EV charging companies have been showing their wares at CES for years. But this year, the stakes — and odds — are a little higher.
With dozens of electric passenger cars and commercial fleets expected to hit the market within a few years, EVs are penetrating into the mainstream. This larger market has a price: regular consumers expect charging times comparable to filling up with gas, are used to good user experience design and have probably never had to think about peak and off-peak times of the energy grid.
Charging companies and smaller startups that showed up at CES this year seemed aware of that shift and launched products that were faster, more connected, easier to use, easy to install and built to work with the power grid. The takeaway: Eager to reach this larger customer base, EV charging companies unveiled products designed for just about every use case, from commercial fleet charging to home charging, from vehicle-to-grid technology to monetization of advertising space on chargers.
With the global EV charger market projected to grow from $3.23 billion in 2020 to nearly $11 billion in 2025, the industry still has room for new entrants before consolidating around a few behemoths, many of whom are the CES not honored with demos or news. The smaller companies that showed off technology at CES stand out with unique solutions, plenty of connectivity and improved loading speeds.
Blink came to play, with four new charging products this year, including a DC fast wall charger and three Level 2 chargers – one designed for fleet and multi-unit applications, another for home applications and the latter for integrating advertising displays . All chargers come with 4G LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as smart capabilities that enable things like fleet management integration, charge sharing technology and energy consumption management.
Blink MQ 200 for Fleet EV Charging Stations
Specifically designed for fleets, workplaces and multi-family locations, this 50 amp charger comes with Plug & Charge functionality, which can automatically identify vehicles via the unique and encrypted flow of information from the vehicle to the charging station. As the name suggests, this means drivers simply need to plug it in to initiate a charging session.
The MQ 200, which will be available by the end of the first quarter of this year, comes with Smart Grid functionality for direct utility communications and local load management across two or more chargers, enabling installation of two to 20 chargers on a single charger. single circuit is possible. ideal for charging fleets overnight. It also communicates with the Blink Network, software that connects Blink chargers to the cloud, as well as the Blink Fleet Management Portal, which was also launched at CES. The portal gives fleet managers a dashboard to keep track of charging and charging management, chargers, vehicles and drivers.
Blink HQ 200, next-gen home charger
The HQ 200 is Blink’s updated residential charger, a level 2 charger with 50 amps, an increase from the previous generation’s 30 amps. The extra power at home, as we’ll see with other EV charging companies, is a trend this year as companies race to find ways to reduce charging time.
While customers can opt for a basic charger without bells and whistles, the smart version with Wi-Fi is really the one that intrigues us. The HQ 200 is one of Blink’s first chargers to feature vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology, which allows EVs to charge during off-peak hours and return to the grid during peak hours of energy stored in the EV’s battery. high demand.
The HQ 200 also connects to the Blink Mobile app to instantly charge, schedule charge times and set reminders. It will be available by the end of the first quarter of this year.
DC Fast wall mount for two cars at once
The DC Fast Wall 50 kW can be wall-mounted or placed on a pedestal, and it can charge two cars simultaneously, making it ideal for charging fleets, shops, and street and high-traffic locations. It has an output of up to 150 amps and V2G technology, a 10-inch touchscreen display and the ability to charge based on time, kWh or per session. It also enables remote management and energy usage reports via the Blink Network, and an RFID reader allows users with a membership card, RFID credit card or mobile app to initiate a charge.
“The price also makes it attractive to locations that otherwise feel they can’t afford DC anytime soon,” a Blink spokesperson told TechCrunch. “The DC Wall 50 kW costs less than $20,000, while existing equipment today typically starts at $35,000.”
Vision IQ 200 for advertising
This Level 2 charger comes with one or two 30-inch LCD screens for dynamic digital media displays, enabling full-service advertising capabilities – ideal for retail, hospitality, municipal and high-traffic locations. Property landlords are offered revenue-sharing opportunities for both fees and advertising revenue, the latter of which is managed through a third-party vendor.
Equipped with one or two 80 amp IQ 200 chargers, the Vision IQ 200 offers convenient payment via RFID, Apple Pay, Google Wallet and all major credit cards, as well as other smart functionalities such as remote management and real-time energy usage reports.
