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Optimal Electric Vehicles Unveils the S1LF Low-Floor Shuttle Bus




Optimal Electric Vehicles LLC, a company that specializes in the design, validation and manufacturing of zero-emission electric low-floor shuttle buses, has entered the electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing market with the introduction of their battery electric S1LF Low-Floor Shuttle Bus.  

The S1LF integrates a quasi-purpose-built Ford E450 chassis platform that has been fully optimized with the vehicle body. The all-electric S1LF will feature a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 14,500 lbs., with no reduction in carrying capacity, notes the company. The vehicle is designed to enable more than 125 miles of driving range and can fully charge in about three hours with optional DC fast charging.

The company says the S1LF will feature an efficient and powerful battery system – made in the U.S. – featuring 113 kWh of energy capacity, fueling an all-electric, zero-emission rear-axle drive system.​​​​​​​

The S1LF will debut at the APTA EXPO 2020, and the S1LF is the first of several planned commercial electric vehicles from Optimal-EV for use in a variety of applications.

Photo: Optimal-EV’s battery electric S1LF Low-Floor Shuttle Bus



NBA Hall of Fame Center and Solar Evangelist Bill Walton Teaming Up With Stellar Solar




SAN DIEGO, Aug. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Stellar Solar, one of San Diego’s most experienced residential and commercial installers since 1998, has teamed up with NBA Hall of Fame Center, solar advocate and San Diego native and resident Bill Walton to educate San Diego homeowners who have not gone solar on the economic benefits it can provide and inspire them to get a virtual solar quote to gauge what the solar potential of their home is, and how much money they can save every month.  

Stellar Solar Vice President of Marketing David Boylan, who connected with Walton to make this partnership happen, loved the fact that besides Walton’s athletic accomplishments he is as well known for his interests in philanthropy, music and the environment as he is in sports where he still provides color commentary for Pac-12 basketball games. “From the minute I met Bill his energy and passion for solar was obvious and clearly not some front he was putting on for an endorsement deal. This is as good a fit of product and endorser as it gets, especially given his connection to San Diego and his firm belief that solar should be on as many roofs as possible.  He is a true solar evangelist and I feel that he will raise the awareness of the entire industry in San Diego and we are stoked to be a conduit for that. Being selected by Bill was also a validation of the way Stellar Solar does business, our people, and our consistently winning San Diego’s Best Solar in the Union Tribune Readers Poll.  We are excited to work with him and have his voice amplify our message and feel that we have earned the right to be considered by homeowners when they are ready to go solar.”

Walton’s choice to work with Stellar Solar was a “no-brainer” as he put it. “I’ve known of Stellar’s sustained excellence and success for years, including their incredible streak of winning San Diego’s Best seven of the past nine years and three years in a row.  Stellar is synonymous with all the things I believe in, stand for and try to live every day. Stellar’s standing in our community, their customer reviews, and the quality and authenticity of their people, product, style, and culture fit seamlessly and perfectly with who I am, what I want to do, and where I want to go in my life. I’m about people, passion, and purpose. I am a team-first guy. We are only as good as our teammates. I want to be the best, and work with the best. Stellar Solar is stellar across the board on all fronts. Stellar Solar has a tremendous team – the type of team that I dream of being a part of. Stellar represents the conquest of substance, quality and achievement over hype and gimmicks.  They are about collaborating, empowerment, enabling, and educating our community about the value, sensibility, importance, and superior economics of solar energy. I am proud, honored and grateful to be a part of such a special team. Stellar Solar – this is a cosmic harmonic convergence of the highest order. And what a spectacular platform for me to become stellar, and to power success in every aspect of my life.” 

About Stellar Solar
Stellar Solar is a leading California residential and commercial PV solar design and installation company, based in San Diego since 1998 with over 10,000+ installations across Southern California including notable commercial installations of nearly 50MW that include The Salk Institute, US Foods, Cedars Sinai Hospital and more. Readers of the San Diego Union Tribune have voted them best solar panel company again in 2019 marking the third year in a row and seventh time in nine years winning the award.  Their 5 Star Reviews on Yelp, A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and high customer ratings on Angie’s list are further testament to their standing as the leading solar provider to homes, businesses, nonprofits and faith based organizations in San Diego County and Orange County. Learn more at

About Bill Walton
Bill Walton was born in downtown San Diego and raised in La Mesa, California, where his mom Gloria, still lives.  He exploded on the international basketball scene while attending Helix High School and went to UCLA as a scholarship player for John Wooden, winning three successive NCAA Player of the Year awards and helping UCLA to consecutive undefeated NCAA Championships (1972, 1973), and a record 88-game winning streak. Bill is a member of the NCAA All Time Basketball Team. He was selected as the #1 overall pick in the 1974 NBA Draft by the Portland Trailblazers who won the NBA Championship in 1977, earning Bill the NBA Finals MVP award that season. He was the NBA MVP the next season. Bill won another NBA title, playing with the Boston Celtics in 1986.  Bill is a member of the NBA All Time Team and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.

When Bill could no longer play basketball, he started a most unlikely career as a multimedia broadcaster, a career that has now spanned 30 years working for every major network and platform, and has been with ESPN for many years now and is a multi-time Emmy Award winning on-air talent. He is a New York Times Best Selling author, with his memoir, “Back From The Dead.”  He is a huge music fan, and with his wife Lori, travels and has toured extensively with his favorite bands, including the Grateful Dead. 

He is active in many philanthropic endeavors, and most recently co-founded the global initiative Bike For Humanity, a virtual biking fundraiser for nonprofits that benefit children. 

Walton is a long-term advocate for clean energy and does his part by powering his home with solar, collecting rainwater, driving electric vehicles, and representing solar companies as a solar evangelist. He is an active board member of CleanTech San Diego.

