What's an NPEV, and Will it Solve Our Retail and Infrastructure Problems?

Jessica N. Abraham

A recent article by Jennifer Sensiba presented a few key points on the importance of demand, accessibility and location of traditional gas stations on U.S. roadways. In her article, “Why We Can’t Treat EV Charging Like Gas Stations,” she laid out the framework as to why so many gas stations are failed businesses, even in prime locations where gas stations should have otherwise thrived.

She pointed out that a simple analysis of traffic patterns and the surrounding environment would have prevented many of these incidents and, therefore, could have been avoided. In addition to those stations that have closed, some may have simply closed due to a crack in a storage tank or failure to operate according to code.

Sensiba also explained that although the traditional gas pump may have worked for previous generations, we must reconsider the needs of electric vehicles and their drivers when preparing for an all-electric future.

Image by Piero Di Maria from Pixabay

A Wide-Open Opportunity

Gas stations are a $250 billion a year industry, and there are over 120,000 gas stations in the country. This doesn’t include those that have been abandoned or left to rot away in the terrain.

On November 1, 2021, the White House unveiled its strategy for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Hill reports that Biden's plan entails switching to clean energy sources for electricity generation, making many parts of the economy run on electricity and increasing energy efficiency while scaling up the use of technology that steers this mission onto the right course.

Some say that hydrogen fuel cells are the future. Others look towards graphite and solar. And because of this, various commodities are projected to drive institutional value, worth trillions of dollars as the country races to meet its goal.

Worksport Ltd (NASDAQ: WKSP)(NASDAQ: WKSPW) is one of these companies. In fact, a world leader in truck tonneaus and accessories recently let the cat out the bag, disclosing details of its forthcoming NPEV (non-parasitic electric vehicle) fast-charging stations — a collaborative effort with Prof. Williamson and his research team from Ontario Tech University.

According to Worksport, its wholly-owned subsidiary, Terravis Energy, combines the highest efficiency hydrogen fuel cells with both solar and DC fast-charge systems to create compact, fully carbon-free, renewable energy — free from grid connectivity and set to dominate roadways.

It’s important to note that Worksport’s solutions are free from blackouts, power failures, overloads, and grid reliance.

While we’re unaware of the exact specifications for the moment, we do know that the stations come as a third leg in the upcoming Terravis lineup, which meshes both solar power and hydrogen fuel cell energy to charge electric vehicles (EVs) and can be used for a number of other applications outside of automotive.

How NPEV Will Replace Old Charging Stations and More

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

As roadways are being developed and rebuilt, more and more gas stations are becoming obsolete. In many cases, it’s getting harder for drivers to enter and exit the lot. Supply may be limited, and certain zone restrictions are placed in areas where pumping gas may be considered dangerous.

If a storage tank cracks or overheats, it could be detrimental to drivers and station owners to continue using such systems. And so, many of these stations are leveled off and turned into a parking lot with nothing there but a desert made of concrete.

But, what if this land could be used for other purposes? What if this land could be used to absorb air pollutants and emissions? What if we could take back the urban landscape while serving a new generation?

According to a spokes person for the company, Terravis will soon begin producing and installing its fast charge power units in parking lots like these, at highway turn-off points across our continent and at existing service stations in the U.S. and Canada. Harnessing the power of hydrogen and solar, the company gives back to the environment by focusing on decarbonization in every step of the journey.

These units take up little space and don’t require 30,000 gallons of gas to be stored underneath. Worksport has stated that its NPEV technologies could even be moved from one location to another — unlike other charging stations, such as those owned by Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), which have 600-volt power lines that travel underground. NPEV systems were also created to avoid electrocution should an area become flooded or overly saturated with rainwater.

And likewise, NPEV stations are zero-emission, fast-charge stations. They will leverage hydrogen fuel cells to produce direct current (DC) that will charge an electric vehicle in a relatively short amount of time, depending on how many fuel cell (FC) stacks are built into it. In this respect, Worksport subsidiary Terravis Energy's NPEV may very well be future-proof compared to the competition that are constrained by their dependence on grid supply lines.

Beautification of these landlocked eyesores will also aid in eliminating emissions. Adding trees, gardens and landscapes to these abandoned lots will help counter the pollutants that gas-powered generations seem to have left behind. Parts of Florida are already focusing on this endeavor, as they remove native palm trees to add more absorbent trees that would reduce the carbon footprint and greenhouse gasses left behind by heavy travel and manufacturing.

NPEV Systems Can Save Shopping Centers, Diners and Malls

Photo by Kit Suman on Unsplash

Can gas and EV charge stations seamlessly co-exist? Or, will we see an evolution without gas altogether? We can’t really say too much without creating a ton of speculation. But through initial observation, most service stations still seem clueless about electrification and the needs of their drivers, who often find themselves blocked off from charging stations by the gas-guzzling population.

