Nissan and GE shared a booth at the SAE World Congress in Detroit recently to emphasize the way the two companies want to connects your car and various appliances to the emerging smart grid.

The common piece of equipment is the new WattStation, which is an electric vehicle charging station that – along with the companion piece of software called WattStation Connect – gives plug-in vehicle drivers "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." Some of those new ways include powering your home from your electric car, keeping track of electricity usage and having the charging stations (when used publicly) talk to navigation software to broadcast availability. Rental company Hertz was also involved in the development of the WattStation Connect software. You can see a video of the WattStation at the Congress down below.

Nissan was also proudly displaying a placard about the expansion of the CHAdeMO fast-charging protocol. It said that when the CHAdeMO association was established in March, 2010, there were just six CHAdeMO DC quick charger manufacturers, all of them Japanese, and only 192 chargers were installed globally. Two years later, at the end of March 2012, there are 33 manufacturers and 1,071 DC quick chargers installed around the world. Those are good numbers for the charging protocol, but a challenger is coming in the form of a new, eight-automaker-approved alternative fast-charging standard being unveiled at EVS26 this week. How these two options will battle it out in the coming years will be most interesting to watch.




Show full PR text
GE Energy Launches the Fully Networked WattStation™ and WattStation Connect Software, a Complete Electric Vehicle Charging Platform

Innovative Electric Vehicle Solution from GE Combines Connectivity, Convenience, Safety and Reliability in an Integrated Charging System
GE Energy's Industrial Solutions Business Works with Hertz® to Provide EV Users with a Secure and Easy-to-Use System
WattStation Charging Station Features Stylish Modern Design and Intelligent Retractable Cord

SAE 2012 World Congress

DETROIT -- April 24, 2012

GE Energy's (NYSE: GE) Industrial Solutions business unveiled its new ecomagination™-approved WattStation™ and WattStation™ Connect today at the SAE 2012 World Congress in Detroit, Mich. A complete, user-friendly electric vehicle (EV) charging station and software platform, the solution allows WattStation owners to manage 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. Now available, GE's sleek, stylish and modern designed WattStation pedestal EV charger is easy to use, customizable and features a retractable cord.

GE Energy is at work connecting people and ideas to create advanced technologies like the WattStation and WattStation Connect. EV users can now gather information and process payments in an easy-to-use, customizable, reliable and secure system.

The WattStation Connect full-service software platform helps meet a wide variety of EV needs, whether it is a retailer looking to attract new customers, a commercial property manager in need of information on electricity usage or a fleet owner in search of better cost-allocation data. WattStation Connect provides owners a user-friendly method to manage, monitor and maintain their EV charging ecosystem network.

"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 business. "Their global EV solutions in the U.S., Europe and China require the advanced, networked stations that we offer."

Industrial Solutions 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 enables 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. In addition to global positioningsystems (GPS), the GE WattStation Connect data will be available through the Internet, mobile app/device and future in-vehicle (built-in navigation) systems.

GE Energy's Industrial Solutions business 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. The 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. The QR code will identify the station and the pricing structure for that individual charger.

GE Energy's WattStation and WattStation Connect are designed to work within the EV ecosystem, smart electronic commerce and monitoring systems, making it energy efficient and providing customers with a no-hassle experience. The award-winning WattStation^1 can be installed into any commercial, public or retail location. EV users will be able to use this product at retail outlets, hotels, office buildings, institutions such as hospitals, public and private parking decks and street parking. Here are some of the benefits:
  • Combining functionality with a modern design by renowned industrial designer Yves Behar, the GE WattStation pedestal uses smart grid technology and enables utility companies to manage the impact of electric vehicles on the 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 the cord 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.
  • GE's WattStation Connect mobile app enables 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 to make their EV charging projects a reality.
  • Placing safety first, with ground fault protection and NEMA 3R indoor/outdoor rating, GE's 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. "Our EV charging solutions offer a variety of options that make sense for you and your community. Whether you need durability, modern style, freestanding units, software-enabled or simple charging functionality, 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."

To earn ecomagination approval, a product is evaluated for its ability to significantly and measurably improve the customer's environmental and operating performance. Green Order, a consulting firm, helps verify the rigorous, multi-tiered qualification process to ensure accuracy and thorough documentation of technological performance.

For more information on GE Energy's EV solutions, please visit its website, check it out on Facebook or follow on Twitter @GEindustrial.