Bill and Lori have 6 children and 14 grandchildren. 

Media Contact:

David Boylan


[email protected] 

SOURCE Stellar Solar

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Longhorn Solar Chosen by Retail Energy Provider Griddy as One of Three Solar Panel Installation Partners




AUSTIN, Texas, July 31, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The retail energy provider app, Griddy, chose Longhorn Solar to be one of three partners for solar panel installation for its customers. Griddy is a digital platform that offers its members electricity service at wholesale prices—with a monthly membership fee. Currently, Griddy only provides services to Texas residents.

Griddy recognized the natural correlation between solar production and high wholesale prices before deciding to educate their members on the benefits of solar power. Longhorn Solar is excited to have satisfied the rigorous standards set forth in Griddy’s vetting process, and proud to become a solar installation partner. Texas residents that are Griddy members will now have access to unique purchasing opportunities for solar panel installation by Longhorn Solar.

“We are thrilled to be one of the companies Griddy has chosen for solar panel installation. Longhorn Solar is excited to provide affordable solar panel installation to more people across Texas.” Louis Petrik, Longhorn Solar CEO

The endorsement by Griddy also introduces the high level of quality and service Longhorn Solar provides to Texas residents that were previously unaware of the company. Longhorn Solar offers personalized proposals to customers that come to them through the Griddy partnership.

About Longhorn Solar

Longhorn Solar is a leader in solar panel installation in Texas. They achieve this by insourcing every aspect of the process, which means they are always able to guarantee top-notch work and a stellar customer experience. Their team of certified solar experts works together to create the best solar panel solutions for each customer.

With over 2,200 solar panel installations completed in Texas, Longhorn Solar continues to provide excellent quality and friendly customer service in every transaction. Every installation gets Longhorn Solar closer to its vision of seeing every rooftop in Texas equipped with solar panels. Longhorn Solar has offices in Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.

For more information, press only:

Louis Petrik, CEO 

Phone: 512.837.4800

Email: [email protected]


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Longhorn Solar website

SOURCE Longhorn Solar


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Researcher Developing Smart Chips to Address Battery Safety




Battery development firm KVI is working on smart chips to improve the safety and performance of lithium-ion batteries, used in many devices today from electric vehicles to smartphones. (GETTY IMAGES)

By AI Trends Staff

The number one issue in lithium-ion batteries powering products from e-bikes and power tools for consumers, to self-driving cars and submarines, is to enhance battery safety, Dr. Rachid Yazami told an audience at the virtual International Battery Seminar from Cambridge EnerTech this week.

Dr. Yazami, founder of Singapore startup KVI, which is developing smart chips to enhance battery performance and safety, is known for his critical role in the development of lithium-ion batteries. In a talk on whether AI can help address battery issues, he outlined the challenges in a battery market that is projected to reach $35 billion in value by 2025. “The market is growing very fast,” he said.

Dr. Rachid Yazami, founder of KVI and contributor to development of the lithium-ion battery

Short circuits in lithium-ion batteries are caused when a thin slip of polypropylene that keeps electrodes from touching is breached, so that the electrodes come in contact and generate heat and possibly fire.

“We don’t want to see vehicles and mobile phones catching fire,” Dr. Yazami said. “These things we have to address very seriously. A lot of progress has been made, especially in increasing the quality of the batteries.”

Additional challenges include: reducing charging time currently ranging from 1.5 to eight hours for an electric vehicle depending on the battery, to less than one hour and even 30 minutes; increasing the driving range from 250 km to 500 km (150 to 300 miles) currently, to 900 km (560 miles); and extending the battery service life, currently at about two years, to 10 years.

In its work to address these challenges, KVI has developed two kinds of chips, one that combines material science with AI to “manage the battery performance in smarter ways,” and the other that helps to manage a new protocol for fast charging. Eventually the chips may be combined, “to get all the advantages.”  Dr. Yazami will be looking for manufacturers to embed the chips in new batteries once they are available,  which he estimated would be in 12 to 18 months.  “We already have working prototypes for ultrafast battery chargers,” he said in response to a question from AI Trends.

The fast-charging chip can measure data on entropy, a property of a thermodynamic system, to assess the state of the battery and of its safety. “We can adapt the charging protocol according to the state of charge of the battery, Dr. Yazami said. “We use the AI to optimize the data processing and the protocols we use to charge the battery,” allowing for optimal charging, not more than the battery can take. The system continues to learn as the battery is used and is aging.

One of the biggest reasons for fires in lithium-ion batteries are internal short circuits, “which happen when the separator breaks or there is a hot spot and it melts,” Dr Yazami said. “That can trigger events that end in a thermal runaway, sometimes fire and explosions.” Detecting this thermal runaway at an early stage is very difficult.

“We have developed some technology to detect it at a very early stage,” he said. He has found a linear relationship between battery entropy, charted on the Y axis, and battery enthalpy, a thermodynamic quantity equal to the total heat content of the system, on the X axis. “We have found very specific cell voltages where we can trigger an alarm.” This allows the researchers to adjust the charging voltages based on the state of health of the battery, using AI to help. “We are developing the software to follow the battery as it is aging.”

The team has also developed a non-linear fast charging solution, in which current and voltage is not constant, but adapts to the battery.

“We have developed solutions based on AI and thermodynamics data to monitor the state of battery safety,” Dr. Yazami said.

Asked by another researcher how he measures entropy and enthalpy for state of charge (SoC) detection, Dr. Yazami said the linear relationship depends on the chemistry and state of health of the battery. ”The linear coefficients evolve as the battery ages. The AI enables prediction of the coefficients to determine the state of health of the battery,” he said.

Learn more about Dr. Rachid Yazami.


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