GE Energy’s Industrial Solutions business unit unveiled its new WattStation and WattStation Connect electric vehicle (EV) charging station and software platform yesterday at the SAE 2012 World Congress in Detroit. Calling it a “complete, user-friendly solution,” GE said WattStation owners will be able to control the charging stations remotely, “giving them the ability to manage and set customer pricing for EV charging, provide access control at their facilities, generate valuable reports and engage with customers in new ways”
For users, GE noted the “sleek, stylish and modern designed WattStation pedestal EV charger is easy to use, customizable and features a retractable cord.” In addition, the company said the system lets EV users gather information and process payments with an easy-to-use, customizable, reliable and secure system.
GE pointed out that the WattStation Connect full-service software platform helps meet a variety of EV needs, from a retailer looking to attract new customers, to a commercial property manager in need of information on electricity usage to a fleet owner in search of better cost-allocation data.
"We worked closely with Hertz in the development of the WattStation Connect software because Hertz is at the forefront of electric vehicle deployment," said Michael Mahan, product general manager, EV infrastructure for GE Energy's Industrial Solutions. “Their global EV solutions in the U.S., Europe and China require the advanced, networked stations that we offer.”
Industrial Solutions stated it is forming data-acquisition agreements with key navigation companies to share information on the installations and availability of WattStations throughout the U.S. and Canada. This will enable EV drivers to view and locate GE’s WattStations; obtain directions to the EV charging stations; access pricing details, and determine whether a unit is available for charging. Along with global positioningsystems (GPS), the GE WattStation Connect data will be available over the Internet and via mobile app/devices as well as future in-vehicle (built-in navigation) systems.
The company also said it is “working with a well-known online payment company to enable drivers to safely and conveniently pay for charging fees through the WattStation Connect mobile app.” That app will be available for download in the coming weeks. “EV drivers can use the mobile app to scan the quick response (QR) barcode on the WattStation charger,” explained GE. “The QR code will identify the station and the pricing structure for that individual charger. “
The WattStation can be installed into any commercial, public or retail location. EV users will be able to use the stations at retail outlets, hotels, office buildings, and at institutions such as hospitals, public and private parking decks, as well as via on-street parking.
WattStation benefits, according to GE, also include:
· Combining functionality with a modern design by industrial designer Yves Behar, the WattStation pedestal uses smart grid technology and enables utility companies to manage the impact of electric vehicles on local and regional power grids. Its sleek interface with LED indicator lights helps to identify when it’s available for use, charging an EV or if a fault has occurred.
· The WattStation’s intelligent self-cleaning cord management system allows for use in a multitude of environments without compromising the life of the product. The cord is self-contained within the charger to keep it organized and out of the way when the charger is not in use. The cord only retracts when the charger is disconnected from a vehicle, preventing damage when the charger is in use.
· The upgradeable WattStation is designed to grow with its users’ needs. Its modular design simplifies in-field upgrades and ensures that EV charging facilities can expand without the need for costly replacement equipment.
· Three modes of communication (cellular 3G, Wi-Fi or Ethernet connections) provide WattStation owners with flexibility for communicating back to the WattStation Connect network. The WattStation Connect software offers the flexibility of different packages (fleet, corporate and commercial) and customizable payment options.
· The WattStation Connect mobile app will enable EV owners to locate stations, see station availability, pay for charging their vehicle and check the status of the charge while their vehicle is charging. The mobile app will be available at the Apple iTunes Store and Android Market. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology provides secure access to the charging station.
· Through the GE EV Certified Installer program, users can tap into GE’s network of service providers for the assistance they need.
· Placing safety first, with ground fault protection and NEMA 3R indoor/outdoor rating, the WattStation meets all UL and fire safety standards.
“GE has a full range of electrical distribution products required to support EV deployment and to move power from the grid to the road, helping our customers operate in a smarter, more networked world,” added Mahan.
“Whether you need durability, modern style, freestanding units, software-enabled or simple charging functionality,” he continued, “GE has designed leading technology for the delivery, management, conversion and optimization of electrical power and can connect you to the most effective, convenient solution for you.”
For more information on GE Energy’s EV solutions, go to its website.