BMW to partner with Coulomb Technologies in Boston; Coulomb offering new cloud-based service plans, new dual-port charging stations
BMW of North America and Coulomb Technologies announced that drivers of the BMW ActiveE all-electric vehicle (earlier post) will be able to take advantage of the expansion of the ChargePoint Network into the Boston Metro area. More than 150 charging stations for EVs are now being installed in the State through Coulomb’s $37-million ChargePoint America Department of Energy program.
The charging stations will be located in the Boston metropolitan area, primarily within the Route 495 Beltway. Drivers of the BMW ActiveE will be able to recharge their electric vehicle at any ChargePoint Network-enabled electric vehicle charging station in the US. Drivers have access to the ChargePoint Network’s 24/7 driver support and mobile phone applications, which include station location and real-time availability, turn-by-turn navigation, and charging status.
The BMW ActiveE is the BMW Group’s next step towards a mass-produced electric vehicle. Within the framework of project i, the BMW Group has been carrying out research and development work on the development of electrically powered vehicles. The ultimate goal is the concept of a Megacity Vehicle, the BMW i3 that meets the demands of a sustainable mobility solution for congested urban areas. (Earlier post.) For this reason, the drive components and battery technology that will be used in the i3 are being tested in the BMW ActiveE.
Ongoing field tests involving more than 600 MINI E cars, including 450 in the US, have already provided knowledge about the demands on future electrically powered production vehicles. A fleet of more than 1000 BMW ActiveE vehicles will provide further valuable insights into the everyday use of the vehicle. The ActiveE will be available for lease in the metropolitan markets of Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, New York and Boston as well as the state of Connecticut beginning in Fall 2011. The findings will serve to deepen the knowledge already gained on the everyday use of electric vehicles and to learn more about customer requirements. The feedback from customers testing the MINI E and the BMW ActiveE will be fed directly into series production of the i3, which is scheduled to launching under the i Brand in 2013.
Following the MINI E, the BMW ActiveE is the BMW Group’s second electric vehicle made available to consumers. With output of 170 hp (112 kW) and maximum torque of 184 lb-ft (250 N·m), the car accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in under nine seconds (preliminary). At the same time, newly developed lithium-ion batteries facilitate a vehicle range of around 100 miles (161 km) in everyday driving. The BMW ActiveE incorporates a pilot series version of the same drive train and batteries planned for the i3.
Cloud-Based ChargePoint Network service plans
Separately, Coulomb announced a new family of cloud-based solutions for managing electric vehicle (EV) charging operations. Each service plan provides a turnkey solution that includes granular control of charging stations and their operations, data analysis tools for measuring and managing success, flexible billing and payment options, and the deployment and low operational expenses of a cloud-based solution.
The ChargePoint service plans provide a rapid way for station owners to get their charging station operations deployed. The new family of cloud-based services includes a plan tailored for each of the following segments:
Employers who want to provide a benefit to employees while also making a contribution to air quality and to the community: Employers such as Google and SAP can now control station access for their employees, track the success of sustainability initiatives including greenhouse gas and gasoline avoidance, and decide whether and what drivers will be charged without having to be involved in the transaction processing or billing.
Businesses that want to attract EV drivers, provide a unique service to their customers, and enhance their reputation as a steward of the environment: Commercial businesses, including Starwood Resorts and Buffalo Wild Wings can now: attract new customers from the world’s largest network of EV drivers; provide flexible payment options and the ability to make reservations; and can track customer usage patterns as well as energy use, costs and revenues.
Utilities that want to offer charging services in a way that is integrated with existing operations giving them the flexibility to manage the grid: Utilities, including Orlando Utilities Commission and Austin Energy can now manage every aspect of their charging operations and gain visibility into EV driver charging trends.
Included with all the ChargePoint service plans are driver services. These include 24/7 driver support, driver billing options and mobile phone applications that provide drivers with real-time station location and availability, turn-by-turn navigation, and charging status.
Open to all charging station manufacturers, Coulomb’s ChargePoint Network is currently charging more than 26,000 vehicles per month, dispensing more than 115 Megawatt hours (MWh) of energy each month, and doubling the electric transportation fuel dispensed each quarter.
New dual port Level 2 charging stations. At Plug-in 2011, Coulomb Technologies also introduced new members of its ChargePoint Network Charging Station lineup with dual-port Level 2 CT2020 models: the CT2021 and CT2025. Both products provide two 7.2 kW (208/240 V @ 30 A) Level 2 charging ports and are designed for the North American marketplace. With the CT2025, charging is delivered via two standard SAE J1772 connectors attached to self-retracting cords.