Archive for the ‘Charging’ Category


Aug 22

Lear to Manufacture Chevy Volt Charger and Other Parts


[ad#post_ad]Lear is one of the world’s largest automotive parts suppliers and has been mainly focused on the production and sales of complete seat systems and electrical power management systems.

Earlier this week the company announced it was the exclusive supplier of the Chevy Volt’s 240-v wall mounted charger. GM has yet to announce which younger company will install the chargers for them, but the hardware will come from Lear.

Lear recognizes the importance of taking an early lead in the production of parts for advanced technology vehicles; they are developing parts for vehicles from mild hybrids through EVs.  “We won’t bet on a technology,” said Jeneanne Hanley, Lear Global VP. In fact 60% of Lear’s patents in 2009 were for technology related to hybrids and EVs.

GM and Lear began working in a collaborative partnership to develop Volt components from an early stage. Engineers from both companies have met every week for two years.

From this relationship the following Volt-specific components were created:

• A wall-charging station and a travel charger.
• The onboard charger.
• Wiring for low-voltage needs such as air conditioning and high-voltage demands like connecting the exterior charger to the onboard charger to the battery pack.
• The “disconnect,” a red button attached to the battery that would need to be pushed if the car is ever in an accident or serviced at a dealer.

GM and Lear’s cooperation in the Volt program has been unique as well as critical.

“This isn’t a traditional execution,” said Hanley. “We’re only going to have one shot at getting this right.”

Source (Detroit Free Press)


Aug 15

Detroit Utility Company Announces Special Electric Car Rates and Free Chargers


[ad#post_ad]Rather than oil companies, electric cars rely on electric utility companies to supply them with power. Not only does this give electric cars the advantage of running on home-grown domestic energy, but can offer a considerable cost savings over gasoline.

Utility rates throughout the country vary anywhere from 10 to 20 cents per kwh, which would allow the Volt to travel 40 miles on from 80 cents to $1.60. Some regions over lower overnight rates, as there is often excess production caapcity at those times, and cannot strain the grid which may be at or close to capacity during daytime hours.

Detroit Edison (DTE) has announced it is the first utility company in the nation to offer EV owners special electric car rates, after receiving approval from Michigan regulators. DTE is Michigan’s largest utility company and will provide the low rate and other incentives to up to 2500 customers though 2012.

EV owners will get a free 240-v charging station, dedicated meter, and $2500 towards the cost of installing the station. Owners will then pay either a low nighttime rate, or a fixed $40 per month. The company is considering the program an experiment to determine what pricing structure is most appropriate for EV owners, and to examine the effect of EV charging on the grid.

“We view — as do a lot of people — electric vehicles as something of the future,” said Edward Falletich, manager for pricing at Detroit Edison. “What this does is let us be privy to how much power is used to charge a vehicle.”

“We need to better understand the customers,” he said. “We just have very little information on electric vehicles.”

DTE has been working closely with GM to develop this program. “We’re seeing utility companies like DTE take a progressive step to incentivize people to drive electrically,” said Volt spokesperson Rob Peterson. “They give customers more reason to go out and test-drive an electric vehicle.”

These 2500 free chargers are in addition the the already announced 4400 free chargers Volt customers will be eligible for through DOE supported programs from charger companies Coulomb Technologies and EcoTality.

GM is expected to announce its Volt charger installation partner shortly.

Source (Detroit News) and (Detroit Press)


Jun 17

Volt Owners Will be Eligible for 4400 Free 240 V Home Chargers


[ad#post_ad]Having a 240 volt home charging station will allow Volt owners to fully recharge their car from a depleted state in about 3 hours.  Though not essential because the car can recharge in 8 hours at standard 120V, the more rapid charging is a convenience.

Thanks to support from the Department of Energy, stemming from the Recovery Act, GM has announced that a total of 4400 Chevrolet Volt customers will eligible to receive free 240 V home chargers.

The first 1800 are coming from Coulomb Technologies and $37 million in grants which was announced earlier this month. Those level 2 stations are earmarked for home use in Austin, Texas, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Fla., Sacramento, Calif., the San Jose/San Francisco Bay Area, Redmond, Wash., and Washington DC.  

