Microvast isn’t a big battery manufacturer, but it will apparently make the batteries that will go into electric postal delivery trucks for the USPS. This week, the Houston, Texas-based company announced two new NMC battery cells – 48Ah and 53.5Ah NMC pocket cells that have been specifically designed to power commercial and special-purpose vehicles.
The two new pocket cells are available in the same dimensions and can be integrated into Microvast’s new fourth-generation batteries, according to Electrif. The MpCO-48Ah has an energy density of 205 Wh/kg and can be charged to 80% in 16 minutes. Microvast claims the cell has a lifespan of over 7,000 cycles at 25 degrees.
HpCO-53.5Ah has an energy density of 235 Wh/kg. This cell is rated for over 5,000 cycles at 25 degrees and the charge time is significantly higher at 48 minutes. It can only be charged at 1C, while 3C is possible with the MpCO-48Ah. In October 2020, Microvast introduced the MpCO-17.5 Ah battery cell, which has an 8,000 cycle life but a lower energy density of 186 Wh/kg.
“The new cells allow our customers to easily optimize vehicle design for energy density and life, delivering improved overall performance and lowering total cost of ownership while preserving fast charging capabilities” , said Yang Wu, president and CEO of Microvast. “We expect these next-generation battery cells to become critical revenue streams for our business in the future.”
The new cells will be installed in Microvast’s fourth-generation battery pack, which has similar dimensions to its third-generation packs but delivers up to 20% more energy and power. According to Microvast, the new packs have improved security features at the module and pack level, which should lead to better thermal management. The new cells and batteries are available now for sample order. Microvast plans to start mass production in 2023.
Microvast and Oshkosh
The announcement sparked a discussion about the reddit EV Forum whether batteries supplied to Oshkosh for USPS vehicles could last 1 million miles or more. At present, the Postal service expects the batteries in these vehicles to require replacement after 10 years of service. Since most of these vehicles travel less than 12,000 miles per year, a 10-year lifespan seems unrealistic if Microvast battery cells are capable of 7,000 charge cycles. If so, the Postal Service’s true cost of owning vehicle calculations are far from accurate and grossly overestimate costs.
Microvast manufactures its own cells in China through its subsidiary Microvast Power Systems Co. Ltd. Production is scheduled to start in Clarksville, Tennessee, near where Oshkosh plans to build the delivery vehicles for the USPS – this summer. Microvast also has a battery assembly plant in Ludwigsfelde, Germany.
From information available online, it is difficult to tell if all Microvast battery cells are made in China and assembled into batteries elsewhere. If so, it could spark more controversy over these battery-electric trucks Oshkosh wants to build for USPS. The Biden administration is very clear that it wants electric vehicles for government agencies to be made in America using unionized workers and US-made parts. Oshkosh intends to freeze the UAW out of its new assembly plant. Using China-made battery cells would constitute two strikes against the Oshkosh deal.
The postal service never get new vehicles? “We will see,” said the Zen master.
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