Xos Launches a Mobile Charging Station For Electric Truck Fleets

Zac Estrada

Zac Estrada is a reporter covering transportation, technology and policy. A former reporter for The Verge and Jalopnik, his work has also appeared in Automobile Magazine, Autoweek, Pacific Standard, Boston.com and BLAC Detroit. A native of Southern California, he is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston. You can find him on Twitter at @zacestrada.

Xos Launches a Mobile Charging Station For Electric Truck Fleets

As the nation waits for electric vehicle charging stations to be as accessible as gas stations, Atwater Village-based Xos Inc. thinks it can get big rig operators charged up quickly.

The company introduced one of the first portable charging stations for fleet operators on Thursday. The station, which looks like a large metal truck trailer, can charge up to five vehicles at a time in a parking lot or fleet yard that doesn't yet have permanent charging facilities.

Big rigs are among the state's largest polluters. Last year, the state enacted a zero-emissions truck and delivery van mandate beginning in 2024, with the goal that all heavy duty trucks sold in California are electric by 2045.

Known as Xos Hub, the stations allow for a movable charging infrastructure in parking lots being used temporarily or without existing vehicle chargers. The company hopes that the mobile stations can be distributed widely and persuade more fleets to adopt battery electric technology. The units may also offset operators' concerns that electric commercial vehicles have a short range and few charging options.

"Everything from individual state regulations, to commitments by large fleet operators to convert to zero-emission electric vehicles, to President Biden's infrastructure plan, is pointing to electric vehicles as our future," CEO and co-founder Dakota Semler said in the announcement. He said fleet customers shouldn't have to wait for traditional fixed charging stations.

The Hub is part of a new subsidiary, Xos Energy Solutions, which will also offer Xos Serve, which will perform site evaluations, installations and other services related to the infrastructure.

Some infrastructure investments are starting to appear around ports. In May, Electrify America and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach announced a $25 million investment for commercial vehicle chargers. Electrify America is a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group of America.

The push for zero-emission fleets at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is even more pressing after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia called for the elimination of diesel trucks at the port by 2035. The two ports are the nation's busiest seaport hub where thousands of diesel trucks haul billions of dollars worth of cargo but there is still little electric vehicle infrastructure.

There are more than 100 zero-emissions vehicles being tested with various partners, such as Toyota, using battery electric or hydrogen power at the port, said Phillip Sanfield, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles port. But more infrastructure will be needed down the line.

"Right now, our focus is to help identify a variety of different options the market may determine for zero-emissions vehicles," he said.

A focus on charging comes as Xos is putting more of its commercial vehicles on the road.

The company said earlier this week it will provide FedEx with 120 electric vehicles for use as FedEx Ground delivery trucks. These vehicles will be operated by the parcel delivery company's Independent Service Provider arm in California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Texas beginning at the end of this year. Xos says more trucks will be put into service into 2022, with ongoing discussions with FedEx on additional vehicle deliveries in other states next year and in 2023.

In March, FedEx announced a $2 billion initiative to go carbon-neutral by 2040, including purchasing only electric parcel pickup and delivery vehicles from 2030 on.

Xos is preparing an SPAC merger with Florida-based NextGen Acquisition Corp. and a $2 billion valuation. A shareholder meeting is scheduled for Aug. 18.

Correction: An earlier version stated Xos Inc. is located in North Hollywood. It recently moved to Atwater Village.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.


Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

Read moreShow less

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

Read moreShow less

PCH Driven: Director Jason Wise Talks Wine, Documentaries, and His New Indie Streaming Service SOMMTV

Jamie Williams
­Jamie Williams is the host of the “PCH Driven” podcast, a show about Southern California entrepreneurs, innovators and its driven leaders on their road to success. The series celebrates and reveals the wonders of the human spirit and explores the motivations behind what drives us.
Jason Wise holding wine glass
Image courtesy of Jason Wise

Jason Wise may still consider himself a little kid, but the 33-year-old filmmaker is building an IMDB page that rivals colleagues twice his age.

As the director behind SOMM, SOMM2, SOMM3, and the upcoming SOMM4, Wise has made a career producing award-winning documentary films that peer deep into the wine industry in Southern California and around the world.

On this episode of the PCH Driven podcast, he talks about life growing up in Cleveland as a horrible student, filmmaking, Los Angeles and his latest entrepreneurial endeavor: A streaming service called SOMMTV that features–what else?–documentaries about wine.

The conversation covers some serious ground, but the themes of wine and film work to anchor the discussion, and Wise dispenses bits of sage filmmaking advice.

“With a documentary you can just start filming right now,” he says. “That’s how SOMM came about. I got tossed into that world during the frustration of trying to make a different film, and I just started filming it, because no one could stop me because I was paying for it myself. That’s the thing with docs,” or “The good thing about SOMM is that you can explain it in one sentence: ‘The hardest test in the world is about wine, and you’ve never heard about it.’”

…Or at least maybe you hadn’t before he made his first film. Now with three SOMM documentaries under his belt, Wise is nearing completion of “SOMM4: Cup of Salvation,” which examines the history of wine’s relationship with religion. Wise says it’s “a wild film,” that spans multiple countries, the Vatican and even an active warzone. As he puts it, the idea is to show that “wine is about every subject,” rather than “every subject is about wine.”

For Wise, the transition to launching his own streaming service came out of his frustration with existing platforms holding too much power over the value of the content he produces.

“Do we want Netflix to tell us what our projects are worth or do we want the audience to do that?” he asks.

But unlike giants in the space, SOMMTV has adopted a gradual approach of just adding small bits of content as they develop. Without the need to license 500 or 1,000 hours of programming, Wise has been able to basically bootstrap SOMMTV and provide short form content and other more experimental offerings that typically get passed over by the Hulus and Disneys of the world.

So far, he says, the experiment is working, and now Wise is looking to raise some serious capital to keep up with the voracious appetites of his subscribers.

“Send those VCs my way,” Wise jokes.

Subscribe to PCH Driven on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, iHeart, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.

dot.LA reporter David Shultz contributed to this report.