French-based Schneider Electric doesn’t have a large public profile in the United States, but the company has been in business since 1836 — the same year Martin Van Buren was elected president of the United States and Sam Houston was elected the first president of the Republic of Texas. The company has grown from a simple steel manufacturer to a massive corporation with a worldwide reach, about 125,000 employees and, as of 2010, $25.45 billion dollars in yearly revenue.
Now the company is looking to become more of a player in the burgeoning North American electric vehicle infrastructure market with the unveiling of its first DC quick charging station, the EVlink DC Quick Charger. According to recent stats, it’s a market worth entering as sales of EV chargers went from 2,000 in 2010 to more than 20,000 in 2011. That number is only expected to grow in the future.
So what makes the Schneider charger stand out from the crowd? According to Schneider, it’s speed. The EVlink DC Quick Charger is a level-three charger that the company says can juice up an EV to 80 percent capacity in as little as a half an hour, like the Blink Fast Charger from Ecotality and ABB’s Terra station.
Schneider says the refrigerator-sized unit can be used for both commercial applications in places like shopping malls, public parking lots and traditional gas stations as well as heavy-duty fleet charging requirements such as rental car lots. To accomplish this, Schnider says the charger can be configured to accept radio frequency identification authentication or a credit card.
Schneider already has a level-two charger — which can fully charge an EV in about eight hours — available at retailers like Home Depot and Lowes designed for home installations. That device will set you back about $800. Their new level three charger is a bit more spendy, however, running between $20,000-50,000 depending on installation.