Transportation tech: EVs and scooters and welding, oh my!

Midwest companies and researchers continue to push transportation innovation, from two wheels to four. A round up leads today’s tech headlines. A quick correction first: Dwight Stewart is chief technology officer for Des Moines, Iowa-based smart building company Igor. I mixed up his title in yesterday’s email.

Today’s headlines:


    • General Motors is partnering with Los Angeles’ EVgo to add more than 2,700 new electric vehicle fast chargers across the country over the next five years. The devices will be available starting next year, but the partners have not yet said which cities and suburbs will receive them.
  • A new welding method shows promise for automakers trying to make lighter vehicles, a practice that reduces the amount of materials used in manufacturing and improves fuel efficiency. The impact welding system — created at Ohio State University and being tested at Detroit’s LIFT, public-private partnership for technology development — welds dissimilar metal alloys and generates little to no heat, reports DBusiness Magazine.
  • Chicago-based mobility company Veo launched a personal electric scooter with turn signals, a safety feature not previously found on e-scooters.
  • ***SPONSORED LINK: The Rise Up! podcast brings real-time, relevant energy and policy information to Midwest stakeholders through an engaging and entertaining medium. Episode 4: “Credit Where Credit is Due” with special guest Andy Johnson is out now! #RiseUpMidwest***♻️ RECYCLING: Case Western Reserve University researchers are developing a technology to break down a type of non-recyclable plastics called thermoset polymers into recyclable resins that can be made into new products. Thermoset polymers are commonly used in the aerospace, automotive, and wind industries.

    🧲 EFFICIENCY: University of Minnesota researchers electrically transformed “fool’s gold” (also known as iron sulfide) into a magnetic material. It’s reportedly the first time scientists have used electricity to make a non-magnetic material into a magnetic one. This could be a way to create new magnetic materials for more energy-efficient computer memory devices.

    ***SPONSORED LINK: Join CELI for emPOWER20 August 26-28. emPOWER is a virtual experience with 30 unique sessions and 40+ hours of content designed to foster a new kind of energy leadership and drive toward a resilient, equitable, and decarbonized energy ecosystem.***

    🔋 BATTERIES: Regional economic development organization Radius Indiana announced the three winners of its pitch competition. One winner, ValgoTech, is working on a battery charger and power reduction system for drones.

    🚜 AGRICULTURE: Progressive Farmer details the wave of ag tech tools that emerged in the Midwest over the last month to help farmers improve their efficiency and lessen their environmental footprints.

    📈 INVESTMENT: Aberdeen Advisors, headquartered in Chicago, launched Aberdeen Labs, a technology investment platform that aims to bring startups’ innovations to market.

    🚰 WATER: The U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory launched two online STEM education portals for water power technologies. The open-source resources are intended to spur student exploration of water power careers, which is considered a growing segment of the renewable energy industry.

    🏆 AWARDS: DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office announced the eight winners of its Individuals Taking Energy Action in Manufacturing (ITEAM) Prize, which recognizes employees at U.S. manufacturers who promote energy-saving. Innovators in Minnesota and Wisconsin were recognized for their ideas, and each will receive a $5,000 prize.

    Which other Midwest tech stories do you want to see in Centered? Reach out with news tips, press releases, and feedback via email to or connect on LinkedIn and Twitter @centereddottech.

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