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Partnerships Aim to Accelerate EV, Smart Grid Development

While GE and Better Place have teamed up to accelerate the global deployment of electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure, with one goal of converting corporate fleets to electric vehicles as a way to lower cost and carbon emissions, Hitachi and Panasonic’s partnership is aimed at creating smart communities.

The collaboration between GE and Better Place, an EV services provider, is focused on four key areas: standards-based technology development, battery financing, joint fleet electrification programs and consumer awareness.

The partnership leverages GE’s global and broad technology portfolio, smart grid expertise, and its new WattStation electric vehicle charger with Better Place’s EV services and infrastructure solution to create scalable solutions that power electric vehicles for nearly all consumers and fleet owners.

GE’s WattStation will be compatible with the Better Place network, enabling consumers to manage charging costs under Better Place’s network, while charging their vehicles using GE’s WattStation. It will guarantee that drivers can “roam” from one charge point to another under one seamless transaction for faster charging.

GE and Better Place also will develop a battery financing program that begins with a pilot project to finance 10,000 batteries in Israel and Denmark, which are the first two markets for Better Place.

The companies also are collaborating to target fleet owners for pilot projects to test a comprehensive fleet electrification offering model in major city centers and connecting highways. The goal is to convert corporate fleet owners to electric fleets, delivering a lower cost of ownership while reducing carbon emissions.

Target pilot locations include cities in North America, including the San Francisco Bay Area, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Ontario, Canada, as well as cities in Europe, Asia and Australia. Better Place is already working towards initial network deployments in these markets, beginning in 2011.

Better Place and GE, as part of its ecomagination initiative, also will focus on raising consumer awareness to understand the economic and environmental value of electric vehicles and the infrastructure required for adoption.

The Hitachi and Panasonic agreement is focused on interface development and standardization initiatives to commercialize community energy management systems (CEMS) and home energy management systems (HEMS) to drive the development of “smart” communities. Hitachi brings to the table its expertise in CEMS technologies, while Panasonic offers HEMS technologies.

The companies say in order to create these smart communities, which use information and telecommunication technologies to link power systems based on smart grids, all systems ranging from the energy supply side to the energy demand side must be linked.

CEMS link and manage the supply side — the main electricity grid beginning from power generation facilities, including wind power, large-scale photovoltaic solar power, and other renewable energy systems — and various demand side systems in detached houses, condominiums, office buildings and elsewhere including such systems as electric vehicle (EV) charging, while HEMS connect home appliances, photovoltaic solar power generators, home-use EV chargers, storage batteries and other facilities and equipment to support energy conservation.

Their goal is to jointly develop international standard interfaces for CEMS and HEMS through projects such as the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City project. Hitachi is already providing environmental technologies and solutions for this eco-city project currently under development on the outskirts of Tianjin, China. The two companies will also share market information on CEMS- and HEMS-related businesses.

Seven national smart-grid organizations recently launched the Global Smart Grid Federation (GSGF) to promote best practices and to help accelerate the deployment of smart grid around the world. GSGF will work with government policymakers to execute a national agenda on smart grid, helping governments understand these challenges, including consumer engagement, innovation and capacity building.

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2 thoughts on “Partnerships Aim to Accelerate EV, Smart Grid Development

  1. We are impressed with Better Place and its ambitious business plan! However, for the foreseeable future the electric car business will largely depend on these types of joint ventures and most important government subsidies for their survival. On top of financial issues, technical issues with current battery-powered cars include their range and the time it takes to recharge empty batteries.

  2. A 100 mile range for EVs is more than enough distance for most average American commutes… level III charging drops charge times down to well less than an hour for most production planned vehicles – and that’s from empty to full charge. Again, most people will only need a top-up throughout the day.

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