-Above: the Nissan “Leaf” Electric Vehicle (learn more on the Nissan/eTEC partnership).
With $99.8 million from the Federal Government, ECOtality is on a mission to make America plug-in ready.
There’s been a tremendous flurry of activity in recent weeks with President Obama’s announcement of $2.4 billion in grants to accelerate the manufacturing and deployment of the next generation of U.S. batteries and electric vehicles. We at ECOtality and our subsidiary Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation (eTec) are thrilled to be a part of that activity as the recipients of $99.8 million grant for the largest electrification transportation project in history.
Our history in electric transportation dates back to 1989 and we have worked on every EV initiative in North America since then. Today, through our grant from the federal government, we’re embarking on an exciting project to truly make America plug-in ready: we are partnering with Nissan to deploy 5,000 zero-emission battery electric vehicles and 12,750 charging stations in five markets across the United States.
This project will allow us to study EV use and the charging infrastructure supporting these cars to develop a mature charging environment for widespread EV use. We believe the lessons learned from these first 5,000 vehicles will allow for the streamlined deployment of the next 5,000,000.
We believe there are three key elements to making this Project a success:
First: a collaborative open-platform approach.
A collaborative open-platform approach to deploying EV’s and charging infrastructure is essential. That’s why we’ve assembled a team of over 40 project partners to help us implement this program. From state and local governments, to utilities, strategic industry partners and top-notch education and research institutes, we’ve got a tremendous group working with us to provide vital information about each market and to help us produce a roadmap that will aid in the rollout of electric vehicles around the entire country. Additionally, we recognize that every region and every utility has their own wants and needs, which is why we will test various different billing and revenue models for the charging networks amongst the different regions. We cannot afford to have a purely closed network at this critical junction of innovation and implementation.
Second: grid management.
We’re working with electric utilities in each market to develop best practices for charging to avoid overload. Off-peak charging and smart grid initiatives will provide extremely valuable data for these new technology applications and will allow EV charging to be part of a utility’s demand response program. Our grids have managed regular influxes of new loads over the past several decades from air conditioning units, computers and other electronic devices. And in many areas of the country, such as the Southwest, consumers are already encouraged to run dishwashers or do laundry during off-peak hours, so we’re confident that off-peak charging will become an accepted way of life.
Third: fast charging.
Though the average consumer drives less than 40 miles per day and the Nissan LEAF is equipped to travel 100 miles on a full charge, we know that consumers suffer from range anxiety when fast charge stations aren’t readily available. Our Project will ensure that fast charge stations are strategically placed in high-density, easily accessible areas so that consumers can charge on the go and extend their daily driving range. This flexible charge scenario is critical to consumer acceptance of EV’s and widespread use.
Teamwork, information sharing, and consumer education and adaptability are key to widespread EV use. The ECOtality/eTec Project contains all of those components and we look forward to rollout in 2010.
More on EV Infrastructure:
- The EV Infrastructure chicken-and-egg problem: Resolution
- The Race to an EV Future: Being First to an Electric Vehicle Grid
- Gas 2.0’s Great Electric Vehicle Race
ECOtality, Inc. (OTCBB: ETLY), headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, is a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies. Through innovation, acquisitions, and strategic partnerships, ECOtality accelerates the market applicability of advanced electric technologies to replace carbon-based fuels. For more information about ECOtality, Inc., please visit www.ecotality.com.