Manufacturers

EV excitement at Schneider Electric includes contractor sign-ups

“We’re
excited to see a strong uptick in product purchases” of EV chargers, Mike
Calise, director of EV business for Schneider Electric’s Power North America
unit told tedmag.com in a recent phone interview. Calise joined the company
about a year ago and also spoke with tedmag.com at the July PlugIn2011 conference.

At the
EVS26 conference and show May 6-9 in Los Angeles, Schneider Electric introduced its EVlink DC Quick Charger—a product
Calise said “rounds out our EV charging portfolio.”

“Schneider
Electric’s EVlink DC Quick chargers also run on 208/240 Volts for many commercial
applications,” Calise said. “We step down the voltage for this version, and
this is the first version we support.”

Contractors
are signing up

Schneider Electric’s
EV program is reaching the contractor market, too. Since Sept. 30, 2011, the EV
path for Schneider Electric’s EcoXpert program for electrical contractors has seen about
a double the number of contractors involved, the company said.

Above:
From Schneider Electric’s EcoXpert Contractor Program
website.

EcoXpert
will eventually have seven solutions within it, in which contractors can be
trained and certified. Right now, there are EV charging, lighting &
lighting control and energy monitoring available.

More
work being created

According
to Calise, while Schneider Electric does sell its EVlink residential charging stations
through Home Depot and Lowe’s, it “strongly recommends” buyers use electrical
contractors for installation.

“It’s
important to note,” Calise said, “that not only is the number of contractors in
the EcoXpert program increasing, but these companies and people are getting
jobs in what otherwise is a difficult environment.”

While
Schneider Electric recommends use of EcoXpert-registered contractors to do EV
installations, it does not restrict sales. An electrical distributor can sell
an EVlink charger and/ or the new DC Quick Charger to any customer. For the DC
Quick Charger, which is medium-voltage equipment, that customer should be a
licensed electrical contractor.

DC
charging market assessment

What’s
the future market for DC Fast Chargers? They are much more expensive than Level
II residential chargers. No one in the EV movement has ever discussed
homeowners—even very wealthy ones—putting one of these into a house.

Beyond
the cost of purchasing a 480V charger from Schneider Electric or one of its competitors,
installation costs are high as well. A contractor retrofitting a DC charger
into a parking lot will have to run a 480V feeder to the unit, or units, and
break a lot of concrete.

Calise
said he would, for this answer, ignore projections and look at reality. “We
know that The EV Project will have 200 DC chargers installed when it is done—they’re
still working on that. The California settlement (see tedmag Special Report) will involve another 200,” he
said.

“And the
Pennsylvania Turnpike project envisions another 40. Walgreens, the drugstore,
is going to put in another 40 – at least. So that’s 480, more or less, that we
know about, from just those sources. And, in truth, the EV at this point is
still getting started,” Calise added.

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