Electrify America and Greenlots to build massive country-wide electric car charging network

Look out Tesla Motors and ChargePoint, here comes a charging network with big plans.  Electrify America just announced a plan to build a nation-wide electric car charging network comprising thousands of charging locations over the next 10 years.  What’s most important is the coverage of inter-city routes as shown in the map above, meaning the company is starting with a vision of — as the company name implies – electric transportation across the USA.

Before you get all excited – it’s a 10-year plan that apparently (according to the press releases below) will start construction now, with the full plan taking 10 years to implement.  The “Cycle 1” map is what’s shown above, and represents a $500 million investment which will buy 2,000 charging stations in California and 38 states total.  Each “Cycle” will cover 30 months and require another investment tranche.

Electrify America is seeking input from “governments, organizations and others” who could help with advice for choosing charging station locations in Cycle 2.  That Cycle will begin in July 2019.  Advice is requested before the end of March 2018.

For implementation, Electrify America has turned to Greenlots.  That company has existed for several years and specializes in back-end operations for charging network operators.  A charging network can focus on installing and maintaining the charging station network, and use the Greenlots platform to handle network operations.

The press releases talk about Electrify America’s IoT devices, and the need for energy management.  The phrase Internet of Things (IoT) refers to small internet-attached computers controlling “things” interfacing with the real world.  For example you might have a box next to the doorbell with a camera and speaker.  Anytime someone rings your doorbell, a notification pops up on your smart phone and it doesn’t depend on where you are, and once the app is running you can talk to the person at the door via that app.  That’s an example of an internet-attached-thingy (IoT) device.

The concept is not new for charging stations.  All network-attached electric car charging stations are an IoT device.  ChargePoint, Blink, et al, have had networked charging stations for many years.  This is opposed to the non-networked charging stations available from companies like Clipper Creek.  The tradeoff between networked/non-networked is:

  • The network operator can monitor/control the charging station,
  • Have alerts when the charging station is broken,
  • Control access to the charging station,
  • Charge money for using the charging station,
  • Send text messages to folks smart phone about charging sessions,
  • Publish availability status to charging network maps such as Plugshare
  • … etc

What’s starting to be of importance is integrating grid stability features into charging station facilities, as well as other “distributed energy resource” installations like solar arrays.  As these things become more prevalent in our lives, they need to act as part of the overall electricity grid.  In particular, Solar needs to stop acting as a minor bit player in the electricity grid, and take up a significant role in stabilizing the electricity grid.

Plans are underway in several places around the USA, primarily in Hawaii and California, to develop smart control systems so that distributed energy resource systems can positively affect grid voltage, frequency and other electrical characteristics.  These efforts are focusing today on solar arrays and energy storage, but electric car charging stations are on the horizon.

By combining the increasingly common solar array covered parking lot with an energy storage system with electric car charging, it’s possible to gain many benefits.  Electric car charging can be entirely off-grid, using electricity from on-site generation.  The energy storage system can also sell electricity to the grid as needed, buy electricity from the grid when it’s cheap, and so forth.  For more thoughts on that opportunity see: Solar panel covered parking lots with charging stations underneath – EV Nirvana

Image with Audi and Volkswagen

The VW/Dieselgate connection

Electrify America is a spinoff from the Dieselgate scandal.  One way to tell is by the background of the company’s senior management, which is heavy with folks from the Volkswagen Group, Audi, and BMW.  In lieu of paying a fine to the US Government, a settlement was negotiated where instead they’d build a large electric car charging network.  Electrify America is the result.  Therefore, the funding for this plan is firm.

This sort of deal has been struck before – namely when eVgo entered the California market.  Many years ago there was an electricity crisis in California with several companies manipulating California’s electricity market causing wild price swings and brownouts.  Those companies were found to be guilty of fraudulently manipulating the market.  Two of the companies ended up owned by NRG, a large electricity utility operator, and therefore NRG was responsible for paying off the fines.  What NRG did instead was negotiate with California to bring eVgo (it’s electric car charging subsidiary) to California and build out significant charging infrastructure in that state.  See The eVgo electric car charging station plans as told by Terry O’Day to the BayLEAF’s owners club

The theory is that instead of forcing a culpable company to pay a fine, the government forces that company to make a corporate investment that results in a positive social good.  Both companies, NRG and VW/Audi/BMW, are being required to beef up electric car charging infrastructure.

