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Siemens Moves Into Electric Vehicle Smart Charging

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Add electric vehicle smart charging to the long list of products that German energy and engineering giant Siemens (s SI) wants to tackle for the smart grid. On Tuesday Siemens said it plans to partner with startup Coulomb Technologies on a marketing deal where Siemens would sell its smart grid IT products in conjunction with Coulomb’s smart electric vehicle charging stations.

While Siemens has been slower to move into the smart grid than fellow competitors like GE (s GE) and Swiss-based ABB (s ABB), over the past year Siemens has been making up for lost time, announcing a flurry of new projects and partnerships. Siemens says ultimately it wants to double its current growth rate in the smart grid sector to capture €6 billion ($8.48 billion) in global business over the next five years, compared to its current €1 billion ($1.41 billion) in estimated smart grid related revenues in the fiscal year ending Sept. 2009.

The company has the network to do it. Siemens is one of the few corporations out there that can lay claim to almost every share of the world’s current grid infrastructure, building everything from gas and wind turbines to high-voltage transmission cables to sensors and controls that monitor and manage the delivery of power to homes and businesses. Siemens has been looking at its smart grid portfolio as end-to-end infrastructure, and adding on electric vehicle charge points at the edge of the network is just an extension of that strategy.

But because Siemens is so large and has so many broad smart grid offerings, it also needs to partner with some of the smaller firms to deliver the most advanced technology across the network. Coulomb is just the latest of these deals.

Siemens has been working with eMeter, a well-funded startup with several large-scale contracts to help utilities manage their millions of new smart meters, and back in 2008 led a $12.5 million investment into the startup. Siemens recently announced a smart grid partnership and investment in BPL Global, a maker of smart distribution grid systems. And Siemens is also working with startup Viridity Energy to combine Siemens’ decentralized energy management system with Viridity’s system for managing “virtual power plants,” a collection of loads and distributed generation resources at office parks, university campuses or other discrete entities.

The growing need for intelligent management of electric vehicle charging could create a $297 million industry in the U.S., and $1.5 billion globally as of 2015, according to analyst John Gartner of Pike Research. That market forecast encompasses the tech ranging from applications, servers, networking equipment and other hardware, to ongoing services for collecting and monitoring data about vehicle charging.

For more research on smart grids check out GigaOM Pro (subscription required):

Smart Algorithms, The Future of the Energy Industry

New Opportunities in the Smart Grid

IT Opportunities in Electric Vehicle Management

Image courtesy of Coulomb Technologies.