A federal judge in Baltimore has formally denied a request from ChargePoint for a temporary restraining order that would have prevented a competing EV charging company, SemaConnect, from selling equipment while a patent infringement claim is pursued.
ChargePoint Emergency Request Denied
ChargePoint claims in court documents that SemaConnect is infringing on a number of U. S. patents that they own. At a hearing on December, 22, 2017, ChargePoint asked United States District Judge, Marvin J. Garbis, of the U. S. District Court in Baltimore for Emergency Injunctive Relief. They told the judge that “irreparable harm” was being caused by a contract SemaConnect won to install approximately 1,400 charging stations for VW subsidiary Electrify America.
In a written memorandum and order issued on Thursday, December 28, 2017, Judge Garbis wrote, “the Court shall DENY Plaintiff’s motion.”
The memorandum also said that the defendant, SemaConnect, will be allowed to file a motion to dismiss using the defense that the patents are invalid under the so-called “Alice test.” The judge stated that the motion to dismiss based on invalidity would be promptly resolved. If SemaConnect’s motion to dismiss is denied, Judge Garbis wrote that he intended to move the process quickly with a scheduling order for expedited discovery and trial. Read More …
The Maryland Energy Administration announced the recipients of their Solar Canopy with Electric Vehicle Charger Program grants for Fiscal Year 2018.
The MEA parking lot PV/EV program took applications from businesses, non-profits, state agencies and local governments for funding of up to $200,000 per project. To be eligible for the grant, plans must include at least 75 kW of solar PV panels mounted to a canopy structure over a parking lot and at least four Level 2 charging stations or DC Fast Chargers. The solar canopies must also be located on parking lots that are in use at least five days per week.
Solar Canopy with 20 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
Nine grants are being awarded in the MEA parking lot PV/EV Program. One of the recipients, McCormick and Company will install a 744-kilowatt solar canopy at their new headquarters in Baltimore. The McCormick project plans to include 20 EV charging stations, which is the greatest number of EV charging stations for an individual MEA grant supported solar canopy in the history of the program.
Mary Beth Tung, Director of the Maryland Energy Administration said, “This program was carefully crafted to combine clean energy generation, and expand EV charging options for drivers.” The 2018 grantees have the potential to supply 6,000 kilowatts of renewable solar power, and add 60 new EV charging stations to Maryland’s charging infrastructure.
The MEA solar canopy grant program began in 2014 and has helped to fund 25 projects to date. Funding for the grants will come from the Strategic Energy Investment Fund, which was created from public auctions of carbon credits through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
The Grant Agreement Execution Deadline is January 5, 2018. All projects must be completed and operating by November 16, 2018. One of the awardees was Charles County which had submitted plans for Solar City/Tesla Energy to build a 1,741 kW solar canopy and four EV charging stations at the Charles County Administration Building in La Plata, MD. Read More …
ChargePoint’s legal counsel argued vigorously in support of their Motion for Emergency Injunctive Relief, asserting that “irreparable harm” was being caused by SemaConnect’s participation in the Electrify America program to install hundreds of charging stations that ChargePoint alleges infringes on patents that they hold.
The judge expressed concern that issuing an order for SemaConnect to stop would cause irreparable harm to SemaConnect. The judge also said he was concerned that by ordering SemaConnect to stop, the American public would be denied access to 1,440 EV charging stations that SemaConnect plans to install with Electrify America and that’s not in the public’s interest. Read More …
SemaConnect is fighting back against a patent claim lawsuit brought by rival EV charging company, ChargePoint. A lawyer for the Maryland-based SemaConnect, Inc. sent a letter to U. S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis saying that ChargePoint’s Motion For Emergency Injunctive Relief should be summarily denied. A hearing on the Motion is scheduled in U. S. District Court in Baltimore on Friday, December 22, 2017.
In correspondence to the Judge, SemaConnect’s representative stated, “At its core, ChargePoint’s Motion is an obvious attempt to restrain free and fair competition by asserting baseless patent infringement claims against SemaConnect instead of competing fairly in the market.”
SemaConnect & ChargePoint Competed for Electrify America Contract
SemaConnect argued that granting the injunctive relief would harm the public’s interest because it would delay the deployment of hundreds of EV charging stations around the country that would help reduce carbon emissions. In the document, SemaConnect explained that in March 2017, Electrify America invited suppliers of EV charging stations to submit a request for proposal (RFP) for a contract to provide “community charging stations” to be financed under the $2 billion ZEV Investment Plan mandated by a settlement with Volkswagon. Companies including SemaConnect and ChargePoint, submitted RFPs for the contract. Electrify America ultimately chose three companies: SemaConnect, Greenlots, and EVConnect. However, ChargePoint was not selected and did not receive any funding. Read More …
Newark & Milford Tesla Superchargers Opened Five Years Ago
The first East Coast Tesla Superchargers officially opened five years ago on December 21, 2012.
The Supercharger Stations at the Delaware Welcome Center in Newark and at the Milford Travel Plazas on I-95 in Connecticut were the first to be built outside of California. These two locations enabled Model S drivers to travel between Washington, DC and Boston using Tesla’s exclusive fast chargers. Before these opened, only six Supercharger sites existed in the world, all six were in California. Five years later in 2017, Tesla reports 1,043 Supercharger Stations with 7,496 Superchargers worldwide. Read More …
PlugInSites has obtained a copy of court documents that were filed in the ChargePoint, Inc. v SemaConnect, Inc. civil action in which ChargePoint alleges that SemaConnect is infringing on a number of patents related to EV charging networks.
ChargePoint is asking for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction barring SemaConnect from using the patents in dispute.
