One partnership at a time, the electric vehicle (EV) industry is moving forward. New business charging models emerge, increasing the interoperability amid various technology networks, enabling pricing flexibility for automakers and benefitting EV drivers.
To accelerate EV adoption worldwide and enhance market expansion, some EV network operators have embraced the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP), the global standard for open charge-station-to-network communications. Greenlots is a global provider of the open standards-based technology solutions for plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging, focusing on public and private charging networks.
A few weeks ago I met with Brett Hauser, the President of Greenlots and Founder of the Open Charge Alliance, at the Plug-In 2014 Conference in San Jose, California. Greenlots utilizes the Open Automated Demand Response (OpenADR) for energy management to automate Demand Response (DR) to manage peak demand in electricity to allow devices to be turned off during periods of high usage. OpenADR is considered viable to unify Smart Grid technologies and increase economic benefits in the Cleantech industry. The Open Charge Alliance (OCA) focuses on EV charging standards, addressing players on a global scale, and includes hardware and software vendors, charging network operators, and service providers.
This summer, the California Energy Commission (CEC) awarded a grant to San Francisco International Airport to install four DC fast charge stations (each at 480-volt high-speed chargers). Greenlots will be the installer, which will utilize OCPP, making it the company’s first open standards-based DC chargers. Once installed, Greenlots will handle the network management platform, procurement, maintenance and support services for the project.
Hauser said that Greenlots provides 'intelligent' EV charging. Talking about market expansion, he said that Greenlots plans to engage with utilities, providing capabilities to better control peak loads, load balancing, and energy management in residential, as well as commercial and industrial sectors.
When I asked about customers’ need to access data, assess transactions and evaluate their return-on-investment as part of their EV charging infrastructure projects, he said that unlike other network and service operators in the space, Greenlots customers own their data, they can define, customize and run their own analytics models and metrics. In a larger vision, Hauser believes that network operators can share the accumulated transactional data for the benefit of the customers. In fact, open standards give us that flexibility. He noted that at some point in the future, “propriety will be gone from the conversation”. Standard products and services not only add value, these have an impact on pricing, making it more affordable for all.
Recently, the BMW Group in Asia partnered with Greenlots to provide Singapore with its first Electric Vehicle infrastructure network. BMW's program is called ‘360º ELECTRIC’ and is designed to cover “BMW i” series cars. This program will be a standard with the purchase of every BMW i model and covers charging at public stations, at home, assistance services, and more. The idea is that BMW i3 and i8 EV drivers will be able to access a vast network of level 1 or level 2 (i.e. AC) charging stations by using the BMW i access card and the Greenlots mobile app. Real-time information about the availability and location of these stations will be delivered through the vehicle's navigation system and pinpoint the nearest available charging stations.
Additional services offered through the partnership include assistance to install a charger at home and an electrical inspection by a qualified advisor, as well as pre-installation on-site visit to determine feasibility. Also, the installation would be backed by a Greenlots warranty with ongoing technical support.
Today, Greenlots announced a new partnership: Kia Motors America selected the company to provide DC fast-chargers at select Kia dealerships on the West Coast in preparation for the launch of the 2015 Kia Soul EV.
Like other EV automakers, Kia’s program for green mobility - the Kia’sClean - offers zero-emissions cars as an alternative to gasoline-operated vehicles. The 2015 Soul EV is Kia’s first all-electric car, which will be introduced in the U.S. in the Fall this year. At the same time, Kia will roll out Greenlots’ SKY Smart Charging™ platform to its dealerships in California, which will allow customers to charge their vehicles from empty to 80 percent in approximately 30 minutes on DC fast chargers. Per Kia, “the partnership with Greenlots will enable our customers to connect to a seamless and reliable charging network.”
Utilizing Greenlots’ open standards-based platform enables Kia and BMW to set their own pricing models, while allowing drivers to roam across a variety of networked public charging stations.
Open Charge Alliance - http://www.openchargealliance.org
OpenADR - http://www.openadr.org
Greenlots - Visit www.greenlots.com