Apple iTunes Store is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

Android is a trademark of Google Inc.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      Perhaps the nickname for this is the 'Muddy Waters' standard? ;-)
      goodoldgorr
      • 2 Years Ago
      There is minimum 5 to 10 different fast charger standard and there is 5 to 10 different or will be recently 5 to 10 different battery cars like the old tesla roadster, tesla model s, fisker karma, leaf, imiev, volt, homemade bev, coda, byd, reneauld fluence, focus bev, etc. So your chance of findind the right fast charger if you need it on the road is at best 5 multiply by 5 so it give one chance out of 25 to be compatible if you can trigger it with one of the 20 different method of paying for it with 20 different paying method. So to male it easy if you buy a leaf or a tesla model s or a focus ev you have exactly an impossibility to drive from new-york to atlantic city or from los-angeles to las vegas an even from los-angeles to san-francisco without battery depletion and you will probably have to find a 110 volt plug and wait 5 hours to recharge. This is the actual factual situation. All of that false pr and pipe dream is there because of the subsidies given left and right to a multiple of ' green policies subsidies takers'. 99% of leaf and tesla owners have a second gasoline car for reality.
        Tysto
        • 2 Years Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        It's my understanding that some of the level 3 standards can be converted with an adapter and that the Leaf comes with a few. This will only be an issue for a short time until a true standard emerges. Worst case, there is a different permanent standard in Japan, US, and Europe, as with some other technologies.
        lne937s
        • 2 Years Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        There is only one DC fast charger standard that has been deployed in meaningful numbers: CHAdeMO Nissan alone is deploying thousands of additional chargers this year. The vast majority of electric cars capable of quick charging (Nissan and Mitsubishi) use the standard. Unless the government forces another charger standard, the charger that is being most widely deployed and used is the one that will prevail.
          lne937s
          • 2 Years Ago
          @lne937s
          There is a simple way to look at this: GE is doing this because their products and patents touch virtually every aspect of the electrical grid. The rapid adoption of electric vehicles will make them money and is in their best interest. Nissan has a significant lead in EV technology and production capacity, which gives them a competitive advantage. The rapid adoption of electric vehicles will make them money and is in their best interest. Tepco (128 on the global 500) is one of the largest utilities in the world-- they sell electricity. The rapid adoption of electric vehicles will make them money and is in their best interest. The Society of Automotive Engineers is an organization comprised by engineers employed by the automotive industry, based in the US but with global membership. It represents the interests of engineers employed in the auto industry and is not an independant 3rd-party mertitocricy standards organization like ISO (International Organization for Standardization). Most of these engineers are not employed at companies that have a competitive advantage. Many of them have jobs engineering things that go away with eletric vehicles (multi-speed transmissions, fuel injectors, pistons, etc.). The rapid adoption of electric vehicles is not in the personal best intrest of the majority of SAE membership and will not make them moeny. Membership votes to come up with their policies. Forget about conspiracies... Do you think the majority of them will vote against their best interest.
          Laurence
          • 2 Years Ago
          @lne937s
          Jakey... Ever since Nissan developed and started producing quick chargers for less than $10k, the pace has accellerated. Nissan is installing 1000+ chargers per year in Japan alone, for 5000 by 2015. In Europe, no exact number was given, other than "thousands" this year and "tens of thousands" by 2015. It is unknown how many will be installed here. But realistically, once the SAE plug is set this summer, some real world testing will be in order. Then it will not be untill at least the 2014 model year before any car comes out with it, although it is not clear what pure EV would be produced in large enough numbers to justify a significant build up. Then you get the chicken/egg dilema, which slows infrastructure development and CHAdeMO already had to work through for several years before chargers were installed in meaningful numbers. If it moves forward, the SAE plug has a lot of catching up to do.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @lne937s
          @Spec: Assuming that what you hold to be a desirable outcome is what will happen is a lousy way of forecasting the future. Of course, in any case it is perfectly possible that the other car companies will peel off from their proposed standard, and adopt Chedemo, as that would mean that the relatively few cars they produce will have somewhere to recharge.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @lne937s
          "GE is doing this because their products and patents touch virtually every aspect of the electrical grid." GE is doing what? The Wattstation does not support Chademo. There are less than 200 Chademo chargers in the USA and the big 3 USA auto makers will not support Chademo. If you can't read the writing on the wall, I don't know what to say. Chademo is supported by Nissan, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Subaru, and TEPCO. Neither Toyota nor Subaru sell a Chademo car nor have they announced one. It is basically down to Nissan versus the rest of the world. You really think Nissan will throw away their investment in EVs by becoming a Martyr for a standard that just about everyone else rejected?
          JakeY
          • 2 Years Ago
          @lne937s
          "Unless the government forces another charger standard, the charger that is being most widely deployed and used is the one that will prevail." The government doesn't have to step in. Standards bodies like SAE and IEC (which back the CCS standard that will be shown in EVS26) will pretty much decide what will be used (just like they did for level 2). At this point 1100 worldwide (and about 30-40k EVs capable of using it) is not an insurmountable lead. In the US, CHAdeMO stations are just beginning to be installed and the number of EVs is capable of using it is ~10k. So in the US, I don't think CHAdeMO will prevail.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @lne937s
          There are no fast chargers deployed in meaningful numbers. 1,071 DC quick chargers installed around the world is not a meaningful number. It can be rounded off to zero. The government is not going make a law mandating one charger standard or another. However, the big three US automakers adopted a standard selected by an international industry standards body (SAE). Do you really think the US government is going to help that one or the one that mandates license fee payments to a private Japanese company? Do you want to pay royalty fees to TEPCO?
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @lne937s
          "Tepco (128 on the global 500) is one of the largest utilities in the world-- they sell electricity." LOL! Where did you pull that from? TEPCO is essentially bankrupt at this point. They are big but they are now merely a company propped up by the Japanese government due to Fukushima. They can't pay for all the damages and clean-up costs.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @lne937s
          Here is some history from the 1990s . . . MUSE - Japanese HDTV As of today, Japan is the only country actually broadcasting HDTV services. Approximately 30,000 receivers and 100,000 converters have been sold to customers of this service. It is widely believed that the establishment of this analog broadcast service essentially eliminates the possibility of starting a digital satellite HDTV service in Japan. ------------- So they had 130,000 customers . . . obviously it became the world-wide HDTV standard and there is no digital satellite HDTV service in Japan. Not!
          lne937s
          • 2 Years Ago
          @lne937s
          Spec, The broadcast standard is set by the government, not the marketplace. On the flip side, who is actually using broadcast HDTV? very few. The makretplace has shifted to other means to distribute TV programming. We as a society pay royalties to a companies from a great range of countries throughout the world for virtually every piece of technology we touch... You'll have to crawl back into your cave to avoid that. You could potentially use some 33 rpm records, but forget about every kind of digital music format. Currently, you can travel throughout Japan on quick chargers. More chargers are to be installed with CHAdeMO in 2Q 2012 than existed in 1Q. It is falling in place at a rapid pace.... all before there is a single real functioning charger with the SAE piggyback plug in existance with no cars that could use it anyway. And as electric cars only need to use DC fast chargers for occaisional long-distance trips and there are less than 50,000 on the road throughout the world right now, 1000 is a significant number. The 5000+ scheduled to be installed by the end of the year is even more so.
          JakeY
          • 2 Years Ago
          @lne937s
          Wanted to add also: if Nissan can install about 1000 per year, then they essentially have a 1 year lead right now, which isn't that long if you are considering long term infrastructure.
          lne937s
          • 2 Years Ago
          @lne937s
          "LOL! Where did you pull that from? " It is called Fortune magazine. Every year they publish a list of the 500 largest companies in the world. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/global500/2011/full_list/101_200.html And here is another news flash: GE makes more products than the Watt Station. They teamed up with Nissan to make grid integration equiptment for their CHAdeMO quick chargers, particularly in US vehicle to grid applications. No D3 automaker makes a quick charge capable electric vehicle that use the SAE plug. It makes no difference what vaporware vehicles hypothetically support. And the D3 do not lead in pure EV's... there is no realistic reason to believe they will all of a sudden start leading the pack in quick-charge infrastructure. They are just standing in the way of progress. Nissan will do whatever they can to accellerate the adoption of electric vehicles because they have a market advantage. Companies who do not have a market advantage will try to slow it down and use all their crony connections to do so. If those companies are able to manipulate politicians to their will, then Nissan will adapt. But you are a fool if you think those lagging companies are leading the market to better solutions.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @lne937s
          OK . . . let's play the other side. ChadeMO keeps going. But GM, Chrysler, Ford, BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, and Porsche refuse to use it because they go with the standard chosen by the dominant industry standards organization (SAE) and they are the majority of car-makers. We get a bunch of cars out there with 3 different types of high-speed DC charging. Aaaannnnnd . . . the EV biz is doomed. Yeah . . . that sounds awesome. That sound good to you? Is your goal for the EV biz to collapse? Sounds like it. Beta came out before VHS and it was technically better too. Beta had 100% of the market initially. People like broader coalitions and industry standards.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        Tesla will eventually cave and adopt the standard. They'll also create an adapter dongle that they'll sell to their existing car owners for $1K to $2K that will allow them to use the standard system.
