Weg starts production of battery system for electric car, and strengthens charger business

Willing to be the protagonist of electric mobility in the country, especially in the supply of components and chargers, the Brazilian multinational Weg started this year the production of packs of batteries.

The first vehicles to receive the equipment are ten electric buses that will circulate through the city of Sorocaba (SP). The group also manufactures electric motors and chargers.

THE pack involves various battery modules, lithium-ion cells and cooling tubes, among other items. The national production is unprecedented, says Manfred Peter Johann, superintendent director of Weg Automação. Initially they will only be for trucks, buses and boats.

For automobiles, the company intends to meet demands when there is local production of passenger vehicles. According to Johann, the cells are imported because they are not manufactured locally, but several other items are national.

Weg already supplies the power train (power train made up of an engine and electronic drive) for the Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus e-Delivey truck (VWCO) and for Marcopolo buses.

It will also be the supplier of this type of propulsion for nautical vessels, in a project in partnership with the startup Espadarte Group, specialized in technologies and solutions for boats.

The first boat, called Hybdor, will use a plug-in hybrid system and its production will begin in January 2023 at Espadarte’s plant in Paraná.

Another aspect of Weg’s operations linked to electric mobility is residential, semi-public (for shopping malls and parking lots) and public (highways and gas stations) electric chargers.

“In addition to developing charging stations, we created an entire software ecosystem as an application for users to show where the charging stations are, which ones are free to use and the possibility of scheduling a recharge”, says Johaan.

Another application is for operators of charging stations that indicate which equipment is being used, the value of the charge and the payment method. Today most public payphones still do not charge for energy.

Agreement with automakers

Weg has partnerships with the automakers Renault and Stellantis (Fiat, Jeep, Peugeot and Citroën) to supply chargers for the dealerships of these brands and for customers.

One example is the Kwid E-Tech sports utility vehicle, presented by Renault last week as the cheapest electric car in Brazil. It costs R$ 143 thousand and has a range of up to 300 km.

Renault informs that its 293 dealerships will have charging points. The brand also sells the electric Zoe in the country and later this year Kangoo and Master should arrive in this configuration. All are imported, but the company’s president, Ricardo Gondo, does not rule out the local production of Kwid E-Tech in the future.

Until February (last data available), Brazil had 1,250 public and semi-public electric charging stations installed in several states, and a number that goes beyond that of points such as car dealerships.

Installations have been increasing among energy companies, parking networks and automakers. Recently, Great Wall Motors (GWA) announced that it will create a network with 100 charging points by 2023 in the State of São Paulo, where almost 40% of the fleet of around 80,000 electric vehicles that circulates across the country is concentrated.

According to the company, the supply will be free for electrified cars of any brand. The newly arrived Chinese manufacturer has already announced that it will first import and then produce electric and hybrid cars at its factory in Iracemápolis (SP), acquired from Mercedes Benz.

GWA intends to create a network of partners, suppliers and startups to help develop an electrification ecosystem in Brazil.

solar energy for batteries

Another recent Weg partnership is with BMW and Energy Source in the development of an unprecedented system for fast charging and vehicles with energy captured by solar panels. The generation surplus is stored in second life electric batteries (when they are no longer used in cars).

According to Johann, the system is being tested at the BMW plant in Araquari (SC). “Another important product we have developed is WMobi Smart, an intelligent charging system aimed mainly at older buildings for automatic demand control”, he says. The device releases power according to availability on the network so as not to overload the system.

The executive does not reveal the specific investments for projects related to electrification. He only informs that they are included in the company’s general program, 2.7% of net operating revenue. The projection of investments this year is R$ 1 billion.

Although the electrified market is still small in the country – the current fleet is 87,000 vehicles, most of them hybrids that are not plugged in – Johann sees general investments in infrastructure and the increase in electrified car launches as an increasing concern. increasing number of companies with the issue of sustainability and decarbonization. “The electric car is an excellent solution for cleaning up the environment.”

Two weeks ago, the National Congress created a parliamentary front to discuss legislation on the subject and guide the population on the energy transition. The objective is to promote the creation of an electric car industry in Brazil. The front is made up of 190 deputies and 10 senators, and is coordinated by deputy Marcelo Matos (PSD-RJ).

Power2Go has a complete solution for charging in condominiums

Created to operate exclusively in the niche of condominiums and rental companies, Power2Go is one of the few – if not the only – in the country to offer a complete solution for charging electric vehicles, from the charger (of its own development and production) to the installation, metering of energy, load optimization and maintenance.

Created by six engineers 2.5 years ago, the startup has so far installed more than 250 chargers in nine states and the Federal District, and expects to reach 1,000 by the end of the year. Another differential is that the company only operates with subscriptions, a modality similar to cable TV.

“Why pay R$15,000 to R$20,000 to have a charger without any associated service and have the risk of the building’s electrical installation collapsing?” asks Carlos Olimpio Freitas, commercial director at Power2Go.

In the subscription, he says, the customer pays a fixed monthly rent from R$ 300 per recharge point, which includes the charger, installation, energy metering, charging optimization and maintenance.

The 100% Brazilian startup received an initial contribution from the partners and has already made two rounds of investment, “both successfully”, says Freitas, without revealing values.

Freitas recalls that Anfavea (association of automakers) predicts 2.3 million electric cars for Brazil in 2030, a market that will require a wide charging structure. He believes that the market can reach this level before the expected date.