Under the terms of the agreement, Blink EV charging stations will be installed at 12 select Best Buy stores in Tucson, Ariz., Phoenix, Ariz., Los Angeles, Calif., San Diego, Calif., and Seattle, Wash. Charging stations at these stores, within pilot markets of The EV Project, will be installed by March 2011.
“As the private sector will ultimately drive consumer electric vehicle adoption, our goal has been to establish a charging network that is conveniently placed in familiar places to meet consumers’ needs. Aligning ourselves with major retailers is a key part of achieving that goal,” said Jonathan Read, CEO of ECOtality, Inc. “Blink is about charging where you live, work and play—it’s about making the electric vehicle lifestyle fit the lifestyle of drivers nationwide. In order for EV infrastructure to be a success, it is essential that private enterprises take an active role. Best Buy has shown true leadership as becoming a launch partner for The EV Project and exemplifies how corporate responsibility initiatives can directly benefit the customer experience, environment and society.”
As part of the agreement, ECOtality will initially install Blink chargers at 12 strategic Best Buy locations as part of the pilot program. Throughout the experiment, ECOtality will analyze real-world experiences of EV users to continually develop best-practices for creating EV infrastructure in a variety of regions. The data gathered from the Blink EV charging stations at the 12 Best Buy stores will provide a characterization of consumer charging behavior and identify potential incentives for EV host sites. Contingent upon the findings of the pilot program, ECOtality and Best Buy may expand the installation of Blink charging stations to include other store locations.
Based on the results of ECOtality’s EV Micro-Climate™ process in the pilot regions, the deployment of these charging systems will take into consideration geographic location, distance to major interstates and transportation routes, distance to other EV Project charging facilities and population density in making its decisions.
“We are excited to announce our partnership with Best Buy to host Blink commercial electric vehicle charging stations as part of The EV Project and believe these locations will be an ideal destination spot for consumers purchasing electric vehicles,” said Don Karner, President of ECOtality North America. “We are eager to work with a forward-thinking company like Best Buy to better understand the true business case and value of offering commercial EV charging access to their customers. Together, we will work to grow our network of commercial chargers and speed the adoption of electric vehicles.”
The commercial Blink Network charging locations will complement the residential Blink Network charging stations that ECOtality will install as project manager for The EV Project. The Blink Network is designed to allow EV drivers the freedom to travel wherever they choose with residential and commercial locations conveniently located at their normal destinations. Blink Network chargers are fully interactive with color touch screens, and connect to a web portal that provides users with charge status, statistics, history, and billing information in addition to ease of payment options. This information is also available through the Blink Network smartphone application.
ECOtality is project manager of The EV Project, and will oversee the installation of 15,000 commercial and residential charging stations in 16 cities and major metropolitan areas in six states. The project will provide an EV infrastructure to support the deployment of 8,300 EVs. The project is 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). The grants are matched by private investment, bringing the total value of the project to approximately $230 million.
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.