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Kia selects Greenlots to provide fast chargers and open standards networking for 2015 Soul EV rollout in US

GL Kia SOL-EV 2
Kia is partnering with Greenlots for charging of the Kia Soul EV. Click to enlarge.

Greenlots, a global provider of open standards-based technology solutions for electric vehicle (EV) networks, is partnering with Kia Motors America (KMA) and ABB, a global leader in power and automation technologies, to offer DC fast-chargers (DCFCs) at select Kia dealerships on the West Coast for the soon-to-launch 2015 Kia Soul EV. (Earlier post.)

Unveiled in February 2014 at the Chicago Auto Show and rolling out in the third quarter of 2014, the Kia Soul EV is Kia’s first zero-tailpipe-emissions car to be sold in the US. Also beginning in the third quarter, Kia will roll out Greenlots’ SKY Smart Charging platform to 17 dealerships in California. The new DCFC stations will allow Kia Soul EV owners to charge their vehicles from empty to 80% in approximately 30 minutes. Soul EV owners can find EZCharge locations via Kia’s UVO EVServices app or the 8-inch touch screen inside the vehicle, and pay for charging with their Kia ChargeUp card.

Soul EV owners will have their charging needs met not only through the growing number of DC fast chargers within the EZ-Charge networks, but also the capabilities that Greenlots is providing to our Soul EV dealers, allowing for convenience and range confidence in their charging needs.

—Steve Kosowski, manager of long range planning and strategy, Kia Motors America

The flexibility of the SKY platform will also enable Kia dealers to structure charging and incentives for non-Soul EV drivers, drawing them into the Kia showrooms, said Greenlots CEO Brett Hauser.

The partnership illustrates the increasing role interoperability among EV charging technology networks plays in meeting pricing flexibility demands from automakers and providing a seamless experience for EV owners, Greenlots said. Greenlots is one of the three founding members of the Open Charge Alliance, along with E-laad foundation (Netherlands) and ESB (Ireland). The Open Charge Alliance is developing the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) to provide an interoperable charging station-to-network communication protocol which supports the functionality required by today’s advanced charge management systems.

Leveraging Greenlots’ open standards-based platform, automakers such as Kia can determine their own pricing models, while allowing drivers to roam across a variety of networks through EZ-Charge, a network of public charging stations. Pricing structures and incentives for the Kia Soul will be announced in conjunction with its 2015 model rollout in September.

The announcement of the deal with Kia comes on the heels of the recently announced partnership with BMW to provide charging technology for its newly launched i3 and i8 EVs in Singapore (earlier post). Greenlots now will have open standards-based charging networks in more than 13 countries.

Because SKY is open standards based, Greenlots offers its automotive partners the ability to protect infrastructure in the face of future changes with a more sustainable solution.

—Brett Hauser

This would include the future incorporation of more powerful charging solutions, or wireless (inductive) charging systems, Hauser said.

Greenlots’ SKY is the only charging network to be OpenADR 2.0b certified and enables utilities and site hosts to work together on demand response programs, leveraging EVs as a grid resource and avoiding costly energy infrastructure upgrades.

Open Automated Demand Response (OpenADR) is an open and interoperable information exchange model and emerging Smart Grid standard. OpenADR standardizes the message format used for Auto-DR so that dynamic price and reliability signals can be delivered in a uniform and interoperable fashion among utilities, ISOs, and energy management and control systems. While previously deployed Auto-DR systems are automated, they are not standardized or interoperable.

More than 60 utilities and controls vendors have already announced or deployed OpenADR-based systems across the US and internationally.

Other smart grid standards such as SEP2 (home energy management) and Homeplug Green-PHY (Internet of Things) can also be integrated into SKY.

Everything we do as it relates to communications is based on open standards, just like OCPP for charging stations, OpenADR for demand response. For there to be a truly comprehensive EV charging infrastructure, utilities will have to take a great role. Our platform is an enabler to allow site hosts or utilities to have deeper, richer relationships with their customer base.

Where we see it going, is being able to provide a variety of solutions across open platforms, to allow people to define the relationship with the customer, but at the same time, moving the whole industry ahead with low cost infrastructure.

—Brett Hauser

Greenlots is headquartered in San Francisco.

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