NRG Energy & AeroVironment to Build Nation’s First Privately-Funded Electric Vehicle Charging Ecosystem

November 21, 2010 by Jeff Shepard

AeroVironment, Inc.(AV) has joined forces with NRG Energy, Inc. to bring the first privately funded, comprehensive electric vehicle (EV) charging "ecosystem" to drivers in America’s fourth largest city. The ecosystem is an integrated network of products, services and payment plans that helps make EVs practical for drivers. AV is the exclusive provider of home and public charging systems, installation services, energy usage monitoring and payment and subscription solutions in support of the Houston ecosystem, which can be deployed as a practical, integrated model in cities throughout North America.

In addition to supplying, installing, and supporting smart home and public overnight and fast charging stations, AV will also provide the integrated data collection, communication and analysis systems that will power NRG’s eVgosmnetwork. NRG plans to invest approximately $10 million in Houston’s public charging infrastructure, including installing a minimum of 50 high-powered fast charging stations by mid-2011. The eVgo charging network will give Houston’s EV drivers ready access to charging stations along major freeways, in key shopping and business districts, at popular retailers, and in multi-family community and workplace parking areaswithin 25 miles or more of city center.

"This innovative charging ecosystem will make it easier for Houstonians to drive electric vehicles and contribute to a cleaner, more energy independent future for America," said Tim Conver, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, AV. "We are proud to work with NRG and its partners to introduce a comprehensive EV charging solution to Houston, and look forward to bringing this driver-focused model to other cities in Texas and beyond. AV shares NRG’s vision of the importance of EVs in creating a healthier environment, more jobs and investment in our economy, while helping to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign energy supplies."

"AeroVironment is playing a central role in creating this network and with it, bringing the benefits of electric vehicles to Houston," said David Crane, President and CEO, NRG Energy. "AV’s demonstrated track record in EV charging solutions will help ensure this all-important first launch is successful."

AV and NRG have developed a comprehensive charging solution that is well suited for NRG’s customers and is designed to make the use of electric vehicles convenient and easy.

These solutions include:

Level 2 Home Charging Dock – based on AV’s EVSE-RS+ model, a grid-connected residential (single-family or multi-unit) system that recharges EVs or plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and will turn drivers’ homes into convenient, smart refueling hubs. Grid communication will allow the Home Charging Dock to charge automatically or be pre-programmed by NRG or the driver for optimal power draw so that it charges when energy consumption and energy costs are lowest.

Level 2 Commercial Charging Station – based on AV’s EVSE-CS model, a public level 2 charging dock, this system incorporates a tamper-resistant interface and secure smart card access, making it ideal for municipalities, retailers, shopping malls and wherever cars are parked and available for charging. This charging system is designed to provide a safe, reliable charge for numerous electric vehicle (EV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models.

High Power DC Charging Station – based on AV’s EV50-PS, can recharge an EV in minutes using high-power, dc charging for busy drivers with very little time to spare. This charging method is similar to gas refueling, and the proprietary system is based on proven, fielded technology that has made AV the leading provider of mission-critical EV fast charge solutions to some of the largest companies in the world.

Installation Services – members of AV’s growing network of local, licensed, trained and certified electrical contractors provide home assessment, installation, customer training and support services to ensure easy and reliable operation and use of the charging network.

EV Network Services – in addition to residential and public charging systems, AV also provides data communications solutions that will allow individual subscribers to use any charger on the network, reserve charge stations for future use, and provide analytical tools and billing services for network operators.