Greenlots is serious about letting electric car drivers charge anywhere without concern for which network you are using. The electric car company founded in 2008 has headquarters in the US and has focused on smart charging and network management. See our Better Place Files For Bankruptcy article.
What’s The Big Deal? Greenlots has a lot to offer by embracing open standards, coming with a new version of its software which releases at end of this month. So far Greenlots has attracted serious financing with investors such as the Singapore Government and SPI. It is present in 13 countries, and has worked with BMW, Mercedes on smart grids and vehicle to grid (V2G) systems. For those of you who are not aware, an electric car and even a plug-in hybrid can power your house for some time (up to a few days) during an emergency. The car battery pack can feed your home with electricity via a vehicle-to-home (V2H) system, similar to V2G.
Yet what makes Greenlots especially appealing is that the company is focused on open standards, such as OCPP, the open charge point protocol. OCPP was in Europe when Dutch utilities saw the need for open standards. The advantages of open standards are enormous for electric car drivers. Having one central clearing house can be dangerous. It could easily become a complete monopoly and lock down the electric car charging business. We can see the dangers of monopolies daily, something every electric car owner would want to avoid at this early stage of the game. With a central clearing house and various standards, companies would make money on roaming fees when users are forced to charge on other networks. Greenlots decided to work with EPRI early on and focus on open standards to support fleets – Onstar, and Nissan, to name a few.
One Stop Shop and a Modular Approach. Greenlots offers the possibility to engage in direct sales, customer support and more. In many ways, Greenlots is billing itself as a full house solution with ability for its clientele to only use partial modules. Based on customer needs, Greenlots customers could choose to let it take care of everything or integrate modules into their existing platforms. What this means is flexibility for current in-use platforms with flexible billing and flexible chargers, such as Level 1, 2, and 3. It even includes the widely used QR codes to facilitate operations. Greenlots’ app shows all networks and allows any electric car driver to charge anywhere, any time while being billed only once.
The ATM Mess. If none of this makes sense to you, think about the ATM mess we have on our hands. If you are at a credit union, getting cash out of an ATM from a regular bank can become expensive and vice-versa. If the banking system had embraced open standards, users wouldn’t pay so much in fees for what boils down to electronic transfers of IOUs. Greenlots would support any credit card swipe anywhere, something BC Hydro is already working on.
Greenlots’ system and app will allow what we come to expect these days, the capacity to opt in for notifications when your electric car has finished charging or if the cable has been unplugged before the end. Greenlots’ mobile app will also be able to make a reservation with a queuing system. This could also help the growing trend of charge to squatting, where electric car drivers park for free even after having fully charged.
As far as competition? We would say ChargePoint, Ecotality, and IBM would be on the radar bleep but if Greenlots achieves truly open standards, this would free electric car drivers to charge anywhere and get billed at the end of the month regardless what network they used or this roaming fee nonsense. You might have noticed a trend in the electric car charging network to talk about open standards. Talking is easy and open standards can mean many things but if Greenlots can pull off a truly open OCPP enabled platform, this would mean freedom for electric drivers to charge anywhere and not give it a second thought as to which network they are using.