Today, leading EV charging equipment maker ECOtality, announced it will be able to offer an additional 2600 chargers for Chevrolet Volt customers through a further $30 million grant and an expansion of the EV Project to include Los Angeles and Washington DC.  

In August ECOtality announced it had been awarded a $99.8 million DOE grant to be used for the installation of 12,500 level 2 charging systems and 250 level 3 fast charging stations in Phoenix (AZ), Tucson (AZ), San Diego (CA), Portland (OR), Eugene (OR), Salem (OR), Corvallis (OR), Seattle (WA), Nashville (TN), Knoxville (TN) and Chattanooga (TN) to support rollout of the Nissan LEAF.

Today’s announcement updates the arrangement to include GM Volt customers as well as those of Nissan, who will also get an additional 1000 chargers . The additional 2600 chargers will be installed for free in the home of Volt owners.  The 240 V chargers are on a 40 amp breaker and offer a nominal 32 amp to the vehicle.

“Many owners will plug their Volt into a normal 120-volt electrical outlet, charge overnight and drive to work in the morning using only battery power,” said Tony DiSalle, Product and Marketing Director for the Chevrolet Volt. “For Volt owners who want to install a faster 240-volt charge station, we expect the Department of Energy project to save $1,000 and $2,000.”

The program will collect data such as average charge time, energy usage and the starting and ending time of the charging process. This data will be analyzed by the U.S. Department of Energy to understand how electric vehicles are driven, how and when they are charged, and ultimately what is required for widespread adoption of electric vehicles.

“In addition to saving money, these projects offer Volt owners an opportunity to play a role in developing our collective understating of electric vehicles in the market,” DiSalle said.

The Coulomb and ECOtality chargers are distinct from the Lear-made Volt-specific chargers shown above that will be sold at Volt dealerships.

The Volt will come with a portable 120 v power cord standard, and buyers will have the option of a 240 Volt charger that can be purchased at dealerships.

Owners who live within the EV Project or Chargepoint America regions may apply for a free charger through Coulomb or ECOtality if they are willing to share their data with the DOE in exchange.

Source (ECOtality) and (GM)


Jun 03

Coulomb Technologies Offering 4600 Free EV Charging Stations


[ad#post_ad]Coulomb Technologies is a Silicon Valley start-up founded by former mayor of Cupertino and serial entrepreneur Richard Lowethal.

The company has developed electric car charging stations embedded with special propriety networking software that lets those stations communicate with a central office and utility companies as well as providing a billing platform.

In 2009 Coulomb sold and installed over 700 stations to 130 customers globally, and earlier today, they announced a huge new public infrastructure initiative.

The company will be providing 4600 free electric car charging stations for home and public use. The “ChargePoint America program” will provide charging stations to participants in nine regions in the United States: Austin, Texas, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Fla., Sacramento, Calif., the San Jose/San Francisco Bay Area, Redmond, Wash., and Washington DC in a strategic partnership with three leading automobile brands including, Ford, Chevrolet and smart USA.

The funds to pay for this $37 million program are coming in part from a $15 federal government DOE grant and an additional $22 million in other grants.  Coloumb plans to install 1000 new stations by the end of 2010 and the rest by the end of 2011. Of the total, 2000 will be for residential use and 2600 will be for public locations such as parking garages, retail centers, apartments and curbsides.

Chevrolet and Ford have committed to deliver electric vehicles to these regions through this timeframe including the Chevrolet Volt and Ford Focus Electric pure EV.

“The Obama Administration has set significant and considerable goals for the widespread adoption of electric vehicles in the coming years,” said Richard Lowenthal, CEO of Coulomb Technologies. “This grant will bring thousands of networked charging stations to nine US regions that are slated to receive the first electric vehicles from our automobile partners. These charging stations will build upon our already growing and established network of infrastructure and will accelerate the deployment of public and private charging infrastructure which will in turn encourage consumers to buy electric vehicles. Our Department of Energy grant, also known as the stimulus bill, was funded to provide jobs for Americans. Our products are built and installed with American labor. Every time we ship a ChargePoint charging station, three Americans go to work for a day.”