At the time of the eVgo settlement some companies filed a lawsuit claiming that settlement was wrong, incorrect, and unfair competition.  The arguments in that case are worth rehashing in this context.

Is it a punishment to force a company to invest in a new business?  One it was going to build, or should have built, anyway?  In the case of NRG, the company wanted to expand eVgo into other markets besides Texas, and California was the obvious place to go.  Was NRG punished by building a new business operation?

That’s an excellent question to ponder.  One answer is that it’s not unknown for companies to be forced to make investments in things resulting in positive social good.  A counter question is whether it’s necessary to punish a wrong-doing company, or whether getting such a company to produce positive social good is a worthy response to corporate wrong-doing.

Does anyone know the answer to that conundrum?

ChargePoint files a lawsuit

Following NRG’s settlement with California to bring eVgo to California, legal action was initiated to block the settlement.  That action was launched by ECOTality, then the owner of the Blink network.  ECOTality charged that it would be unfair competition to have a massive corporation like NRG involved in the electric car charging business.  ECOTality ended up losing that lawsuit, and a few months later they went bankrupt anyway with the Blink network becoming owned by the Car Charging Group.  An important point is that ChargePoint declined to participate in that lawsuit.

ChargePoint has filed a lawsuit complaining about Electrify America’s process of selecting partners.  According to the report on Lexology, ChargePoint is complaining about unfair competition.  Further, that by selecting SemaConnect as a partner Electrify America is “supercharging” a direct competitor to ChargePoint and that SemaConnect would “sell infringing goods and services on a massive scale.”

That last statement sounds interesting.  A quick Google search turns up a press release from ChargePoint in December 2017 (see below) claiming that SemaConnect is infringing on four ChargePoint patents regarding “networked electric vehicle charging”.

ChargePoint has invested substantial resources over the years to create EV charging solutions designed with drivers and businesses in mind. With an industry leading patent portfolio, ChargePoint is committed to leading the way in developing the world’s most comprehensive suite of charging technologies that support the transformation to electric mobility. ChargePoint invented networked EV charging and holds the patents related to the technology. A hallmark of the company’s technology portfolio, networked charging is a significant piece of ChargePoint’s offering and a critical ingredient to its business. As with any company, protecting vital IP is imperative to the future success of the organization and its contribution to the marketplace.

“For more than a decade, ChargePoint has invested significant resources into the design, development, and manufacturing of a comprehensive suite of charging solutions for every driving scenario, with the ultimate goal of helping transform mobility for the better,” said Bruce Chizen, Chairman of the Board of Directors, ChargePoint, Inc. “This commitment to electric mobility has inspired ChargePoint to develop a robust patent portfolio creating technology that makes it easier for consumers to go electric while empowering businesses to support the growing number of EV drivers. Protecting intellectual property is key to ChargePoint’s success as a business.”

So… it’s not sour grapes that they lost the bid to run the Electrify America network, but that SemaConnect is supposedly infringing on some patents.

Electrify America’s partners

The partners chosen by Electrify America are:

  • SemaConnect and EVConnect – two charging station network operations companies
  • Greenlots – provides back-office systems for charging networks

Apparently Electrify America issued an RFP and then whittled down the applicants to select these three.  As is obvious from the previous section, ChargePoint was not selected and they’re not happy.

 

Electrify America Selects Greenlots to Develop Operating Platform to Manage $2 Billion Investment in Coast-to-Coast Network of High Speed Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

The network will create a seamless customer experience and provide real-time analytics to support the operation of approximately 2,000 high-power fast chargers

RESTON, Va.Jan. 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Electrify America announced today that it has selected Greenlots, a leading provider of grid-enabled electric vehicle (EV) smart charging solutions, to deliver the operating platform for its network of high-power fast chargers that will greatly expand highway and other EV charging capabilities across the United States.

As part of its $2 billion investment in EV infrastructure, Electrify America will install EV charging stations in major metropolitan areas and along major U.S. highways over the next 10 years. Electrify America is currently implementing Cycle 1 of its Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) investment plan, an initial investment of $500 million, that calls for over 2,000 chargers in California and 38 states. With more charging sites anticipated as part of the total investment, EV drivers will have more freedom and flexibility than ever for both every day charging and to make long distance trips. Electrify America is also building the network with the aim of making it “future proof” to accommodate new technologies and charging speeds as the electric vehicle market grows.

