Chargestorm

Plug-in electrical vehicles are just about to enter the market on a large scale, and the demand for vehicle charging stations is set to increase. Independent sources estimate that two or more charging stations will be needed for each electric vehicle on the road. In Sweden alone, Elforsk has forecast the electric vehicle fleet will number 600,000 by the year 2020, implying the need for 1,200,000 charging stations - in just one country!


In addition, e-vehicle owners want peace of mind and convenience – i.e. the ability to charge at home and while out and about. In Sweden a roadside network of 600,000 engine heating charging posts already exists. These outlets are perfect candidates for electrical vehicle charging. However, the power grid behind the pre-heater outlets is not ready to handle heavy simultaneous charging. Power consumption could frequently be much higher than grid capacity, leading to blown fuses and power brownouts.

These three interlocking problems – grid capacity, a growing need for charging stations, and consumers desire for easy, convenient charging – lead Chargestorm to develop intelligent charging stations that prevent overload in the local power grid. This patent-pending technology for load regulation in the local power grid is called NanoGrid.


The brains of the NanoGrid is the Charge Grid Controller (CGC). The CGC protects local grid from overload by organizing, managing and helping prioritize electrical usage among grid users.  Along with Chargestorm’s charge station control units, and a web-enabled administrative portal, customers will:
• Being able to convert existing pre-heater outlets to charge stations for electrical vehicles
• Install on and use existing grid wiring
• Guarantee that charging will not cause power outages due to blown fuses
• Get web browser access to see the status of charging
• Enjoy a low-cost solution that uses existing infrastructure.

Transport-related carbon emissions constitute a substantial part of total emissions. Decarbonizing the transport sector is one of the most difficult challenges in the transition to a low-carbon economy. Electrification will play an important role to reduce the carbon emissions from the transport systems. While most manufacturers now have electric and hybrid vehicles in their line-up, their mass-market breakthrough is expected to take years or even decades. One threshold to overcome is of course cost vs. range for electric vehicles. Another is the provision of an appropriate charging infrastructure.

The NanoGrid charging station offers an intelligent response to the need for distributed and cost-competitive charging for electric vehicles based on existing infrastructure. This kind of enabling solutions provides an important part of the equation for faster electrification of transports.

If the growth rate of electric vehicles could be accelerated, and its market share achieved three years earlier than projected*, intelligent charging stations like NanoGrid could contribute to the reduction of 21 million tonnes of CO2 in 2021, according to WWF’s calculations. Additionally, the user-friendly features of the system could easily stimulate an increasing demand for renewable energy thereby further reducing carbon emissions.

* Based on the IEA Blue Map Scenario (2009)

Thus far, Chargestorm has concentrated its efforts in the Swedish market, with an emphasis on R&D. The company’s next step is to launch its product system on the international market while continuing to upgrade existing products with new and improved vehicle communications. Chargestorm will start to build up international distribution channels, and within the next 5 years plans to have a global presence.
The company believes that one of the biggest challenges in the near future will be to scale up internal organisation and production in order to meet market demand.

 

ChargeStorm was founded in 2009 by Patrik Lindergren, Stefan Gabrielsson, and Ragnar Gustafsson. Lindergren, Gabrielsson, and Gustafsson all have extensive knowledge in and experience of embedded product development, data communication, provisioning systems, and billing. Their vision originates from their knowledge of telecom and data communication network management and provisioning standards, and the possibilities for combining these with the latest technology in charging infrastructures.