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  • Writer's pictureKristin Cooper

GFO-20-605 - BESTFIT Innovative Charging Solutions

SUBMISSION DEADLINE November 20, 2020, 5:00 pm

QUESTIONS DEADLINE August 21, 2020, 5:00 pm


This solicitation will fund projects to demonstrate innovative electric vehicle charging solutions for light-duty and medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and work to accelerate the successful commercial deployment of these solutions.

A total of $7,500,000 is available for awards under this solicitation. The CEC, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to increase or decrease the amount of funds available under this solicitation.

This solicitation is open to all private entities with a business presence in California. To be eligible, Applicants must be involved in the EV or charging equipment business, such as the following:

· Automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) – Entities that manufacture and produce vehicles.

· EV charging product manufacturers – Entities that manufacture and develop charging equipment and products.

· Electric vehicle service providers (EVSPs) – Entities that manage connectivity across a network of chargers and/or offer software solutions using EV charging equipment.

1. Eligible Projects

All projects must demonstrate novel technologies and/or business models that highlight innovative charging solutions and form factors that are the “best fit” for the local built environment, use case, and vehicle type.

All demonstrations must be installed for public or private use, real-world operating conditions at least at the bench scale, and must demonstrate how the novel technology and/or business model could be deployed at scale in the future and become commercially viable.

Applicants must identify only one Area of Focus, defined in Section 2, that their proposed project principally addresses. This Area of Focus designation will be used to categorize and rank applications for funding. The CEC recognizes that designating only one Area of Focus could limit Applicants’ ability to fully capture the scope of their proposed projects. Applicants will be able to provide support and evidence for other Areas of Focus their proposed projects may address secondarily, which will be factored in the Pre-Application Abstract Evaluation Criteria in Section V.E and the Full Application Evaluation Criteria in Section VII.E. The Areas of Focus are expanded upon below:

A. Increase Utilization

B. This category addresses projects designed to increase or maximize efficient utilization of charging infrastructure. The goal of increasing utilization is to increase the throughput of electric miles serviced to EVs by each charger through the creation of new business models and/or technologies that leverage innovative placement and locations, user sharing, queueing, vehicle management, and/or other strategies.


D. Minimize Operating, Purchase, and/or Installation Costs

This category addresses efforts to maximize the benefits of charging installations by avoiding high operating, purchase, and installation costs as well as costly grid impacts. The goal for innovative charging solutions like smart charging and discharging,

A. energy management systems, and distributed energy resources (DERs) is to minimize peak energy use and demand charges as well as defer or outright avoid grid capacity upgrades and associated costs otherwise incurred with traditional approaches. In addition, innovative charging approaches improve site flexibility, such as avoiding trenching in constrained spaces, and mitigate high installation costs. MD/HD projects in this category may not incorporate DERs, defined as technologies that provide power to electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) independent of the electric system. These may include, but are not limited to, standalone battery systems, renewable energy systems, and fuel cell systems operating with low-carbon renewable fuels.


C. Demonstrate Advancements in Customer or Charging Interface

D. This category addresses technological advances to facilitate the adoption of EVs by making the charging experience seamless for drivers and users through standardized interfaces and streamlined customer services. The goal for these advanced interfaces is to simplify charging today, but also lay the foundation for emerging electric transportation applications including autonomous, shared, and connected vehicles. MD/HD projects in this category may not incorporate DERs, defined as technologies that provide power to EVSE independent of the electric system. These may include, but are not limited to, standalone battery systems, renewable energy systems, and fuel cell systems operating with low-carbon renewable fuels.

Examples of project types across the three categories include, but are not limited to:

· Fast Charging Plazas – High-powered (> 150 kW), urban-sited direct current (DC) fast charger plazas allow a faster turnover of vehicles and provide a viable option for drivers that may not have home charging. Proposed projects in this category should identify innovative solutions to barriers regarding the use of DC fast chargers in lieu of home charging.

· Novel Sharing Business Models – Examples include private workplace chargers that become publicly available after work hours and software solutions to match charging demand to available chargers in real time.

