Being first to market during a time of rapid technological change can be a game-changing advantage. Now, two products are vying to be the earliest off the drawing board and into wide commercial use in the “smart” EV charging segment.
One new platform was just introduced this month. Developed through collaboration between plug-in charging provider ClipperCreek, based in Auburn, California, and building automation specialist Smartenit of in San Juan Capistrano, California, it is an electric vehicle (EV) charging station that can connect with smart meters in a home area network (HAN). The developers say the benefits of their ZigBee-certified station include the capability to measure a vehicle’s charging profile; and to control charging schedules so that the driver can take advantage of off-peak pricing.
"The ZigBee SEP 1.x profile, now in use in millions of smart meters being installed all over the world, has proven to be a robust protocol on which to base the HAN, a major part of the smart grid. We are totally committed to the ZigBee standard, and to making the HAN equally useful to utilities and to consumers," said Smartenit CEO Al Choperena, in a statement.
The ClipperCreek and Smartenit claim that their charger already is commercially available, and a pilot rollout of the station is expected to be completed within the next six months.
That actually may leave them in the dust, because last November, at the Australia and New Zealand Smart Utilities Conference, Melbourne-based Percepscion introduced its Charge IQ smart grid integrated EV charger. According to the company, the Charge IQ can communicate directly with smart meters within a utility network by sending signals and adjusting the EV charging load, based on the received request. This will enable electric utility customers to choose either high-cost peak or low-cost off-peak prices.
The ZigBee-certified platform was used as part of the Victorian Department of Transport’s Demand Response Load Control Electric Vehicle Trial, completed in late December 2012. This is expected to be available commercially shortly.
So, it’s time to place your bets—but there may be no real loser, because there is plenty of money in the pot to share. New York City-based Lux Research says that the market for EV infrastructure will rise significantly worldwide in the next decade. In 2012 only about 120,000 EV charging station units were sold. But by 2020 that number is expected to grow to1.3 million, increasing the market from $140 million in 2012 to $1.15 billion in 2020.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli