With the technology inside of the next generation of electric vehicle chargers standardized, one way charging companies can differentiate themselves from the herd is by unveiling interesting designs. Ttackhat's the tack that GE used recently with the WattStation and it's also what Ecotality did with the just-unveiled Blink charging stations. During the Plug-In 2010 Conference in San Jose, CA , Ecotality made sure to point out the two-part, two-tone look of the Blink units, emphasizing that the design is meant to be timeless and therefore useable into the 2nd or 3rd generation. The Blink has simple colors – black and white – and shapes – round and rectangular – while the circular cord holder is intended to remind the user of hanging up a garden hose. The Blink will be available in both home and commercial charging versions and were designed by Frog Design.
Usability, too, is meant to be slick. The cord is flexible even at low temperatures. The small touch screen can be used to set charge times and the whole unit is connected and so can talk to the smart grid. Ecotality has big hopes for the Blink, as made clear with the phrase uttered during the press conference: "Every day, you blink 20,000 times. A year from now, there will be 20,000 Blink chargers installed nationwide."
ECOtality Introduces Blink The First Smart, Interactive, Iconic EV Chargers and Network
Intelligent, Connected National EV Infrastructure Offers Products for Residential, Utility and Retail Customers
Plug-In 2010, SAN FRANCISCO – Tuesday, July 27, 2010 – ECOtality, Inc. (NASDAQ:ECTY), a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies, today unveiled its flagship electric vehicle charging stations: Blink. The first truly smart chargers to hit the market, the Blink Level 2 charging stations will be available in two models- one, an in-home residential wall-mount unit and the second, a commercial stand-alone charger. They are designed to be the centerpiece of the rich EV charging infrastructure system that will pave the way to long-term success in the adoption of electric vehicles in the United States and around the world.
"Blink is more than a place to plug in a car-it is the fulcrum between the driver, car, home and utility. This high level of interactivity built into our system sets Blink chargers apart from anything else on the market and is key to driving consumer EV adoption," said Jonathan Read, CEO of ECOtality. "Never before has consumer demand been so high and the market potential so large for EVs. By introducing a charger that is simply smarter and really connected, ECOtality and our partners are setting a new industry standard."
ECOtality worked with global innovation firm frog design to set a new precedent for electric vehicle chargers.
"We are thrilled to partner with ECOtality to design and bring to market the Blink family of EV chargers," said Paul Bradley, executive creative director for frog design. "Blink adds a human touch to complex technology. The design has a familiar graphic and functional simplicity that will help to integrate electric vehicles into consumers' lives, and represents a new icon for a smart EV ecosystem."
The chargers offer significant improvements over previous charging stations and are well positioned in a market that is expected to grow to $1.5 billion by 2015, according to a recent Pike Research report on the electric vehicle equipment supply industry. Blink's robust, interactive, networked platform communicates directly with the major stakeholders in EV adoption: consumers, utilities and points of installation, such as retailers. Additionally, the chargers work in conjunction with smart grid systems, and their integrated communication capabilities will be a key part of utilities' demand response solution.
The first Blink charging stations will be installed in Fall 2010 as part of The EV Project. As project manager of The EV Project, ECOtality will deploy nearly 15,000 charging stations in 16 cities across six U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia. The $230 million public-private initiative is funded in part with a $114.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
"We're at a pivotal point propelled by large government investment in The EV Project and unparalleled consumer demand. We're drawing on our years of experience to provide a product that exceeds consumer expectations and facilitates widespread adoption of electric driving," said ECOtality North America President Don Karner. "We've taken the lessons learned from our over two decades of electric vehicle infrastructure experience and applied them to create a charging infrastructure network that emphasizes station location, charger communication and user experience. Blink solves the issues targeting key transportation corridors, overcoming consumer concerns."
Charging Your EV at Home
Blink was designed to emulate drivers' habits and integrate seamlessly into their lifestyle. Drivers will pull up to their home, garage or carport, plug in their car-and walk away. The Blink Level 2 charger delivers a full charge in two to six hours, can be programmed to charge the car when electricity rates are the lowest, and will link to participating utilities and be controlled remotely through smart phone and web applications.
Charging Your EV on the Go
Just as Blink home chargers were designed to integrate easily with drivers' existing lifestyles, an extensive amount of consumer behavior analysis and market research guided both the design and location decisions for the commercial chargers. EV drivers will simply travel to their normal destinations-movie theaters, shopping malls, coffee shops and retailers-pull up and charge.
The Blink system is fully interactive with color touch screens delivering information, third-party media and connectivity to network headquarters. Through its ability to operate a national network, as well as enterprise networks, Blink will provide an array of applications for monetization of the charging space for host and network operator alike.
Both Level 2 units are connected to 240V AC circuits and Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a partner in The EV Project, is currently in the process of testing the units to certify them to UL's uncompromising safety requirements.
Additional information about the units is included in the product spec sheets, available for download on the new Blink website: www.blinknetwork.com.
About ECOtality, Inc.
ECOtality, Inc. (NASDAQ:ECTY), headquartered in San Francisco, California, is a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies. Through innovation, acquisitions, and strategic partnerships, ECOtality accelerates the market applicability of advanced electric technologies to replace carbon-based fuels. For more information about ECOtality, Inc., please visit www.ecotality.com.
About frog design
frog design is a global innovation firm and works with the world's leading companies, helping them to create and bring to market meaningful products, services, and experiences. frog's multidisciplinary process reveals valuable consumer and market insights and inspires lasting, humanizing solutions. With a team of more than 500 designers, technologists, strategists, and analysts, the company delivers fully convergent experiences that span multiple technologies, platforms, and media. frog works across a broad spectrum of industries, including consumer electronics, telecommunications, healthcare, energy, automotive, media, entertainment, education, finance, retail, and fashion. Clients include Disney, GE, HP, Intel, Microsoft, MTV, Qualcomm, Siemens, and many other Fortune 500 brands. Founded in 1969, frog is headquartered in San Francisco, with studios in Amsterdam, Austin, Milan, Munich, New York, Seattle, and Shanghai. frog design is an independent division of Aricent, a global innovation, technology, and outsourcing company, focused exclusively on communications. Aricent is owned by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Sequoia Capital, The Family Office, and CPP Investment Board. frog is a Global Growth Company member of the World Economic Forum.
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