The DC Fast Wall will be available later this year, Blink said.
E-Lift came to CES to introduce its new customizable GS Pop-Up charging station, which the Dutch company hopes to launch in North America soon. The small station comes with up to four plugs for simultaneous charging and can be equipped with sensors linked to E-Lift’s Sustainable and Smart Energy Management System (SENSE).
The SENSE platform is a management system for users’ mobility and energy needs. Customers can log in remotely to monitor and manage their mobility and energy consumption data, “resulting in a cost-effective energy transformation that benefits governments and businesses looking to reshape their future using renewable energy sources,” the company said. in a statement.
JuiceBar, a Connecticut-based EV charging company that really plays the Made in America card, unveiled its first residential charger at CES — the Cheetah, aptly named because it’s fast, the company says.
The company, which says it will credit $1,000 for every old charger traded in for one of its new chargers, will sell its Cheetahs sometime in 2022. JuiceBar has hundreds of commercial chargers, both public and private, in the US and Canada, the same markets that will see the new home charger.
The Cheetah will be available in 16, 32, 40 and 48 amp configurations and with 120, 208 and 240 input voltages, which, given what Blink is putting out, doesn’t make JuiceBar the fastest Level 2 on the market, but it’s close. The Cheetah also has Bluetooth, Ethernet, Wi-Fi and cloud connectivity, which helps with Smart Grid charging. It has a 25 foot cord with an optional tangle-free cord retractor.
For peace of mind when charging at home, the Cheetah is also built with dual safety relays, allowing the second relay to open and break the circuit in the event the first closes and the fuses close. The charger’s power is backed up by 100% certified carbon reduction projects that offset the charger’s carbon footprint, according to JuiceBar. The company is buying carbon offsets for the first year. After that, buyers can continue to purchase carbon offsets on a subscription basis of less than $1 per week.
The Cheetah will be available to consumers in late Q2 or early Q3, a spokesperson told TechCrunch. They will initially be sold through third parties such as auto dealerships, home builders and utility companies in the US and Canada.
Wallbox introduced its Quasar 2 at CES this year, the latest generation of its bidirectional home charger. Not only does this allow EV owners to charge and discharge their EV to power their home or the grid, but it also allows owners to isolate their home from the grid and use their EV as backup power during a power outage, even if it is caused by a power failure. natural disaster. Wallbox says its Quasar 2 can power a home for more than three days during a blackout.
The vehicle-to-home (V2H) functionality should help EV owners save money on home energy costs, the company says, especially in states where power rates are demand-driven. Users can schedule charging sessions to take place when rates are low, and those who have solar installations can store excess energy in their EV during periods of low usage.
The Quasar 2 provides 48 amps of power, is CCS compatible for fast charging vehicles such as the Jaguar I-Pace or BMW i3, and connects to the myWallbox app via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet or 4G.
Wallbox didn’t share how much the Quasar 2 would cost, but said it would be comparable to Quasar 1, which costs about $4,000. It plans to launch by the end of the year.
Electric cars are not the only vehicles entering the market. Micromobility vehicles also need some love. That’s why Meredot unveiled its first commercial wireless charger designed for e-scooters, e-mopeds and other vehicles such as food delivery robots and wheelchairs. The charger takes the form of a physical pad that can be placed both above and below the ground, and charges vehicles equipped with a receiver when parked on it.
Meredot is targeting micromobility OEMs and fleet managers with its wireless charger. It is ready to go to market and license its technology to companies looking to offer a new and potentially hassle-free way of reimbursing vehicles. For micro-mobility fleets in particular, charging scooters and bicycles, even if they have interchangeable batteries, is one of the biggest cost suckers, so this kind of technology could potentially be a game changer.
“The Meredot Wireless Charger delivers a new distributed architecture that helps achieve greater efficiency and scalability of site capital, saving energy and costs,” said Roman Bysko, CEO and co-founder of Meredot, in a statement. “The Meredot Wireless Charger can provide an infrastructure foundation for a new micromobility charging experience that benefits operators and drivers alike.”
The company claims its technology can charge 50% more e-scooters in the same area compared to traditional cable charging systems, which could lead to serious savings for charging locations.