The lawsuit was filed by ChargePoint on Friday, December 15, 2017. Today, December 18, there are news reports that the Electrify America unit of Volkswagen plans to install 2,800 electric vehicle charging stations in U.S. cities by June 2019.
Electrify America is investing $2 billion over the next 10 years in the U.S. for Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure and education as part of a settlement reached in the VW diesel emissions case. The reports say that Electrify America has selected SemaConnect as well as EV Connect and Greenlots to install those charging stations.
In the Plaintiff’s Memorandum in Support of Emergency Injunctive Relief, ChargePoint stated:
SemaConnect is in the process of entering into contracts, to be completed within the next 90 days, to deploy at least $16 million in competing EV charging stations to customers free of charge, and provide services related to those stations free of charge for the next eight years. ChargePoint believes that the size of that free offer is equal to more than half of the total available market for those charging stations during the offer period. Participants in the offer will receive free charging stations, as well as free network services and support for a period of 8 years. SemaConnect is able to do this because Volkswagen Group of America (through its subsidiary, Electrify America) is subsidizing SemaConnect’s offerings as part of Volkswagen’s commitment to spend $2 billion on zero-emission vehicle (“ZEV”) infrastructure and technology under settlement terms Volkswagen agreed to in the aftermath of an emissions-rigging scandal in 2015. Importantly, SemaConnect’s EV charging systems are attractive to Electrify America because of the functionalities they provide. Unfortunately, many of those functionalities infringe the Asserted Patents.
Electric Vehicle charging equipment and service provider, ChargePoint of Campbell, California, has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Maryland-based SemaConnect.
The complaint was filed in the District of Maryland Court on Friday, December 15, 2017. ChargePoint is seeking injunctive relief and monetary damages and has requested a jury trial.
The lawsuit alleges infringement of four patents held by ChargePoint in the area of networked electric vehicle charging.
In a press release, the company said, “ChargePoint invented networked EV charging and holds the patents related to the technology. A hallmark of the company’s technology portfolio, networked charging is a significant piece of ChargePoint’s offering and a critical ingredient to its business.”
ChargePoint claims to be the largest EV charging network in the world, reporting that they have over 43,000 independently owned charging spots.
The Gaithersburg, Maryland Tesla Supercharger is officially open. Several Tesla drivers reported the power being turned on and being able to charge Wednesday night, December 13, 2017. By Thursday afternoon, the Gaithersburg Supercharger was listed on the Tesla “Find Us” web page. The Supercharger became visible on the in-car Tesla Navigation screen several hours later.
The Supercharger station is located on the first floor of the parking garage at Rio Washingtonian Center, 9811 Washingtonian Blvd., Gaithersburg, MD 20878. It has 12 stalls with a pull-forward parking configuration and one stall is marked as ADA accessible. This station is one of only a few Superchargers to have a battery.
Other Tesla Superchargers to open recently in the Washington, DC area, include National Harbor and Grasonville, Maryland.
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On December 10, 1908 at 1:00 PM, Oliver Fritchle arrived in Washington, DC in his “100 Mile Fritchle Electric” completing a 2,140 mile trip from Lincoln, Nebraska. Nearly 60 years would go by until an electric vehicle would travel farther than Fritchle.
In September, 1967, the Arizona Public Service Co. bought an electric car called the MARS II built by Electric Fuel Propulsion Inc. in Detroit, Michigan and drove it 2,226 miles to Phoenix. It was promoted as “the first cross-country trip of an electric car in the United States.”
Coincidentally, O. P. Fritchle’s nephew, Merrill Fritchle, lived in Phoenix and read of the claim in the Arizona Republic. He contacted the paper and presented evidence that the first cross-country electric vehicle journey was actually accomplished by his late uncle, Oliver P. Fritchle 59 years earlier.
The Arizona Republic reviewed the documentation of Fritchle’s trip and on October 19, 1967, they published a story with details of Fritchle’s decades-old electric tour along with comments from his nephew, who said, “If my uncle was so far advanced with electric transportation 50 years ago, I wonder what refinements we might have today, had all the research gone toward electric propulsion, instead of gasoline.”
When Oliver P. Fritchle left Wilmington, Delaware the morning of December 7, 1908, he expected an easy 82 mile jaunt to Baltimore in his fully charged 100-Mile Fritchle Electric.
“O. P.” as his friends called him, was so confident in his car’s ability that he didn’t even bother to ask about charging stations that might be along the way.
Fritchle had already driven his Victoria coupe nearly 2,000 miles from Lincoln, Nebraska via New York City to demonstrate the durability and range of the electric vehicle that his company manufactured in Denver for wealthy customers which later included “The Unsinkable” Molly Brown. The only repairs the car had needed was fixing a flat tire in Illinois and a new set of camel’s hair brake linings after descending the Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania.
With sparse electrical distribution in rural areas, Fritchle quickly learned how to handle “range anxiety” such as on the evening he found himself on a muddy road pushing to reach the town of Avoca, Iowa.
Fearing that with the many strains of the day the battery might run down completely before reaching Avoca, I asked the farmer to accompany me with a horse and wagon, that he might tow me if necessary. To this request his wife, who overheard the conversation, replied: “No, sir, Pa, you don’t dare tow one of them automobiles. Didn’t you just read in the Des Moines paper ’bout one of them things explodin’ and killin’ a man?” I endeavored to convince “Ma,” who was standing in the dim light in an adjoining room, with a bed quilt over her shoulders, that my auto was an electric machine, and that there was no danger of it exploding. But my pleading was all in vain, so I told them to go to hell, and started off alone, reaching Avoca at 10 0 ‘clock Sunday night.