One thing that really stood out in Sensiba’s article was how drivers would remain at charge stations longer than they would at a traditional fill station. The attached convenience stores benefit from the sale of snacks and ready-to-go foods as drivers go inside to pay for their gas. But as point-of-purchase (POS) technologies have evolved, most drivers will avoid going into the store altogether by paying at the pump. Sales have suffered. But, there may be a way for stations to get drivers back.

EV enthusiasts don’t like to wait around at gas stations for their electric vehicles to charge — especially in not-so-friendly areas. It’s boring, and they’re just sitting there watching others come and go. Moreover, charging a vehicle takes time. And while NPEV stations are set to charge faster than most other charging stations on the market, there’s still a bit of lapse that takes place before vehicles are fully charged.

Because most EVs hold a decent charge, those using charge stations are likely to be running a lot of errands or on a trip out of town (or they just forgot to charge up the night before). These people are hungry, they need to stretch their legs, and they want to encounter new experiences along the way.

Gas stations like the TravelCenters of America (NASDAQ: TA) and Pilot Flying J, which is now owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A; BRK.B), can really benefit from maintaining their travel centers and restaurants while upgrading them to accommodate the business needs of remote workers on the go.

Likewise, companies like the Simon Property Group (NYSE: SPG) have been worried for years about the death of shopping malls, which are given new life by adding entertainment centers within. In fact, several AMC Theatres (NYSE: AMC), Regal Cinemas (NYSE: RGC) and Dave & Buster’s (NASDAQ: PLAY) have been to thank for much of this traffic. But, there’s still more that can be done to resurrect a dying presence.

Simple upgrades to malls could also attract EV enthusiasts who want to remain productive or entertained while awaiting a full charge. They can go shopping, pick up groceries and even play laser tag.

With companies like Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) moving to actual brick-and-mortar locations they’re building in these town centers, it may be in the best interest of mall owners, regardless of EV accommodation, because Amazon would then be able to benefit from keeping its fleet of Rivian (NASDAQ: RIVN) delivery trucks and Zoox autonomous, self-driving robotaxis charged at all times.

The longer an EV needs to charge, the more time drivers will spend eating, shopping, playing and conducting business inside. So it’s really a win-win for everyone.

They Can Create More Efficient and Cost-Effective Emergency Services

Photo by Nejc Soklič on Unsplash

The Lion Electric Company (NYSE: LEV) (TSX: LEV) and Demers Ambulances, a leading North American manufacturer of ambulance vehicles, recently partnered to create an all-electric electric ambulance they’re calling the Demers eFX, which is set to replace all ambulances Demers produced by 2026.

Nissan (OTCMKTS: NSANY) already has one in Japan. And companies like Arcimoto (NASDAQ: FUV) and Star EV are creating ultra-efficient vehicles designed for first responders.

If local hospitals, police and fire stations were to switch to EV, we’d see a dramatic decrease in carbon emissions almost immediately. If they were to adopt NPEV units on site, they would be able to ensure that all vehicles were well-maintained and fully charged at all times. There would be little room for downtime due to power failure. Operational expenses would also drop significantly, providing departments with more room in their budgets for additional equipment, vehicles and higher salaries.

For electric trucks and other response vehicles, Terravis has additional options, such as the portable COR battery that can power emergency medical equipment and provide a direct charge to makeshift sites during natural disasters and rescue missions. In addition, the company’s SOLIS tonneau can actually charge the vehicle while on the go, and it charges the COR battery system to make sure power is available — even in places where getting power may seem almost impossible.

Cost of Public Transportation Could Become More Affordable — Or, More Money Can Go to Cities and School Districts

Photo by Daniel Salcius on Unsplash

Some say bussing has become more expensive over the years with passengers traveling longer distances. And others believe there aren’t enough passengers in some cities for it all to make sense.

There are some who would blame Uber (NYSE: UBER) and Lyft (NASDAQ: LYFT) for this shift in public transportation. But with NPEV systems, cities would save on filling up gas tanks and would be able to pass these savings on to their riders or invest these savings, instead, into the city itself.

Companies like Proterra (NASDAQ: PTRA), Volvo (OTCMKTS: VLVLY), Foxconn (TPE: 2354) and Switch Mobility (NYSE: SWCH) are among the leaders in the EV space for busses.

In the same way on-site and portable chargers would help facilitate emergency response operations, bus stations would also benefit from having NPEV systems integrated into their own operations.

At scale, the company’s NPEV fast chargers are a different type of product that represents a whole new evolution in EV.

