Smart Grid Watch
A New Paradigm in EV Charging - More Convenient, Less Expensive
I had the pleasure this week at LinkedIn’s global headquarters of helping to introduce a radical new concept in electric vehicle charging.
FreeWire Technologies, Inc. is piloting its invention, the Mobi Charger™, to provide EV charging to LinkedIn’s employees. Mobi Charger turns traditional charging on its head by bringing the charger to the car – instead of the driver bringing the car to the charger. Siemens is a partner in the project, providing the data collection, management, and energy billing services via the Siemens eCar Operations Center cloud offering.
Traditional EV-charging options require high infrastructure investments, with their need for trenching, laying electrical cables, installing charging stations, and other construction costs. Not to mention the delay and hassles of planning and permitting, challenges that are further complicated on leased commercial property. With mobile charging, none of this is required.
A second benefit is flexible capacity. A traditional station supports one car at a time, perhaps two or three per day, and planners can’t be sure of how many stations to build. And valuable parking spaces are wasted when the stations are not in use. Mobile chargers can handle up to six or more cars per day, can service them anywhere in the lot, and can be added (or subtracted) without construction delays as quickly as needed to meet growing demand. In fact, with Siemens’ VersiCharge technology, the Mobi can charge five cars per day and use lower-cost, off-peak energy – including night-time wind power.
FreeWire is working with corporate campuses today, but another potential application is apartment buildings and other multi-family premises. One could also imagine providing the mobile charging at public places such as shopping centers and parking garages – possibly even at on-street parking spaces.
While meeting the project participants at LinkedIn, I was truly impressed with LinkedIn’s commitments to their employees and to sustainability. The company is providing EV charging at no cost to its staff. Moreover, LinkedIn has a transportation coordinator who works with each new employee to assist them with commuting options to both make the employee’s life easier and also to minimize each one’s contribution to carbon emissions.
Look for some exciting results to come soon from the project.