“Our goal is to build the most advanced high-power charging network in the U.S. – one that demonstrates the future of alternative transportation,” said Mark McNabb, CEO of Electrify America. “We chose Greenlots because their SKYTMNetwork Operating Platform is a scalable, flexible foundation to develop our own networking system that integrates dozens of new EV models, thousands of new EV chargers and other distributed energy resources with the grid.”

The Electrify America IoT network enabled on Greenlots SKYTM Network Operating Platform will act as a “virtual command center” for Electrify America’s network of EV charging stations being deployed throughout the country. Greenlots’ technology will enable Electrify America to effectively build, operate and manage its high-power charging network by providing real-time charger health status, utilization data, dynamic pricing capabilities and predictive analytics to identify future maintenance and provide a seamless charging experience for the customers. For the millions of drivers expected to use the chargers over the next decade and beyond, the operating platform will make it easy for drivers to instantly locate the closest charger, receive notifications of their charging status and quickly make payments with their mobile device or through vehicle authentication.

“With Electrify America’s massive investment in EV infrastructure and network operations, drivers will be able to find a user-friendly, high-power charging station whether they’re traveling across town or across the country,” said Brett Hauser, CEO of Greenlots. “This investment is essential to moving the industry forward, as we work together to redefine what a charging network can be and how it can best serve drivers.”

About Electrify America
Electrify America LLC, which is headquartered in Reston, Virginia, will invest $2 billion over the next 10 years in Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure and awareness. The investment will enable millions of Americans to discover the benefits of electric driving and support the build-out of a nationwide network of workplace, community and highway chargers that are convenient and reliable. For more information and to view the national and California ZEV investment plans, visit www.electrifyamerica.com.

About Greenlots
Greenlots is building the all-electric mobility future by delivering the next-generation of grid-enabled EV smart charging solutions. We enable utilities, cities, businesses and automakers to deploy EV charging infrastructure at scale by offering real-time visibility and control of their charging fleet and transforming EVs into a flexible grid resource. Headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, the company operates in 13 countries spanning three continents. Visit www.greenlots.com for more information or follow us on Twitter @greenlots.

Electrify America Calls for Comments, Proposals and Recommendations to Inform Its Next Set of Investments in Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure and Education

Submissions to help shape the next 30-month $500 million investment period, part of a $2 billion commitment over the next ten years

Reston, VA (January 15, 2018) – Electrify America, which is building a robust national charging network and increasing electric vehicle awareness across the United States, today issued a call for comments, proposals and recommendations that provide guidance and data to help guide the company’s next set of Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) investments in California and across the country.

This investment cycle, the second of four 30-month cycles and part of a $2 billion commitment over ten years, will start in July 2019 and end in December 2021. This is an opportunity for governments, organizations and others to assist Electrify America as it updates its analytical models, evaluates new technology and public policy developments, tracks evolving consumer expectations and explores the value of new allowable ZEV Investments.

To assist in drafting Cycle 2 ZEV Investment Plans, Electrify America is specifically looking for the following types of input:

  • Suggestions and Data Relevant to Cycle 2 Investments – Inputs from governments or organizations that are helpful to the decision-making process including data for helping qualify appropriate new use cases or to place charging stations, ZEV infrastructure plans for individual communities and information regarding state and local policies designed to increase ZEV adoption;
  •  Education & Access Suggestions – Suggestions on Electrify America’s approach to education and access or specific events it should consider for participation;
  • Specific Site Locations – Site locations that should be nominated for consideration in Cycle 2 infrastructure investments;
  • Cycle 1 Comments and Feedback – Feedback on Cycle 1 National and California ZEV Investment Plans, including approaches to metro selection, highways included, evaluation of use cases and integration of new technology; and
  • Other – All other comments or submissions that relate directly to Electrify America’s ZEV Investment Commitment.

All submissions must be received by March 1, 2018 to better ensure consideration in the Cycle 2 ZEV Investment Plans. For more information or to submit proposals, please visit www.electrifyamerica.com.