          goodoldgorr
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Even if tesla sell some adapter to their customer it won't give you something great because you will have to install this at home for personnal use, what we are talking about is a fast charger put somewhere on the road that you can use and if it's not this adapter then you are cook and if it's not at a good place then you are cook again. There is one chance on one million to find a fast charger where you need it.
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Tesla will eventually cave. nothing more : ) maybe not. we'll see how well model S sales go pretty soon. when is the date for first delivery?
      Ron Wagner
      • 2 Years Ago
      Small electric cars will fill a large niche, but CNG vehicles, and hybrids will also become a large factor. CNG will dominate the large vehicles, especially with dual gasoline/CNG vehicles.
      • 2 Years Ago
      If the companies behind the SAE standard continue to release electric vehicles on the small scale that they are now and plan to, why would any of their fast chargers be installed on a large scale? Nissan is selling electric vehicles worldwide. So CHAdeMO will be distributed to the same markets, worldwide, so that Nissan vehicles can be charged-up. The companies that support the SAE combo plug have chosen a limited production, select-market strategy for EV distribution. Therefore, the SAE combo plug will share the same fate; limited production in select markets. Until the companies that PLAN to use the combo plug get serious about EV distribution, their cars and the plug will be a novelty.
      MTN RANGER
      • 2 Years Ago
      As I mentioned in the other post about the new SAE standard, I think DC fast chargers will be upgraded to have two connectors CHAdeMO and SAE on the same charging station. Here is a response to a Facebook question to Blink Networks regarding the new SAE standard: "We will start implementing the new SAE standard when vehicles start to roll out with the new connector. We are able to have two connectors on our DC Fast Chargers so we are excited for the implementation!" https://www.facebook.com/blinknetwork
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MTN RANGER
        That seems like an eminently logical solution to deal with the existing installed base. A second connector is not that expensive and the additional circuitry to support the two different systems is not much.
      marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      "How these two options will battle it out in the coming years will be most interesting to watch. Quick ! Form up sides, construct conspiracy theories, choose loyalties, fierce debate and name calling, anger and bitterness, shall prevail. DF, shall pontificate, others will draw complicated charts, conduct surveys, attempt to invest another way altogether,.... What's changed ?
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 2 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        what conspiracies? it's stupid v stupid and it most certainly wont be interesting to watch. it's painfully idiotically predictable that we will suffer their stupidity for years maybe decades. both are terrible and we can look forward to two terrible options battling it out and suffering the incompatibility inconveniences in the process. the conflict between these two stupids might not last long though but then we are saddled with one of the stupids. one can only hope that neither of these is the final design and that thought of revision will be entertained soon. given as Einstein said only human stupidity is infinite, that's unfortunately perhaps not likely. as I've said several times before, a combined plug with same power or even more can be much smaller and more elegant thus cheaper and more practical and more likely to be widely and quickly adopted. but as usual the obvious escapes humanity.
          noevfud
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          I have to agree. In tie another company will come up with a smart compact design.
          marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          DF, If their is no conspiracy now, you are just the guy to invent one ! Hey weren't you supposed to have produced a $20.00 charging plug ? That was nearly a year ago, what's happening ?
          skierpage
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          Your predictable pathetic ranting about everyone else's stupidity obscures a valid point. Tesla's SuperCharger plug reuses the same pins for AC and DC charging, still has pins for signaling, also goes to 90 kW like the SAE Frankenplug, and is compact and attractive. ABG never (?) had an article on it or Tesla's plans, but see e.g. http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1068292_tesla-confirms-rapid-charging-corridor-between-la-and-sf But I don't think Tesla seriously proposed it as a standard. The SAE fast DC bakeoff in 2011 was between CHAdeMO and the Frankenplug. There will be two "standards" and a better approach than either.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        I just want a simple standard adopted by everyone. It is not in any EV company's interest to perpetuate conflicting standards. At this point, Nissan should just adopt the SAE standard. They can support Chademo in parallel if they want. Perhaps stick to Chademo in Japan. It really REALLY sucks that there is a division. But the best thing to do is to quickly resolve it and move on. Do people think the American & German companies are being jerks and intentionally trying to slow down Nissan? Probably. But what is the best response? Creating full blown standards war? Or just adopting the standard selected by the majority of automakers and moving on? The latter seems to be the prudent decision. Ego and pride may cause them to adopt the first response but that may end up ultimately hurting them much more.
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