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Company with Valley ties makes strides with ‘dual-fuel’ charger

A southern California-based hydrogen technology company founded and led by Warren native Angelo Kafantaris has launched a mobile electric-vehicle battery refueling station for hydrogen- and battery-powered EVs.

What’s called the Hyper:Fuel Mobile Station builds on Hyperion Motors Inc.’s energy infrastructure platform that already includes the XP-1, a hydrogen / electric-powered supercar built to illustrate why, according to the company, hydrogen-ion storage is superior to lithium-ion storage.

Lithium-ion batteries power most electric vehicles in production today.

But Kafantaris and Hyperion Motors are attempting to shift the narrative to hydrogen, and the refueling station is the “solution to the infrastructure challenge” that faces many hydrogen-powered vehicles, according to the company.

It was revealed to the public at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which runs through Sunday. The show also is the public’s first opportunity to see the XP-1, which has a range of 1,000 miles.

The base model refueling station will contain a hydrogen dispenser for commercial and passenger hydrogen vehicles. A dual-fuel upgraded model will contain a hydrogen nozzle and DC fast-charger battery electrics, allowing it to serve both types of vehicles at the same time.

Both models can be upgraded to generate hydrogen on-site via water electrolysis. Now, hydrogen stations receive their fuel from a refinery, but when combined with solar, the station can generate hydrogen from the sun on-location, according to the company.

“That is a massive upgrade from the gray hydrogen used today, which is derived from steam-methane reformation,” the company stated in a press release. “On-site fuel generation is clean, green, and can dramatically increase station uptime — a hurdle for H2 stations today.”

Internal systems will include NASA and Shell GameChanger technologies to boost power and increase refueling efficiency, according to the company. The roof is tiled with solar-tracking photovoltaic panels to maximize direct sunlight. Controls are touch screen, and payment is contactless. The nozzle self-sanitizes using UV light.

“Today’s EV infrastructure is extremely costly and complex,” said Kafantaris. “We needed to solve this problem if the auto industry is serious about decarbonization.”

The station will be made at Hyperion’s manufacturing headquarters in Columbus that has undergone needed renovations, Kafantaris said. Setup for production is ongoing and will continue through 2023.

Production is expected to begin next year with the first deliveries scheduled for the fourth quarter.

Hyperion has started taking orders and “almost have more than we can produce for 2023,” Kafantaris said. He did not want to say how many, but the plan is to start building a station network in Ohio so automakers can start selling product beyond California.

The company did not want to disclose the price of the station, which is not for the public to purchase. They are, however, around half the cost compared to a stationary product, Kafantaris said.

OTHER LOCAL TIES

Hyperion is a portfolio company of downtown Warren’s BRITE Energy Innovators, which provides business development services for startups in the energy sector.

Its president and CEO Rick Stockburger attended the auto show to mark Hyperion’s milestone, and to continue to impress “BRITE’s position nationally as being an organization that is respected for its knowledge of vehicle electrification and being on the forefront of what is happening in the industry,” Stockburger said.

With Lordstown Motors Corp. in attendance with its truck, the all-battery Endurance, and also southern California EV startup INDIEV Inc. there with its, the INDI One — a car capable of high-speed online gaming and streaming through a super-powered vehicle-integrated computer — the auto show also was an opportunity, Stockburger said, to see “what the rest of the country is thinking” about products coming from Voltage Valley.

Voltage Valley has become the new nickname for the region because of the strides being made in vehicle electrification and battery storage. Prototypes of the INDI One will be produced at Foxconn’s plant in Lordstown, the former General Motors small-car assembly plant.

rselak@tribtoday.com

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