Schneider Electric is helping to highlight the future of smart cities via its sponsorship of Cisco House, a facility that highlights the opportunities for countries, cities and organisations to become ‘smarter’.

Cisco House, which overlooks London’s Olympic Park, will be open for five months from April 2012 and is dedicated to showcasing new and innovative paths to growth and efficiency.

”Our cities around the world are experiencing unprecedented growth, and it’s clear the only practical and sustainable way to manage that growth is through efficiency,” said Jean-Pascal Tricoire, president and CEO, Schneider Electric. “We are pleased to partner with Cisco on Cisco House 2012 to showcase how urban efficiency can be delivered, today, through integration and collaboration.”

Through its role at Cisco House, Schneider Electric is helping to demonstrate how energy costs can be reduced by implementing simple solutions and new business models across the entire energy lifecycle. The fully integrated building and energy management systems provided and installed by Schneider Electric allow the Cisco House teams to make better decisions with regard to the energy consumption of sub-systems providing for more sustainable operations and an improved visitor experience.

In addition to the building and energy management systems installed in the house, a Schneider Electric demo showcases the core facets of a smart city, smart energy, smart mobility, smart water, smart public services, smart buildings, data centres and homes, and smart integration.

Visitors to the 20,000ft2 business showcase centre will be challenged to re-think the future, changing their perceptions of cities, countries, and society. They will be taken through a multi-media business transformation journey that looks at how innovative organisations are transforming the world today, as well as the opportunities they can look forward to in the future. The interactive experience features Schneider Electric’s best practices and case studies.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Schneider Electric and some of Cisco’s leading global Alliance Partners on this exciting and innovative project,” said Jim O’Donnell, managing director, Cisco House. “The Schneider Electric systems are not only demonstrating energy management strategies to visitors, they’re helping us to run Cisco House itself more efficiently. So far they’ve provided a predictive look into potential HVAC system issues prior to the heat of the summer games and helped us better manage consumption during off-hours for the house.”

Charging ahead
Building on the smart cities theme, electric vehicle charging point operator, Engenie has recently commenced the roll-out of the UK’s first rapid charging network, as supplied Schneider Electric.

The rapid charge units will be installed nationwide over the next few months across Roadchef motorway service areas, covering the breadth and width of the country. The charging points will allow drivers to fully recharge a depleted battery in as little as 30 minutes. The first of these was switched on at Roadchef’s Clacket Lane service area on the M25.

This project constitutes the a significant step forward in the progression towards national electric vehicle mobility. Until this point, there have been major concerns over the inability of electric vehicles to travel long journey distances as well as worries over a lack of national charging infrastructure. Given that the majority of electric vehicle chargers in the UK require up to eight hours to fill an empty battery, it meant that driving an electric vehicle was severely restricted and journeys over 100 miles were practically impossible without an overnight stop.

The project, which started eight months ago, saw Schneider Electric provide the high power 50kW DC chargers and also work closely with Engenie during each step of the process, from the initial concept through to project managing the installation.

The technology employs a pay-as-you-go philosophy as opposed to subscription-based operation, allowing drivers to only pay for the energy that they need to put in their car.

Jeremy Littman, managing director of Engenie, said, “We are convinced that this will be one of the turning points which allows electric car ownership to go from a niche concern to a compromise-free alternative to petrol. To put it into context, a 30 minute rapid charge on one of Engenie’s charging stations can power an electric vehicle for over 100 miles, providing up to a 75% saving against a petrol equivalent so the payback period is rapid.

David Greaves, national business development manager for EV at Schneider Electric, added, “This is a major game changer. While for some time electric vehicle adoption has seemed a rather distant vision, this is a significant moment and one which will help make EV ownership a tangible reality for UK drivers. As fuel prices continue to soar, the cost benefits of EV adoption can be huge.

“With this in mind, these rapid charging stations will enable electric vehicle owners all around the country to use their cars to drive the long distances without frequent multi-stops, helping to significantly reduce their carbon footprint while, in turn, achieving massive savings.”

Michael Heaton, Roadchef’s director of commercial and loss prevention, said, “We’re proud to be the first chain of motorway service areas to offer this facility. Previously, many electric car owners attempting a long journey had to leave the motorway and take a detour into the centre of a nearby town if they wanted to charge their battery quickly. If the electric car is to become viable, it needs to be convenient, and bringing fast charges to the side of the motorway is a major step in this direction.”