Electric car charging company Ecotality announced today it has partnered with Sprint to its electric car charging stations. The partnership will make stations searchable on GPS and will enable billing services and the ability to track data on charging habits.
This is one of many examples in recent months of cellular carriers moving into the smart grid with increasing vigor. In the past few months, Sprint announced its 4G network will be used by Grid Net’s smart grid platform. Verizon showed off home energy and monitoring “smart home” services at CES and is rolling out a pilot this year. Last year, AT&T and Motorola both acquired home energy efficiency and automation companies; AT&T purchased Xanboo, and Motorola acquired up 4home.
Ecotality makes electric car chargers (pictured) called Blink and is currently deploying almost 15,000 chargers in 16 cities in a $230 million project, half of which will be fronted by the Department of Energy. Ecotality estimates the chargers will be enough to cover 8,300 electric vehicles. It will use Sprint’s wireless network to control machine-t0-machine provisioning, billing and service management on of its public and residential chargers.
And similar to what electric car makers like Nissan are offering, Ecotality’s Blink network will offer up a web portal to users who can look at data about their electric vehicles and charging habits. Users can also find the stations on their GPS.
The displays on the charging stations will apparently also be used to deliver advertising. The company’s release mentions that the Sprint network will power the delivery of “digital content for advertising and information.”
Earlier this week, global engineering firm ABB had invested $10 million in ECOtality.