Cisco Drives into EV Market with ECOtality Deal

Cisco Drives into EV Market with ECOtality Deal

Networking technology giant Cisco continued its push into the smart grid market yesterday, announcing a deal with electric vehicle (EV) recharging specialist ECOtality.

The deal will allow users of its Blink EV chargers to control and monitor battery charging using Cisco's home energy controller (HEC) software.

San Francisco-based ECOtality said it has completed the integration between the Blink Network charger interface and Cisco's HEC package, allowing drivers of EVs to monitor and control their energy usage at home and on the road.

"The Blink interface communicates directly with utilities to determine off-peak and low-cost charging times, and allows consumers to maximize energy usage and reduce costs," said ECOtality chief executive Jonathan Read. "Together with Cisco, we are delivering a solution that empowers consumers to adopt renewable energy and promotes energy-efficient technology that supports the deployment of the smart grid."

The partnership is the latest in a long line of deals designed to support Cisco's efforts to ensure its networking technology provides the foundation for new smart grid projects.

For example, the company recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Olympic Park Legacy Company in London that will see Cisco use its "smart+connected communities" technology to turn the Olympic Village into a high-tech, low-carbon residential area after the 2012 Games.

In related news, the company announced yesterday that it will invest $500 million (£312 million) to support the development of innovative technology firms in London's East End.

John Chambers, Cisco chairman and chief executive, met prime minister David Cameron and science minister David Willetts yesterday to launch the British Innovation Gateway -- an incubator project that will see Cisco host five annual competitions to find innovative start-ups and fund two innovation centres in Shoreditch and the Olympic Park to nurture small and medium-sized enterprises.

The precise details surrounding the competition remain sketchy, although Neil Crockett, Cisco's public sector managing director, told reporters yesterday that more information about the project will be released in the coming months.

He added that the innovation centres could house green businesses developing smart grid and smart meter technologies or new systems for reducing the environmental impact of transport.