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GridPoint buys V2Green to charge electric cars

With a wave of electric cars expected to come to the grid, smart-grid company GridPoint buys "smart charging" expertise from V2Green, part of a $120 million capital investment.

Smart-grid outfit GridPoint on Tuesday, flush with an additional $120 million in equity funding, said it has acquired V2Green, a start-up with software to charge electric cars en masse.

GridPoint said that it has raised $100 million mainly from existing investors, which include Goldman Sachs, New Enterprise Associates, Robeco, Susquehanna International Group, and Quercus Trust. An additional $20 million is expected later.

The company makes software for utilities to better integrate distributed generation units, such as solar panels, and home devices, such as Internet-connected thermostats, into the power grid. It also makes a home energy storage unit and software for consumers to track their energy usage.

By purchasing V2Green, GridPoint intends to add the capability for utilities to manage an anticipated wave of electric cars being plugged into the electricity grid.

Some researchers have estimated that plugging large numbers of electric cars to charge batteries during peak times, such as the early evening, would tax the grid, making it necessary to build more power plants. But bringing new power plants online is expensive and opposed in many areas because of environmental reasons.

V2Green's software lets utilities manage the process so that charging can take place at night at off-peak times.

The company's software also lets utilities draw power from many electric cars' batteries--another potential method for easing the load on the grid during peak times. The Seattle-based company is staffed with some former Microsoft employees.

"Our combined capabilities will enable utilities to mitigate the impact of plug-in electric vehicles on the grid while reducing carbon emissions and providing their customers with reduced rates for off-peak charging," said V2Green CEO John Clark in a statement.

GridPoint earlier this year started a "smart charging" trial with Duke Energy.

With the additional $120 million, GridPoint has raised over $200 million to date, making it one of the most capitalized private smart-grid companies.