With electric vehicle development charging ahead, the need to deploy the requisite support technologies is quickly grabbing attention, too. Today, GE and Better Place, a pioneer in creating a practical charging network, announced a technology and financing partnership to accelerate the global deployment of electric vehicle infrastructure. The teams will collaborate in four key areas: technology development, battery financing, electrifying corporate vehicle fleets and consumer awareness. GE brings smart grid expertise, advanced battery research and electric vehicle charging technology to the table while Better Place brings an EV business model that draws on both charging stations and battery switch stations, depending on a driver’s need. Their goal is provide unlimited driving range — which has been a historical hurdle to EV adoption.
GE’s EV charger, WattStation, was unveiled in July and is now stepping into the spotlight in this new national TV ad that launched on Monday.
Better Place’s network is designed to charge EVs at homes, work, garages and public venues. GE’s WattStation will be compatible with the network as the partnership will also help establish charging uniformity, which can be a problem in an EV world.
For example, imagine driving your gasoline car today and only being able to fill up with gas made by one company — and having to pay a premium to use another brand. That’s what would happen without charging uniformity. But in the network that Better Place envisions, when a car is parked, a charge spot synchronizes the car with the network to recharge the car’s battery. And when traveling beyond the battery range, the network directs a driver to a switch station, where a fully charged battery automatically replaces the depleted battery. The video below shows how the batteries are switched:
The work with Better Place is part of GE’s ongoing push into the EV research and product development space. GE is already working with advanced battery-maker A123Systems, which is a leader in the lithium-ion battery technology used in hybrid cars – and GE is also a venture capital investor in the company. Meanwhile, in April, GE and Nissan announced that they’re teaming up to research new technologies that will be needed in the car, on the grid and at home or work to make smart charging a reality.
To date, GE has invested more than $150 million to develop advanced battery technologies that will provide energy storage for several future product applications, including GE’s ecomagination certified hybrid locomotive, tugboats, mining trucks, and heavy service vehicles. And GE is currently building a state-of-the-art battery manufacturing plant in upstate New York.
This video shows the opening of Better Place’s Tokyo station:
GE and Better Place will also develop a battery-financing program that begins with a pilot project to finance 10,000 batteries in Israel and Denmark, which are the first two markets for Better Place.
|Henry’s ready to go: Their in-car charging screen is shown above. Source: BetterPlace.com|
* Read today’s announcement
* See more Better Place videos on their website
* Read an EV post by supermodel Bar Refaeli on Better Place’s blog
* See our interactive feature: “EV road trips: From Edison’s charger to future fleets”
* Learn about “Vehicle Projects Through the Years at GE”
* Learn more about GE’s investment in battery technology
* Read about GE’s investments in battery-maker A123Systems
Learn more in these GE Reports stories:
* “Unveiled: $200M challenge, EV charger, smart monitor”
* “GE teams with Nissan on electric car smart charging”
* “New York powers up with new GE battery plant”
* Read more smart grid stories on GE Reports
GE also recently launched its “ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid,” which is a $200 million venture capital commitment to find the best ideas from researchers, entrepreneurs and start-ups to develop smart grid technologies and accelerate their adoption. The 10-week challenge has already received nearly 2,300 entries from around the globe.