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Electric Car Charging: It's All In the Cloud

By EV World Editorial Staff

Skype video interview with Greenlots CEO Ron Mahabir on the introduction of their Sky V3.0 charging network service.

The build out of public charging stations across America has been nothing short of phenomenal. From a few hundred nearly-abandoned charge stations in California, hold-overs from the 1990s, the network of new charging stations has exploded in the last two years to 6,000 and is expected to reach 7,400 units by year's end. In April alone installations grew at a rate of 9%.

The early leaders have been ChargePoint (formerly Coloumb Technologies) and ECOtality (Blink chargers), boosted along by a sizable federal grant to help seed the industry. Some of these chargers are 'dumb' in the sense that they are simply refined, weather-proof outdoor plugs. The rest, however, are networked to enable better management and control of individual units. To access them, you need to be a member of that particular network, which often requires carrying a special smart card or keychain fob to open the charge port. The network also handles who gets billed for the service: the store offering free charging, the employer offering it as an employee perk, the owner of the EV.

These systems are a great asset to the EV world, but according to Greenlots CEO Ron Mahabir, they also don't allow for any flexibility on the part of the charger owner. Once you install, say a ChargePoint charger, you are committed to using their system.

Greenlots solution is their new SKY v3.0, which the company describes as a...

"…comprehensive electric vehicle (EV) network management platform for site hosts and EV drivers. Offering innovative features for network management, billing, fleet management and smart grid/utility optimization, SKY v3.0 integrates with leading charging station manufacturers to enable, slow, medium and fast charging systems. "

Mahabir sat down with EV World's publisher, Bill Moore, last week to talk about his company and their new open source, cloud-based management system that can be used on chargers from manufacturers like ABB and Eaton. There's also a brand new smart phone app that eliminates the need to carry a smart card. It finds the nearest charging station and then provides access, handling any billing through its 'cloud' service.

The two-part video of that Skype conversation is hosted below. To learn more about Greenlots, visit: www.greenlots.com.

Times Article Viewed: 6796
Originally published: 29 May 2013

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