How did you get to work today? Did you walk, take the bus, or did you drive?
Many professionals default to driving, mainly because the other options are either impractical, or limited depending on location. The benefit of those alternatives is that they are eco-friendly solutions. Meanwhile, cars are traditionally seen as the villain in the fight for a greener world.
That doesn’t have to be the case, though. While cars typically cause pollution, many vehicles have gone from villian to hero, joining the fight for a green earth in the form of hybrids and, increasingly, electric vehicles. In 2022, EVs accounted for 10% of all new cars sold during the year, and sales are expected to keep on climbing.
If electric vehicles are the hero, FLO is the sidekick. FLO, formed in 2009 as AddÉnergie Technologies Inc., designs, develops and operates electric vehicle charging stations and networks.
FLO is Canada’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging network, operating a comprehensive charging ecosystem that fulfills EV drivers’ needs wherever they may be — at home, at work or on the go — by ensuring a consistently simple and seamless experience.
Smart EV charging stations are connected to a centralized cloud-based management server. This central server, which is the heart of the network, contains the management software, the database and the communication interfaces which enable the operation of the network and support the electric vehicle drivers (EV drivers) as well as the station owners.
As a vertically integated company, FLO provides charging hardware and software to serve EV drivers and charging station owners with customer service, access control, payment and energy management.
In order for electric vehicle adoption to reach its critical mass, it’s crucial for drivers and operators to enjoy a seamless experience, backed by high uptime to ensure stations are always available when needed. This level of experience can only be accomplished thanks to constant charging station monitoring and reliable and durable hardware
FLO designs its stations with Digi XBee® modules, as well as industrial cellular gateways and embedded system-on-modules. When development first began in 2008, FLO wanted to create an offer that differed from conventional charging stations. Rather than having a master charging station in a parking lot that had its own gateway, they sought to create a system that could cover the entire parking lot.
“Our strategy was to develop an architecture where the gateway is on the building and can cover the whole parking lot, allowing for more options and in the end a better charging experience. We needed technology that could communicate in a busy, urban environment,” said Louis Tremblay, CEO of FLO. “We selected Zigbee and found Digi industrial gateways and XBee modules. Each station has an XBee module, and the gateway is the brain of the charging station.”
With Digi’s products, FLO rolled out innovative charging infrastructures allowing EV drivers to seamlessly charge on the go.
This model not only makes for a seamless driver experience, but it also allows the network providers to easily monitor all activity.
This model enables:
Maximized Uptime: Because the stations are cloud-based, they all transmit data back to FLO and the station owners. This allows FLO to monitor every charging station, and in some cases, fix problems remotely. FLO also provides preventative maintenance to owners. The team can identify problems and reach out to owners before they even know there’s an issue.
- Scale and save over the years: The system includes PowerSharing™ and PowerLimiting™ software, interfaced with Digi products that notifies the charging stations when energy should be lowered. Based on the number of vehicles being charged at any given time, energy can be dynamically redistributed to supply other stations. The smart software automatically manages these power splits and limitations.
Today, FLO has sold over 80,000 charging stations across North America. The FLO network enables over 1,000,000 sessions each month.
With Digi’s help, FLO continues to be the ultimate sidekick to the heroes that are electric cars in the fight for sustainability and a green earth.
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