Ikea, the world’s largest furniture retailer with a demonstrated interest in sustainability and environmental responsibility, has partnered with ECOtality, Inc. to bring Blink EV charging stations to 10 cities throughout the western United States by Fall 2011.
ECOtality will be in charge of installation and “ongoing charger operations”; IKEA’s role is to prepare the host site for the charging stations, maintain the sites in good condition, and send all charging data to ECOtality. There will be a minimum of two charging stations per qualifying store.
Blink, an EV infrastructure and EV product line owned by ECOtality, has already worked with restaurant chain Cracker Barrel to provide its DC Faster Chargers in Tennessee. The EV Project will provide a variation of these stations, as well as Blink’s Level 2 Residential Wall Mount Charger, (“Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment” or EVSE’s). Data collected from residential charging could be crucial to the project’s aim, as most charging will probably take place in the home. Home charging stations are still expensive. The EV Project offered qualifying EV owners a free home charging station and a credit up to $1,200 for installation in exchange for data collection. Never seen a Blink charging station? Check out the video, below.
ECOtality manages the EV Project, a public and privately-funded campaign (half of the $230 million invested in the project comes from the U.S. Department of Energy), with the aim of providing necessary infrastructure for the coming wave of electric vehicles. It will deliver 14,000 chargers to commercial locations like IKEA and EVSE’s to homes in 18 major cities and metropolitan areas.
The EV Project is designed to collect and evaluate data about electric vehicle use in diverse conditions (the states vary from Oregon to Texas), charge infrastructure. The EV Project hopes to learn as much as possible about the participating Chevrolet Volts and Nissan LEAF electric vehicles in order to facilitate the future mass deployment of electric vehicles.
No word on which cities will be enjoying the Blink electric vehicle charging station yet; criteria for installation needs and feasibility need to be met. The pilot program will last through December 2012, so keep your eyes peeled and let us know if the IKEA store in your city has one!
Source: ECOtality, Inc.