The Coulomb ChargePoint networked charging stations offer the following features:

  • Providing open access for all drivers using any standards-based RFID card
  • Generating revenue for station owners to offset electricity and maintenance costs
  • Sending SMS or Email notifications to drivers for charging complete or interruptions in charging
  • Controlling access to eliminate energy theft and to enhance safety
  • Integrating with the utility Smart Grid for demand side management and preferred pricing

Individuals or businesses that are in one of the nine locations and interested in signing up  up for a free charging station can register on Coulomb’s  ChargePoint America web site.  Installation is not free, though may be in some areas.

The charging stations can of course be used to charge the Chevrolet Volt through the standard SAE J1772 interface, and may be used in lieu of GMs proprietary charger.  GM hasn’t committed to rolling out the Volt in all nine locations by the end of 2011, but all those locations will have at least one of the three partnering company’s electric cars by then.

“Our priority is charging at home ensuring our customers have a positive charging experince,” says Volt spokesperson Rob Peterson.  “We are pleased that Coulomb and the DOE are working to enhance that experience.”

“Though studies show public charging can effectively double the electric range of the Volt, it isn’t necessary,” says Peterson.  “The Volt has its infrastructure under its hood.”

Source (Coulomb Technologies)


May 04

Chevrolet Volt on Track Towards Job One


[ad#post_ad]Job one is the term used in the automotive industry referring to the first vehicle off an assembly line that is intended for retail sale.

That Job one Volt is the one we have been patiently waiting for for over three years.

Ward’s Auto interviewed Volt vehicle line director Tony Posawatz, and found out things are on track, as well as some other interesting details.

“The hardware is pretty tight,” Posawatz told Ward’s. “All our testing shows we’re ready to launch at the end of the year.”

He also claimed GM is still planning for a November launch even though GM CEO Ed Whitacre recently said the car would launch in October, corroborating what he had told me in a personal communication earlier this year.

We know from former vice-chairman Bob Lutz that GM will specifically be building four thousand 2011 model year Volts from 4th quarter 2010 through 2nd quarter 2011. An additional four thousand 2012 model year Volts will be produced in the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2011.

Posawatz still would not confirm pricing but said it would be “in the 30,000 range” after the $7500 tax credit.

He also disclosed two interesting comments.

First he said the Volt would be the first GM vehicle to deploy the latest 9th generation OnStar system. Included will be the capability of turning off charging upon request of the local utility company if it finds the grid to be overburdened.

Second he stated that he was confident the Volt’s battery back would last twenty years. He expects the pack to live its first ten years in the vehicle but in some cases to spend its second ten years in post vehicle use. This would include home energy storage, back-up grid storage, and in other transportation applications such as electric scooters.

Source (Ward’s Auto, subscription required)


Mar 22

The Costs of 240V Charging


[ad#post_ad]GM has ingeniously designed the Volt for maximal customer convenience. Its usable battery energy of 8 kwh is large enough to provide all electric driving to 80% of Americans yet small enough to be recharged in 8 hours at customary common 110 V 8 amp current.

Pure electric cars have much more demanding charging requirements. Take the Nissan LEAF, for example. Its 24 kwh (21.6 kwh usable) battery would take over 21 hours to charge at 110V 8 amps. These cars thus require 240 V, 40 amp wall boxes to bring recharge times to reasonable time scales.

Though many newer homes have 200 or even 400 amp service, older homes may not, and therein lies some added cost for pure EV owners, as may running a 240 V line to the garage. Furthermore, wall mounted EV charging-boxes with SAE J1772 couplers will be mandatory.

Experts estimate the cost of these wallbox chargers plus their installation anywhere from $800 to $2000. If a new panel is needed to upgrade home service, costs as high as $10,000 could occur.

Though not obviously necessary, the Volt will optionally charge at 240V (16 amps) in 3 to 4 hours.  A wall mounted unit will be required.

Do you plan on installing a 240V wall-mounted charger for your Volt?

Source (New York Times)


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