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The Chevy Silverado finally goes electric

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The Chevy Silverado finally goes electric

General Motors just pulled the sheet off the Chevrolet Silverado EV. It has a range of 400 miles, up to 664 horsepower, and a starting price of $39,900 for a basic work truck edition. The fully loaded, four-wheel steering RST First Edition costs $105,000. Both will hit production lines in 2023. Can’t wait? Get in line for the slightly more expensive GMC Hummer EV; it’s nearly the same vehicle.

Today, General Motors CEO Mary Barra unveiled the vehicle at a CES 2022 virtual keynote address. Along with announcing Chevy’s answer to the Ford F-150 Lightning, the company also announced several other mass-market electric vehicles and plans to sell personal autonomous vehicles by the middle of the decade.

The Silverado EV is the third electric truck announced by General Motors, following the Hummer EV and the Sierra Denali. Little is known about the Denali — GM teased it just last month — but it appears the Silverado shares the majority of its parts with the impressive Hummer EV. Don’t mistake the Silverado EV as an afterthought. The Silverado EV is the most important of the bunch. The Chevy Silverado has long been the main competitor with the top-selling Ford F-150 pickup.

Two versions of the Silverado EV 2024 Silverado EV WT will be available at launch: the Work Truck (WT) edition for $39,900 and a fully-spec’d RST First Edition for $105,000. Both come with an estimated range of 400 miles. Eventually, more trims will hit price-points between $50,000 and $80,000.

The Silverado RST First Edition features a bevy of technology enhancements. It shares the same four-wheel steering and adaptable air-ride as the Hummer EV. A massive 17-inch LCD screen sits in the center, while the driver gets an 11-inch screen and a huge HUD. This edition also has Chevy’s Advanced Trailering System.

GM released less information about the $39,900 Work Truck edition. It will sport less power with 510 HP and 615 lb-ft of torque instead of the 664 HP and 780 lb-ft of torque found in the RST model. In addition, it features a towing capacity of 8,000 pounds, down from 10,000 pounds. The interior is likely to be radically different, as well, and will feature a dashboard without the huge LCDs found in the $105,000 RST model.

The RST edition also has a larger storage capacity thanks to a removable panel between the cab and the bed. It also has a larger center console and a fixed-glass roof.

Both the WT and RST edition feature public DC fast charging capabilities (350 kW), gaining 100 miles of range in 10 minutes. Like the Ford Lightning, the Silverado EV can act as a 110v generator, but the Chevy has a maximum output of 10.2 kW, up from Ford’s 9.6 kW.

There’s history between Chevy and Ford. The two automakers have long chased each other’s developments, and Ford beat Chevy by months when it announced the Ford F-150 Lightning in May 2021. Since then, Ford was overwhelmed with reservations and announced earlier this week it was doubling production to hit 150,000 vehicles a year by mid-2023.

General Motors said today it intends to start producing the $39,900 Chevy Silverado Work Truck in spring 2023. In addition, the RST First Edition is slated for production starting in fall 2023. Eventually, Chevy expects to bring more trim levels to marketing, including an off-road themed Trail Boss edition, which was previewed today.

The Ford F-150 Lightning and Chevrolet Silverado EV are fundamentally different vehicles for the first time. The two automakers took different approaches. The Ford F-150 Lightning is built on a traditional body-on-frame platform. This is the same arrangement that’s used in today’s Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado, and the rest of the pickup market. General Motors instead opted for a unibody affair that merges the body and frame into one piece. This is the same construction used on the Tesla Cybertruck too. This arrangement often results in a more rigid structure, but often at the expense of towing and cargo capacities.

The electric truck market is quickly expanding, and the Silverado is scheduled to hit the market later than some competitors. Production is underway for the Silverado’s cousin, the Hummer EV, and some customers are taking delivery of their pickups. The same is happening at Rivian, with the startup spinning up its first pickup, the R1T. Some customers received their pre-ordered truck in December 2021.

The Tesla Cybertruck is a large unknown looming on the horizon. Elon Musk announced the wild pickup in November 2019, and has yet to reveal many other details. The estimated production timeline was removed from Tesla’s website. The market largely agrees the Cybertruck is still in the works, but the timing is unknown.

General Motors’ EV approach is opening up. The company started with the Chevy Volt back during the dark days of the 2008 auto bailout. Next, it produced its first mass-market EV in the Chevy Bolt in 2017. Then, on March 4, 2020, in the weeks before COVID, General Motors’ CEO Mary Barra announced Ultium, its next-generation EV platform. Since then, despite a chip shortage and global pandemic, the company announced the Hummer EV, GMC Sierra Denali, the Cadillac Lyriq, Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Blazer EV, and the Chevrolet Equinox.

Source: Tech

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Clean energy firm Husk signs UN energy compact as it begins solar mini-grid expansion in Nigeria, rest of Africa

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Husk Power Systems, a clean energy company that has been at the forefront of fueling rural electrification since 2008, is planning to launch 500 solar mini-grids in Nigeria over the next five years.

The renewable energy firm revealed the plans today when it announced the signing of a voluntary commitment with the United Nations to grow its energy market in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The commitment is contained under the 24/7 Carbon-free Energy Compact, by leading energy buyers, suppliers, equipment manufacturers and governments. The compact represents a global effort to accelerate the uptake of carbon-free electricity as a way of averting the perilous effects of climate change.

The startup currently has operations in Nigeria, Tanzania and India (Uttar Pradesh and Bihar), where it has the ambitious goal of installing at least 5,000 mini-grids by 2030 and in the process make 1 million connections – half of which will be micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. Husk launched its first six mini-grids in Nigeria November last year, and it’s looking to have 100 mini-grids operational in the country within two years.

“Husk is committed to powering households, but our focus is first and foremost on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and public institutions like health clinics and schools. MSMEs are the engine of economies in Africa, and powering existing small businesses and encouraging the formation of new MSMEs helps create the type of economic growth and social benefit that carries over to households by creating more opportunity and more jobs,” the company’s CEO and co-founder Manoj Sinha, told TechCrunch.

The renewable energy firm is planning to launch 500 mini-grids in Nigeria in a period of five years, and is eyeing the rest of Africa for expansion. Image Credits: Husk Power Systems

The firm is now exploring growth opportunities in the western, southern and eastern regions of Africa, while prioritizing the countries that have a “supportive regulatory environment” like its current markets. In Nigeria, for example, mini-grid operators are “largely free of permit requirements for either standalone off-grid mini-grids or interconnected mini-grids.”

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission Mini-Grid Regulation (2016) stipulates the transfer of assets and financial compensation for mini-grid operators in cases where the national grid finally connects the regions where private mini-grids are operational.

Husk is one of the companies participating in the Nigeria Electrification Project, which provides performance-based grants, a sort of capital subsidy, to mini-grid developers — part of the national effort to solve the country’s chronic power supply issues.

“In terms of policy frameworks and regulation, the states where Husk works in India (Uttar Pradesh and Bihar) have supportive policies. And the Nigerian mini-grid policy is actually based on those policies, with additional improvements. As a result, Nigeria is seen to have the most conducive policy in sub-Saharan Africa at the moment, which also includes their Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP), a program administered by the Rural Electrification Agency and funded by the World Bank to provide a capital subsidy to mini-grid developers and accelerate market development,” said Sinha.

The company plans to have additional technological and business model innovations, and the use of AI and IoT to remotely manage its fleet. Image Credits: Husk Power Systems

Nigeria and India are the company’s biggest markets at the moment. A supportive environment encourages investments from private players like Husk, and bridges the energy needs of households and small businesses, especially in rural areas.

Potential markets for Husk include Kenya, which at the start of this month, recognized mini-grid power systems granting them 50% tax allowance and other tax incentives enjoyed by large-scale generators.

“We welcome the Energy Compact commitments made by Husk Power and appreciate their leadership. It showcases the business opportunity presented by the global energy transition, and how private enterprises can drive accelerated action on ending energy poverty, expand renewable energy solutions for consumptive and productive load, and improve the adoption of energy efficiency solutions by end consumers,” said UN Energy programme manager, Kanika Chawla.

According to the World Bank, mini-grids have the potential to provide half a billion people with clean energy by the end of this decade (including those using overburdened grids) with the right policies in place. They also provide cleaner and cheaper alternatives of energy, which could transform the lives of millions of people living in darkness.

Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 75% of the world’s population with no access to renewable energy solutions and electricity. Countries like South Sudan, Burundi, Chad, Malawi, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Tanzania are among some of the least electrified countries in the world, and could benefit from clean energy from solar or wind.

“For off-grid communities, where diesel generation is the default source of electricity, the savings to our customers are significant. Businesses can expect about a 30% reduction in their monthly energy costs by switching from diesel to solar mini-grid electricity,” said Sinha.

Husk has to date raised $40 million from investors, including the Shell energy company and the Dutch Development bank FMO. The startup, which also provides financing for household and commercial appliances, was recognized last year by the 2021 Renewables Global Status Report as the only mini-grid developer with over 100 community sites in operation.

Source: Tech

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Baidu’s electric car brand Jidu closes $400M Series A round

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Once an industry with long development cycles, the automotive space is being upended by China’s tech giants. One can hardly keep up with all the new electric vehicle brands that come out of the country nowadays. Jidu, an electric carmaking company founded by Baidu and its Chinese auto partner Geely only a year ago, said Wednesday it has banked nearly $400 million in a Series A funding round.

The new injection, bankrolled by Baidu and Geely, which owns Volvo, is a boost to the $300 million initiation capital that Jidu closed last March. The proceeds will speed up Jidu’s R&D and mass production process and allow it to showcase its first concept “robocar” — which it classifies as an automotive robot rather than a car — at the Beijing auto show in April. The mass-produced version of the robocar will launch in 2023.

Jidu’s chief executive Xia Yiping previously headed the connected car unit of Fiat Chrysler in the APAC region and co-founded Mobike, the Chinese bike-sharing pioneer acquired by Meituan in 2018.

The rate at which Jidu has moved forward is remarkable but could easily attract skeptics who question its tech’s viability. The speedy cycle, the carmaker explained, is thanks to its strategy of using a simulated prototype car to develop its smart cockpit and autonomous driving systems, rather than testing individual hardware parts in a mass-produced vehicle.

The carmaker said in as short as nine months, it has “tested and proven” the safety and reliability of its Level 4 (autonomous driving without human interaction in most circumstances) capabilities for urban and highway roads.

The EV startup is also putting a big emphasis on branding and fan community, something its competitor Nio is known for. In December, it started recruiting car lovers to join its “Jidu Union” to geek out about cars at online and offline events.

Moving forward, Jidu will be hiring and training talent specializing in autonomous driving, smart cockpits, smart manufacturing and other related technologies.

Source: Tech

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Resilience raises $45 million for its cancer care startup

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French startup Resilience announced yesterday that it has raised a $45 million (€40 million) Series A round led by Cathay Innovation. The startup wants to improve the treatment journey when you’re diagnosed with cancer so that you live a healthier and longer life.

In addition to Cathay Innovation, existing investor Singular is also participating. Other funds are joining the round, such as Exor Seeds, Picus Capital and Seaya Ventures. Finally some healthcare investors are rounding up the round — Fondation Santé Service, MACSF, Ramsay Santé and Vivalto Ventures.

I already profiled Resilience in March 2021 so I encourage you to read my previous article to learn more about the company. Co-founded by two serial entrepreneurs, Céline Lazorthes and Jonathan Benhamou, the company wants to help both patients and caregivers when it comes to cancer care.

On the patient side, Resilience helps you measure, understand and deal with the effects and side effects of cancer and cancer treatments. Users can track various data points in the app and find content and information about their illness.

But Resilience isn’t just an app that you use at home. It is also a software-as-a-service solution for hospitals so that they can better personalize their treatments. Resilience has been founded in partnership with Gustave Roussy, one of the leading cancer research institutes in the world.

Practitioners will be able to take advantage of all the data that patients have gathered from the app. This way, cancer treatment facilities understand the patient better and can adapt their care more quickly. Resilience has acquired Betterise to gain a head start when it comes to data-driven cancer care.

The long-term vision is even more ambitious than that. If you talk with a caregiver working for a cancer treatment facility, they’ll tell you they never have enough time.

And it’s even more difficult to keep track of new treatments that are becoming more and more specialized. Resilience doesn’t want to replace doctors. But it wants to help them overcome blindspots.

The result should be better care for patients, as well as more support through the Resilience app. Cancer care is a long and painful process, so anything that can improve this process is a good thing.

Source: Tech

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