About Electrify America

Electrify America LLC, which is headquartered in Reston, Virginia, will invest $2 billion over the next 10 years in Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure and awareness. The investment will enable millions

of Americans to discover the benefits of electric driving and support the buildout of a nationwide network of workplace, community and highway chargers that are convenient and reliable. For more information and to view the national and California ZEV investment plans, visit www.electrifyamerica.com.

For any inquiries related to Cycle 2, please email nationaloutreach@electrifyamerica.com.

SemaConnect Selected to Build Out, Operate and Maintain EV charging Infrastructure

SemaConnect Wins First Contract to Build Workplace and Multifamily Electric Vehicle Charging Sites as part of $2B Investment

SemaConnect has won the opportunity to help Electrify America build a premier network of workplace and multifamily EV charging stations in 12 cities across the United States. This investment by Electrify America is its first targeting multifamily and workplace locations and is part of Electrify America’s plan to invest $2 billion over the next 10 years in zero emission vehicle infrastructure and awareness.

SemaConnect’s award includes performing full lifecycle services for Electrify America, including project site selection, site design, EV charging equipment delivery, site construction and on-going network and maintenance services for the duration of the Electrify America 10 year program. In performing these program management responsibilities, SemaConnect will tap leading workplace and multifamily commercial property firms to identify host sites across 12 target cities which include: Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Portland (OR), San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

The Electrify America program funds the purchase and installation of EV charging stations as well as their maintenance for up to 10 years. “This is huge for the entire industry,” said Mahi Reddy, CEO of SemaConnect. “A rising tide lifts all boats, and this is something that will benefit everyone in the industry. It also helps consumers make an easier transition to electric vehicles. The more locations there are to charge vehicles, the more EVs we will see on the road.”

SemaConnect’s Electrify America contract also includes delivering SemaConnect’s smart EV charging equipment, cloud-based management software and network technology to participating workplace and multifamily properties. Since the start of the mass market EV industry in 2011, SemaConnect’s EV charging technology has established a track record of reliability and exceptional performance and has embraced open standards and interoperability.

About SemaConnect:
SemaConnect is the leading provider of electric vehicle amenities to the North American commercial and residential property markets. A complete EV support partner, SemaConnect delivers a truly modern property experience through innovative, elegantly designed charging stations and a robust and open network. The company has helped maximize property value and appeal through thousands of successful Class A deployments since its founding in 2008, for companies such as CBRE, JLL, Hines, Greystar, Cisco Systems and Standard Parking. SemaConnect remains the preferred charging solutions partner to municipal, parking, multifamily, hotel, office and retail customers across the United States and Canada. For more information, visit www.semaconnect.com.

EV Connect Wins Two Largest U.S. Markets from Electrify America

Contracts for New York City, Los Angeles, San Jose and Raleigh multi-unit dwelling and workplace charging

LOS ANGELES, CA, December 18, 2017 – EV Connect, a leading provider of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging solutions, which includes an innovative and robust platform for managing the entire EV Connect charging ecosystem, today announced that it has won contracts from Electrify America for multi-unit dwelling and workplace EV infrastructure in the two largest markets in the United States – New York City and Los Angeles – and the cities of San Jose, CA and Raleigh, NC.

Electrify America, which is investing $2 billion in U.S. electric vehicle charging infrastructure, selected EV Connect to acquire, install and manage at least 630 charging ports at multi-unit dwelling and workplace sites within the greater New York City, Los Angeles, San Jose and Raleigh markets. The award and subsequent agreement between Electrify America and EV Connect includes ten years of software, hardware maintenance and on-going management services for these locations.

“The New York and Los Angeles markets are not only the two largest cities in the U.S., but represent more than 50% of the current EV driver populations”, said Jordan Ramer, Founder and Chief Executive Officer for EV Connect. “We are honored that Electrify America recognized our significant presence and success in these very large markets, and entrusted us with these very important opportunities.”

Work on these projects has already begun, and all locations will be operational within 15 months. There are still opportunities for site hosts to take advantage of this program by contacting EV Connect. Additionally, EV Connect will make the data generated by the charging stations and some of its management capabilities available to a nationwide management platform being built for Electrify America. This platform will enable them to have visibility into the EV Connect network supporting these markets.

