Qualcomm Inc. and ECOtality Inc. have entered into an agreement to implement cellular connectivity into electric vehicle (EVs) charging stations. The solution will allow ECOtality to use a commercial cellular network to manage its Blink brand charging station operations, transfer usage data, download firmware updates and publish availability to EV drivers in real time.

“Blink’s simple, smart approach to charging allows consumers the real-time monitoring, command and control they expect while leveraging renewable energy generation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” says Jonathan Read, president and CEO of ECOtality. “Cellular networks will play a critical role in connecting the charging stations with ECOtality’s control systems so we can make all these benefits possible.”

ECOtality will begin deploying cellular-enabled charging stations this year under the EV Project, a $230 million project involving the U.S. Department of Energy; ECOtality's subsidiary, ECOtality North America; and more than 40 project partners. The EV Project is the largest deployment of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure in U.S. history, including up to 8,300 fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles and nearly 15,000 at-home and publicly available charging systems. All chargers to be deployed under this program, as well as those carrying ECOtality’s recently unveiled Blink brand, will contain Qualcomm technology to communicate over cellular networks.

“Real-time communications are critical for massive deployment of both electric vehicles and charging infrastructure,” says Andy Wood, director of business development at Qualcomm. “We are committed to helping charging station providers take advantage of the coverage, scalability and reliability provided by commercial cellular networks in order to satisfy this essential requirement.”