Hydrogen fuel cell modules can produce clean energy without generating any emissions. Stored hydrogen converts into unlimited zero-carbon electricity that Terravis Energy uses to power a variety of electric vehicles, including both BEV and FCEV. And because hydrogen fuel cells take up less space than traditional electrification units, NPEV units aren’t big and bulky.

Busses could port while awaiting passengers at the station, and there would be less downtime by allowing these busses to charge while on the go.

As they continue to move into larger cities across the world, we may even see extended routes, fleets and services provided by transportation authorities, which make NPEV units even more desirable for the purpose of portability.

Road Trips Meet Diversification, Fewer Drivers Will Be Stranded With Non-Traditional Charging

Photo by Dino Reichmuth on Unsplash

The downfall of road-tripping when driving an EV is that the route is bound by the location of charging stations and where you’re physically able to stop along the way. Of course, when people travel cross-country, they like to see the sights. But what happens when you have to bypass the sites just so you don’t run out of power?

According to representatives of the company, NPEV stations can be placed — and will be placed — in regions that generally aren’t as kind to EV. Terravis Energy NPEV units will be found off the highway grid system and even in extremely rural locations. Because it can work off the grid, there are no physical restrictions keeping the NPEV away from the land.

Whether it’s in the middle of Amish Country or somewhere out in the desert, drivers will no longer be bound to the most common path. Instead, more destinations can be reached in a much shorter amount of time.

With the growth of NPEV adoption across the country, fewer drivers will find themselves stranded at the worst times. Portable units can serve as a backup in case of immediate concern. And, non-gas rest stops could double over as NPEV stations, allowing families to “stretch their legs” when making those long-distance travels in and out of town.

Real Campers Can Experience The Wilderness In Its Full Glory

Photo by Michael B. Stuart on Unsplash

In 2020 and 2021, there was a dramatic uptick in the rental of recreational vehicles (RV) and family vacations out in the wilderness. Some may agree that it’s not really camping if you’re enjoying the amenities of a community campsite and the modern conveniences that come with owning or renting a motorhome. Others will argue otherwise, detailing how setting up your own camp “out in the sticks” doesn’t necessarily constitute as “luxury.”

Whether glamping or “roughing it out” during your stay in the great outdoors, SOLIS and NPEV units could make camping just a wee bit more authentic — especially if they were to be included in national parks and forests. Outside of the obvious uses for electricity while on the road, electrification is necessary for a number of illnesses and respiratory issues — especially when victims are outdoors.

Breathing treatments, respirators, special machines and monitors often keep those suffering from various conditions under lock and key. Powering the campsite allows these people to join their families on important trips, expand their quality of life, and provide themselves with a sense of freedom and independence. Implementing the COR unit can further provide them with portability.

NPEV Systems Improve Accessibility for Off-Road Vehicles and Mining Operations

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

NPEVs serve as the missing link for electric off-road vehicles, such as ATVs and UTVs, which have found less demand than their predecessors had. With a lack of off-grid electrification, there are some that consider these pointless, especially when taken on camping trips. The irony is that they want all the perks and features associated with the performance of these vehicles. But, they’re afraid to get stranded or to take their vehicles on long trips only to not be able to enjoy using them.

Worksport and Terravis Energy have talked endlessly about installing units in places that have never before seen electrification — areas where off-roading and motorsports meet and welcome this change. If they succeed, we are destined to see a drastic shift in EV off-road vehicles and a whole new evolution in the way we perceive motorsports.

Mining could see similar results. Unfortunately, the extraction industry is currently facing a catch 22, even with environmental societal and corporate governance (ESG) set in place. They can’t begin mining the more sustainable, carbon-free resources that power smart cities and electric vehicles without using the same carbon-emitting technologies that they’re battling against while doing so.

While companies like Nouveau Monde Graphite (NYSE: NMG)(TSXV: NOU) and Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) are teaming up to electrify the mining space, there’s still a sense of angst when it comes to actually charging and electrifying these technologies. Terravis Energy’’s NPEV units could, once again, solve this dilemma and join the charge to lead the world into a zero-emissions reality.

DISCLAIMER: This article was influenced by the article “Why We Can’t Treat EV Charging Like Gas Stations,” written by Jennifer Sensiba on CleanTechnica. Here, the author provides speculative, forward-thinking and technical analysis involving an upcoming technology that many have said will change how we do electric.

For further disclosure, the author owns stock in one or more of the companies referenced above — this is not meant to constitute financial advice, as the author is not a financial advisor and have only included details relating to various research and due diligence the author has conducted on her own when trying to further understand each company.

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Jessica N. Abraham is a writer, designer and publicist, specializing in Business, Technology and the Jobs Industry. https://www.jessicanabraham.com | contact@jessicanabraham.com | Twitter: @jessicanabraham

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