David Mazaika saw an opportunity based on his 20 years of experience in the heavy-duty commercial vehicle space. To help fulfill that vision, he founded Coulomb Solutions Inc. (CSI) two years ago to work with original equipment manufacturers to help develop and manufacture reliable and affordable batteryelectric commercial vehicles.
“A lot of really good EV products have come out over the past 5 to 10 years,” said Mazaika. “But the biggest challenge has always been that the cost of the commercial vehicles can’t meet the total cost of ownership goals the fleets have. As a result, fleets will buy in small numbers, maybe 5 or 10 vehicles – a really big fleet might buy 50. They’re being sold in relatively small numbers and so it was slow to go mainstream. The biggest contributor to the higher costs was the batteries.”
Mazaika reached out to Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL), one of the largest motive power battery designers and manufacturers in China. Based in Ningde in the country’s Fujian Province, CATL was founded in 2011 as a spinoff from a major supplier of batteries for consumer products. Since then, one of its focuses has been reducing the cost of its batteries.
“The CATL product has been out there for about eight years, and they’ve got high-volume manufacturing lines in place,” said Mazaika. “They’ve already got 270,000 commercial trucks and buses on the road using CATL batteries. These have given them unparalleled experience, having traveled over 25.7 billion miles. They are extremely wellproven. My goal was to bring over the high-volume, high-quality manufactured products that were available in China to really enable the whole electrification of commercial trucking in North America. And now that’s CSI’s goal.”
In early 2019, CSI signed a long-term partnership with CATL, becoming a wholesale distributor and service center for its commercial vehicle battery systems in North America. The Livermore, Calif.- based company is named after Charles de Coulomb, a French physicist who made important discoveries in electricity and as well as accessory systems such as cabin heating, battery cooling systems, electric air conditioning compressors, dc/dc converters, onboard chargers, electric steering pumps and electric air compressors for braking.
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