Multiple Electric Car Charging Station Debuts at Plugin 2010 Next Week

· · 11 years ago

Given the dearth of players in the electric car charging station arena—and there are really only a handful—the market for Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) is starting to heat up. Last week GE entered the fray with their WattStation, joining several other more-established players... and some not-so-established ones (complete list of EVSE companies). And earlier this week, electrical supply giant, Leviton, also threw their hat in the ring, announcing the "Evr-green" lineup of "plug-and-play" home and commercial chargers will debut at the Plugin 2010 Conference next week.

The Evr-green charge stations support both Level I and Level II charging, and will work with Coulomb Technologies' already existing ChargePoint Network of charging stations. Through an agreement with Coulomb, Leviton’s Evr-green stations—including home and public chargers—will be network-enabled by the ChargePoint Network and will allow Leviton customers access to the features of the ChargePoint Network. These include SMS or email notifications about charge status and interruption, charge station access and location services through smartphones and computers, and integration with Utility Smart Grids to provide the cheapest time-of-day charging.

Leviton has also developed a standard method of installation that they are calling an "industry-first plug-in prewire system" for their Level II chargers that enables consumers to make their homes “plug-in ready” prior to purchasing any electric car. According to a company spokesman, the prewire systems start at under $200 not including installation, but reduce installation times, lower installation costs and provide flexibility for any future upgrades.

It's not a complete do-it-yourself endeavor because the the prewire kits have to be installed by a Leviton certified installer, but after the system is installed, Leviton says their Level II charging station can be added by the consumer "without any tools." This system addresses the issue of EV early adopters wanting to conduct their own charger installations. In the case of the Nissan LEAF, the only option is to have AeroVironment come to your house and do the installation... without that you can't buy a LEAF. As time goes on, that situation will likely change, and the Leviton model looks promising to address that need.

The do-it-yourself, “plug and play” installation of the Leviton system seems to allow for a good deal of flexibility. In addition, because the system is a kit to begin with, Leviton says that it makes it easy to take the charging station and associated equipment with you if you move. Leviton has also thrown down the warranty gauntlet by providing a 10 year warranty on the EVSE. By comparison, AeroVironment's home charger has a three year warranty. In addition, because Leviton is already an electrical giant, they have a huge system of certified service people all around the country to draw from.

Not to be outdone by Leviton's and GE's recent announcements, established EVSE player, ECOtality, just announced today that they will be debuting a newly designed series of home and commercial chargers at Plugin 2010 as well. In the past, ECOtality has been known for having rather bland designs. Although they have a long history and are the general managers of the public-private EV Project that will install thousands and thousands of charging stations across the U.S in the next year, ECOtality was in great need of some upgraded designs. Perhaps their new stations—designed by global industrial design firm, frog design—will lend them some much needed hipness?

Both Leviton's and ECOtality's new product lines will debut at the Plug-In 2010 Conference and Exposition in San Jose, California from July 26-29, 2010. Who knows what other EVSE goodies are in store for us there?

New to EVs? Start here

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