More than a handful of Fred Meyer supermarkets located in the states of Washington and Oregon will soon feature some juiced-up parking spaces, courtesy of Ecotality's Blink Level 2 plug-in vehicle charging stations.
Melinda Merrill, a spokeswoman for the Portland-based grocery retailer (a division of The Kroger Co.), said that its Washington stores in the cities of Kent, Bellevue, Everett, Lake City and Alderwood are being evaluated to have charging stations installed, and these are scheduled to commence this summer. Merrill added that five or six stores in Oregon, some located along the state's Interstate 5 electric highway, will likely feature Ecotality's Blink chargers as well.
Ecotality points out that the Blink charging stations will need four to six hours to juice up a fully depleted battery and, therefore, are primarily for shoppers looking to top off. Plug-in vehicle owners are expected to do most of their battery charging at home, but the Fred Meyer-installed Level 2 units will provide a slight boost in range while shoppers spend some time grabbing goods and maybe picking the long line at the checkout.
Fred Meyer joins The EV Project and will install Blink Commercial Charging Stations at stores in Project locations in Oregon and Washington
SEATTLE – March 7, 2011 – ECOtality, Inc. (NASDAQ:ECTY), a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies, today announced the company's partnership with food retail chain Fred Meyer, a division of The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR). Fred Meyer will install ECOtality's Blink Level 2 Electric Vehicle (EV) Commercial Pedestal Charging Station at select stores within EV Project regions in Oregon and Washington. The deal makes Fred Meyer ECOtality's first food retail partner in the Northwest.
"ECOtality's goal has always been to install a robust charging infrastructure at the locations drivers already frequent, and we are pleased to welcome Fred Meyer food retail chain partnership for ECOtality and The EV Project in the Pacific Northwest," said Jonathan Read, CEO of ECOtality, Inc. "The Blink Network of EV charging stations creates a new lifestyle for EV drivers. We are committed to continuing to sign partners that will allow consumers to charge in places they already frequent in their day-to-day lives-where they live, work, shop and play. With our partnership with Fred Meyer, we continue to make the Blink lifestyle a reality."
As part of the agreement, Fred Meyer will become a commercial launch partner for The EV Project and will install ECOtality's Blink Commercial Charging Station at stores in EV Project regions located in Oregon and Washington. Stores being considered in the Portland metro area include Hollywood, Stadium, Walker Road, Gresham and Newberg. Stores under initial consideration in the Seattle and Central Puget Sound area include Everett, Alderwood, Bellevue, Lake City and Kent. Additionally, two new stores – Wilsonville, Ore. and Maple Valley, Wash. – will receive charging stations. Blink charging stations will also be installed on major transportation corridors between Seattle store locations and the United States border with Canada.
"Our customers have been clear that they want to take advantage of the emerging electric car market," said Michael Ellis, president of Fred Meyer Stores. "We are thrilled to partner with ECOtality to be the first retail chain to offer this service to residents of the Northwest. We've been doing business in the Northwest for more than 85 years and are proud to be part of such a progressive and sustainable community. This is a natural step for Fred Meyer and for our customers."
ECOtality will begin installing Blink charging stations at Fred Meyer stores in Summer 2011. ECOtality will work with Fred Meyer as well as relevant area stakeholders to utilize the Company's EV Micro-Climate™ process to determine which stores are suitable for installation. Factors that influence charging site locations include, distance to major interstates and transportation routes, and distance to other Blink EV charging facilities.
The Blink Commercial Charging Stations complement the Blink Home Charging Stations that ECOtality will install as project manager for The EV Project. ECOtality also marked today the installation of Blink Home Charging Stations at EV Project participants' homes in Washington, following last week's announcement of residential installations in Oregon.
The Blink Level 2 Commercial Charging Stations incorporate the smart elements of the Blink design and provide intelligent, user-friendly features to intuitively and safely charge electric vehicles, including fully interactive color touch screens and web-based information delivery via the Blink Network. A Blink Network smartphone application allows users to access charge station locations and GPS navigation, as well as charge status and notifications of completed or interrupted charging.
Businesses like Fred Meyer will be able to take of advantage of advertising opportunities available through the Blink Network. Coordinated advertising campaigns can be developed to display Fred Meyer content and promotions, increasing potential customers and extending the customer journey to the parking lot. In addition business and other entities, with or without chargers at their locations, can take advantage of the media and advertising opportunities of the Blink Network that will be broadcast across Blink chargers starting in The EV Project regions and generally available nationwide.
Additionally, consumers can yield greater advantages of The Blink Network by becoming Blink Members. The Blink Network of charging stations allows EV drivers the freedom to travel wherever they choose with residential and commercial locations conveniently located at their normal destinations. Any EV driver will be able to charge at a Blink station through a variety of options including interoperable RFID cards or fobs, smartphone applications, mobile phone based payment options, and credit cards, but membership does have specific advantages, including; discounted charging rates, reservation systems, and enhanced Blink Network capabilities.
ECOtality is the project manager of The EV Project, and will oversee the installation of commercial and residential charging stations in 18 cities and major metropolitan areas throughout six states and the District of Columbia. The project, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy through a federal stimulus grant of $114.8 million made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), will provide an EV infrastructure to support the deployment of 8,300 EVs. The grants are matched by private investment, bringing the total value of the project to approximately $230 million.
About Fred Meyer
Fred Meyer Stores, based in Portland, Ore., offers one-stop shopping at its 131 multi-department stores in four western states. Nearly 30,000 Fred Meyer associates help customers fill their food, apparel, and general merchandise needs in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Stores range in size from 65,000 to 230,000 square feet and carry more than 200,000 products under one roof. Fred Meyer donates more than 4 million pounds of food each year to food banks in its four-state market and contributes more than $4 million each year to communities across the Northwest through grants from the Fred Meyer Fund as well as product donations, cash donations and sponsorships. Fred Meyer Stores is a division of The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR). For more information, please visit our Web site at www.fredmeyer.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.
This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain as they are based on current expectations and assumptions concerning future events or future performance of the company. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are only predictions and speak only as of the date hereof. In evaluating such statements, prospective investors should review carefully various risks and uncertainties identified in this release and matters set in the company's SEC filings. These risks and uncertainties could cause the Company's actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements.