A consortium of key industry stakeholders have united to help launch a national electric vehicle demonstration project and develop a representative model to help build broad-scale EV deployment.
The Electricfication Leadership Council, with an impressive roster of associated companies including FedEx, Hertz, Navistar, Azure Dynamics, A123 Systems, PG&E, ECOtality, Automatiks, GE Capital and others, plans to work in collaboration to foster EV readiness.
Focusing on a large-scale deployment of EVs within densely populated urban centers, the project will test and demonstrate interoperability with EVs and the electrical grid, as well share information on communication systems, energy storage systems and second-life applications for batteries.
"Collaboration is key to widespread adoption of electric vehicles; no one company can do it alone." said Russell Musgrove, Managing Director for Global Vehicles with FedEx. "We're very committed to sharing the lessons we've learned in our EV fleet deployments to create an EV ecosystem template that is replicable anywhere."
FedEx has been steadily adding electric vehicles to its fleet, announcing in June the addition of 24 new all-electric vehicles, more than doubles the size of its EV fleet at the time.
The ELC project will work with local and regional communities to help foster EV readiness by focusing on infrastructure planning, regulatory alignment, and public awareness.
"We've brought together companies who have the interest and necessary resources to work together," said Mark Aubry, vice president of Navistar's eStar Electric Vehicle Brand.
Noting while EV technology has been around for some time, Aubry said what's missing is an integrated infrastructure and compelling business model to bring the EV market to scale. "2012 is a make it or break it year for the electric vehicles," said Aubrey.
The coalition will initially use the demonstration project to study EV deployments for fleets and commercial applications in a number of local markets, announcing sites later this year.
In other EV news, Eaton Corporation, makers of public, fast-charging EV stations, is teaming up with Coulomb Technologies, developers of the cloud-based ChargePoint Network.
The agreement connects Eaton's Level II and DC quick charging Pow-R-Station charging to the ChargePoint Network allowing users to access to service plans and automated billing. As well, the ChargePoint Network mobile app allows EV users an option to locate Eaton stations, get turn-by-turn directions, reserve charge times, and even start and stop charging sessions from a smart phone.
"This collaboration with ChargePoint Network is a critical step to linking vehicles into the utility grid, offering multiple benefits to EV and charging station owners and consumers, including lower fuel costs, a higher return on investment and reduction of greenhouse gases,"said Tom Schafer, vice president and general manager, Eaton’s Commercial Distribution Products Division in a statement.
Electric car charge in city photo provided by Shutterstock