CRA Innovation & Technology News – North America

In this week’s EV/AV Report, Rivain competes with Tesla and GMC by announcing the release of its electric truck. Panasonic makes plans to rev-up the energy density of the battery cells used by Tesla, and Audi and the Hager Group dedicate themselves to a greener feature.


Rivain’s anticipated R1T truck and R1S SUV are set to be released the summer of 2021.The R1T truck will be the first to hit the market with the first batch being delivered to customers in June 2021. Followed by the R1S SUV, which will be delivered in August 2021.  

The Tesla Cybertruck and GMC Hummer will be competing directly with the R1T and R1S. Both vehicles have been marketed as off-road vehicles meant for adventurous and outdoor consumers. 

Models of R1T and R1S will have motors mounted at each wheel and will deliver up to 750 horsepower. They will also have a battery with a maximum driving range of 400 miles per charge.

Both Tesla’s Cybertruck and the GMC Hummer aren’t expected to hit markets until late 2021. This will give Rivian a headstart to draw in customers. 

Not only will Rivian be competing with Tesla but they have been accused of stealing Tesla employees as well as illegally gaining access to trade secrets along with confidential information. They have denied the wrongdoing but Tesla has still filed a lawsuit in California court which is currently pending.


The Lucid Air is scheduled to hit the market early 2021 and when it does it will employ DreamDrive, one of the most advanced suite of driver-assist systems. 

The all-electric model is said to be the first electric vehicle to offer a combination of an advanced sensor suite, high resolution LIDAR, a driver monitoring system and a fully redundant platform as standard equipment. 

Lucid Air claims the new vehicle is the first-of-its-kind and combines the most comprehensive sensor suite on the market with a cutting-edge driver monitoring system.

 Lucid’s DreamDrive technology suite supports 19 key safety, driving and parking assist features that will be available on Lucid Air upon the start of production.


Panasonic has plans to boost the energy density of the currently 2170 inch battery cells that it supplies to Tesla by 20 percent. The plan is to increase the density over 5 years and commercialize a cobalt-free version as well. 

Panasonic is a leading cell provider for Tesla and by outlining these targets they have put down a marker in a highly competitive industry to stay ahead. 

When Panasonic introduced the 2170 inch lithium-ion cells, with the nickel-cobalt-aluminium (NCA) cathode chemistry, for Tesla’s Model 3 in 2017 researchers had said it had the highest energy density at above 700 watt-hour per litre.

By increasing the density of these cells this could help increase how far an EV can run on a single charge. As well as allowing for smaller batteries and roomier car interiors.

As for the goal of a cobalt-free battery—Elon Musk has said his goal has always been to switch the batteries to cobalt-free as cobalt is costly and controversial because of labour conditions in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has long said he wants to move to zero-cobalt battery cells.

The idea is that from September, the firm will begin to convert lines at its factory in Nevada that operate with Tesla to prepare to further boost the energy density of the cells.

Since cobalt is a stabilizer Panasonic is also adjusting the composition and design for better thermal stability


Audi and the Hager Group have dedicated themselves to increasing network stability, lowering electricity costs, and contributing to climate protection. The idea is to incorporate the electric car into the domestic grid. 

Audi, which has committed to the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement, is working on making its vehicle fleet CO2-neutral by 2050. To achieve this goal they are pursuing a broad electric offensive involving launching 20 fully electric models by 2021.  

Specifically speaking, the battery of an Audi e-tron could supply a single-family home energy for a week. This means that as the electric mobility industry grows the automotive industry and the energy sector become closer. 

Hager chose to partner with Audi as using the battery of electric vehicles to contribute to climate protection while lowering electricity costs at the same time is a vision that they have been interested in for a while. 

The idea is that the car battery could power a house for a short period of time or in the event of a black out. The system would supply the house with energy via the high-performance HV battery or without a grid connection independently in what is known as stand-alone operation.

The joint research project with the Hager Group has proven customers who have their own PV system can design their mobility to be optimized in terms of cost and CO2 consumption while taking some of the burden off the grid at the same time. As a positive side effect, customers who own an electric car from Audi can make an important contribution to the success of the energy transition. The intelligent use of the HV battery in the vehicle also opens up possibilities to use an existing resource that was previously used for mobility purposes alone in a sustainable way.

Credit to Collision Repair Magazine.