* Last week…
Electric truck and SUV startup Rivian filed a patent application for fast-charging electric vehicle batteries at different voltages using a switch mechanism. The technology could reduce the cost of electric vehicles and make high-speed charging systems easier to use.
The patent describes a configurable battery that when used in an electric vehicle can accept charging voltages of either 450 or 900 volts and use less expensive components. The system can manage a potential fault in a battery module without disconnecting the load, making it more reliable.
Rivian, based in Plymouth, Mich., is raising funds to complete development and launch production of the all-electric R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV it unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.
Both are billed as adventure vehicles that can easily navigate rugged terrain and would compete directly with Ford vehicles including the F-150, Ranger pickup truck and upcoming Bronco SUV. Deliveries of the five-passenger R1T pickup and seven-passenger R1S SUV are expected to start in late 2020, according to Rivian. The vehicles will deliver up to 400-plus miles of range and have off-road capability, the company says.
Earlier this year the company raised $700 million in a financing round let by Amazon. In April, Ford Motor Co. invested $500 million in Rivian, saying it will use the company’s “skateboard” platform to develop a new electric vehicle.
Rivian’s manufacturing plant is in Normal.
* Also last week…
A proposed hike in Illinois’ annual registration fee for electric vehicles, from $17.50 to $1,000, is being called unfair by current EV owners, and a sales disincentive by manufacturers — just as the new technology is beginning to gain broader traction. […]
Tesla said it opposes the Illinois fee increase. Electric truck startup Rivian, which is slated to begin production at its factory in downstate Normal next year, was more outspoken.
“Imposing fees on EVs that are over 400 percent more than their gasoline-powered counterparts is not only unfair, it discourages promising new technology that will reduce our dependence on petroleum, reduce emissions, and promote the Illinois economy,” Rivian spokesman Michael McHale said.
Electric vehicles represented just 2 percent of total American auto sales last year. Only about 15,000 are registered in the state. The sponsor needs to take a breath.