EV Connect’s deep experience in the management of large, multi-vendor EV ecosystems will provide an efficient, reliable and easy-to-use experience for these communities, the utilities that serve them and drivers that rely on a robust fueling network. As with all other EV Connect locations, the hardware and software used in this project will be built on an open, standards-based architecture. EV Connect is the nation’s largest and most successful provider of an open, standards-based platform for EV charging.

These awards follow the recent New York State Energy Research Development Agency (NYSERDA) Cleaner Greener Communities and California Energy Commission (CEC) West Coast Electric Highway program grants to EV Connect to complete key ecosystem build-outs in New York and California.

About EV Connect, Inc.

EV Connect is a leading provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions for commercial, enterprise, hospitality, university and government facilities. EV Connect developed and operates the industry’s most robust and flexible cloud-based platform for the management of charging stations and the drivers that use them. The EV Connect platform provides charge station-agnostic command & control; enterprise and energy systems integration via an open API; driver communications and support; and demand-response functionality across multiple charging networks.

Established in 2009, EV Connect’s customers include Yahoo!, Hilton Worldwide, Western Digital, ADP, California Department of Transportation, Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York Power Authority, and numerous municipalities. For more information, please visit www.evconnect.com.

About Electrify America

Electrify America LLC, based in Reston, Virginia, will invest $2 billion over the next 10 years in Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure and education programs in the U.S. Over four 30-month cycles, Electrify America will invest $1.2 billion nationwide (in states other than California) and $800 million in California, one of the largest ZEV markets in the world. This investment represents the largest of its kind.

Electrify America’s vision is to establish a premier ZEV charging network that is comprehensive, technically advanced and customer-centric — to drive ZEV adoption by reducing charging anxiety and increasing convenience. One of Electrify America’s guiding principles is to build a network that is economically sustainable for the long term. Our infrastructure investment, combined with our education and access programs, will enable millions of Americans to discover the benefits of ZEV driving.

 

 

ChargePoint Files Patent Infringement Claim Against SemaConnect

Complaint seeks injunctive relief for infringing on four patents focused on networked level 2 charging

 

Campbell, Calif. (USA) – December 15, 2017 – ChargePoint today filed a patent infringement lawsuit against SemaConnect, a manufacturer of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, alleging the infringement of four patents focused on networked electric vehicle charging. The complaint was filed in the District of Maryland and seeks injunctive relief and monetary damages.

ChargePoint has invested substantial resources over the years to create EV charging solutions designed with drivers and businesses in mind. With an industry leading patent portfolio, ChargePoint is committed to leading the way in developing the world’s most comprehensive suite of charging technologies that support the transformation to electric mobility. ChargePoint invented networked EV charging and holds the patents related to the technology. A hallmark of the company’s technology portfolio, networked charging is a significant piece of ChargePoint’s offering and a critical ingredient to its business. As with any company, protecting vital IP is imperative to the future success of the organization and its contribution to the marketplace.

“For more than a decade, ChargePoint has invested significant resources into the design, development, and manufacturing of a comprehensive suite of charging solutions for every driving scenario, with the ultimate goal of helping transform mobility for the better,” said Bruce Chizen, Chairman of the Board of Directors, ChargePoint, Inc. “This commitment to electric mobility has inspired ChargePoint to develop a robust patent portfolio creating technology that makes it easier for consumers to go electric while empowering businesses to support the growing number of EV drivers. Protecting intellectual property is key to ChargePoint’s success as a business.”

About ChargePoint
ChargePoint is the largest electric vehicle (EV) charging network in the world, with charging solutions in every category EV drivers charge, at home, work, around town and on the road. With more than 43,000 independently owned charging spots and more than 7,000 customers (businesses, cities, agencies and service providers), ChargePoint is the only charging technology company on the market that designs, develops and manufactures hardware and software solutions across every use case. Leading EV hardware makers and other partners rely on the ChargePoint network to make charging station details available in mobile apps, online and in navigation systems for popular EVs. ChargePoint drivers have completed more than 31 million charging sessions, saving upwards of 30 million gallons of gasoline and driving more than 732 million gas-free miles. For more information, visit www.chargepoint.com or contact the Media Relations team at media@chargepoint.com.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

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