· High-level Communication Adapter – Modification for an SAE J1772 EVSE connector to enable smart charging or metering.

· Energy Management System – Management of power loading between an EVSE and other appliances, using plug-based controllers and optimization systems to avoid necessitating electrical upgrades associated with coincident loading consistent with National Electric Code Article 625 for Load Management Systems or Underwriters Laboratory 916 for Energy Management Equipment.

· Lamp or Utility Pole – Curbside or parking lot-based charging leveraging existing lighting, electrical, or communications infrastructure fixtures to minimize ground excavation and resurfacing. Furthermore, these fixtures could be targeted to minimize electrical grid upgrades if installation is coordinated with a local energy management effort (e.g. simultaneous light-emitting diode (LED) lamp or building efficiency retrofits).

· Distributed Energy Resources – A DER system provides power to EVSE independent of the electric system to support rapid installation of charging in remote locations without reliable or available electrical capacity or other areas constrained by available electrical capacity. This may include fuel cell systems operating with low-carbon renewable fuels. DERs are only allowed in light-duty projects, not in MD/HD projects.

· Intra-site Storage – Mobile storage-based charging systems that can move about an individual site challenged by conditions that prevent the construction of stationary EVSE (e.g. expansive and un-assigned parking facilities, constrained electrical grid, or facility operational requirements) to provide on-demand services to drivers.

· Inter-site Storage – Mobile storage-based charging systems that can move about multiple sites (e.g. workplaces, public locations, or street-side in urban neighborhoods) to provide on-demand services to drivers.

· Vehicle-to-Vehicle Charging – Grid upgrade avoidance through a service where one vehicle discharges energy for the purpose of sharing charge power with another vehicle. This may use a direct vehicle-to-vehicle charging interface or may optionally use an intermediate off-grid storage system.

· Pantograph Connection – Automated charging for MD/HD vehicles via overhead connections that mitigate ground egress requirements and enable space-efficient use of parking facilities. Pantograph systems may resolve driver handling of couplers or connections to autonomous vehicles.

· Wireless Charging – Automated charging using ground-based systems while the vehicle is parked and stationary or dynamically while it is driving. Wireless systems mitigate potential user burdens or physical reliability (e.g. tampering, equipment management) by automating user interactions necessary for payment and load controls.

· Robotic Connection – Automated charging using devices that articulate a conductive connection between the vehicle and electricity supply. The articulation of the connector may be EVSE-based (with the inlet on the vehicle) or vehicle-based (with the inlet on the EVSE). EVSE-based robotic connections could be operated as part of a larger system or apparatus used to facilitate the connection with the vehicle.

· Automated Parking Garage – Parking garages designed to accept and convey vehicles into a densely organized structure to store vehicles should also be prepared for transportation electrification. Existing automated garages can be retrofitted with electrical wiring and EVSE or a new garage design could be optimized for various charging and energy management. Further, automated parking garages could help resolve real estate constraints as cities increase density to support broader sustainable transportation goals.

· Interoperability for MD/HD Vehicles – Standardized and interoperable charging interfaces are needed for MD/HD vehicles, which currently lack a widely-adopted conductive charging option useful for both private and public charging.

Projects must include deployment of chargers. Light-duty projects may include deployment of renewable DERs or energy storage systems for supplying power to EVs or EV chargers provided the Applicant demonstrates that the DER is a component of the system necessary to address their designated Area of Focus. MD/HD projects may not include DERs.

The CEC recognizes that the examples listed above are diverse, and represent markets that could be either robust, newly forming, or somewhere in the middle. As a result, different technologies and business models will be at various stages of development. To reflect this, eligible projects must fall within at least one of the categories below:

· Bench Testing and Validation: Validation of concept in a test setup under real operational conditions.

· Demonstration: Demonstration and testing of a complete system prototype under real operating conditions.

· Prototype: Proof of functionality and operation of a complete system prototype under real operating conditions.

· Complete Operational System: Proof of functionality of complete system under real operating conditions.

· Commercial Availability: Qualification of system based on successful operation.

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