recycle EV batteries?
  • Are EVs environmentally-friendly when considering mining required for their batteries?
  • What if the electricity is from coal?
  • Are they still a better environmental choice?

By providing these insights, the program empowers employees to address complex inquiries confidently. For more information, write to Jeremie.bernardin@integratedauto.com

Industry launches Agora to drive electric vehicle adoption through EV roaming

Two major Canadian charging networks – The Electric Circuit and BC Hydro – and ChargeHub, a leader in EV roaming solutions, announce the launch of Agora. This industry initiative, aims to accelerate the adoption of EVs through EV roaming. While still in its embryonic stages, Agora’s main goal is to create awareness and provide education that in Canada, it is possible for EV drivers and commercial fleet managers to use a single account to connect on multiple charging networks.

EV roaming is a pillar of the electrification of transportation by allowing access to a maximum number of public charging stations, while enabling EV drivers to use their preferred method of activation and payment. To this end, Agora is proposing a bilingual pan-Canadian campaign to promote awareness of the subject not only among the general public, but also among fleet managers and industry players.

Agora offers several features:

A website to answer key questions about EV roaming

A tool to find charging networks compatible with the most important mobility services in Canada and the United States

Statistics on the state of interoperability in Canada, as well as dedicated resources for the industry

“Zero-emission vehicles are helping Canadians to reduce emissions and save money on fuel while creating good jobs throughout the supply chain. Investing in zero-emission vehicles will put more Canadians in the driver’s seat on the road to a net-zero future and help achieve our climate goals,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Canada.

Freewire offers charging solutions

Finally, EV charging and energy solutions provider FreeWire has rapidly and recently expanded its international presence. The company has sold into 10 countries and plans continued expansion in Canada and beyond in 2024, says Senior Communications Manager Sara Dodrill.

Earlier this year Freewire launched Mobilyze Pro, an AI-enabled platform designed to provide accurate predictions to expand nationwide EV charging infrastructure. The platform is designed to help site hosts meet growing demand for charging infrastructure by providing accurate utilization and profitability forecasts. These tools provide owners of charging infrastructure the resources to compare site locations and hardware solutions, thereby providing confidence in the business case for EV charging and overcoming a key hurdle to accelerate deployment and access for drivers.

“Power limitations will continue to be a hurdle as EV charging infrastructure proliferates over the next decade,” says Dodrill. “FreeWire offers a technological solution for site hosts by pairing energy storage with ultrafast charging. We believe the need for these next-generation solutions will grow, as will their functionality. Energy storage can be leveraged to provide backup power for sites, alleviate utility bills, and strengthen the electrical grid. These multifunctional assets could not only deliver charging but also provide additional economic benefits and transform our infrastructure into the future.”

Carter Hammett is a Toronto-based writer, editor and social worker. He can be reached at iwriteandedit@yahoo.com.

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