GE Working Out EV Charger Strategy

GE is angling to give that stylish Yves Behar-designed charging station it introduced three months ago a synergistic boost, announcing it will collaborate with electric vehicle (EV) services provider Better Place to help get the WattStation to a broad market.

The why behind the partnership isn’t hard to figure out: GE has a product that it needs to fit into a network of EV services, and Better Place is developing just such networks. In fact, right now Better Place is setting up national networks of battery charging and exchange systems in Israel and Denmark (in conjunction with their friends at Renault, who are planning to market EVs there), and that’s where the companies are expected to work together first.

image via GE

“By integrating our WattStation with this service solution, we can help digital energy transform our roadways and provide a cleaner, more sustainable transportation alternative,” Beth Comstock, GE senior vice president and chief marketing officer, said in a press release.

The companies cited four areas of collaboration, beginning with standards-based technology, which means fitting the WattStation in with the Better Place network and its business model, whereby Better Place owns the battery, which it leases back to the car owner. Other areas where GE and Better Place will work together: battery financing; fleet electrification; and marketing.

“Our collaboration with GE is another significant step forward for Better Place as we seek to assemble a formidable ecosystem of industry leaders including Renault, HSBC and now GE that can help us scale our model globally,” said Shai Agassi, the Better Place founder and chief executive.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.