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Simon Property Group Unveils 'Plug-in Ecosystem' at Clay Terrace, a First-Of-Its-Kind Energy Storage and Vehicle Charging System


charging station (select to view enlarged photo)

CARMEL, Ind.--January 30, 2013: --Shoppers at Clay Terrace in Carmel, Ind. not only can choose from an exciting array of stores and restaurants, but now they also have the opportunity to minimize their carbon footprint. Simon Property Group, Toshiba Corporation, Duke Energy, ITOCHU Corporation, Tom Wood Automotive Group and Indiana's 'clean tech' initiative Energy Systems Network (ESN) have teamed up to develop one of the most advanced charging stations in the world for plug-in cars, debuting today.

“Indiana is becoming known as an ideal location for companies and research institutions to collaborate, develop and test new clean technologies”

Clay Terrace's new vehicle charging station is integrated with solar panels and a battery storage system, creating a 'plug-in ecosystem' which uses renewable energy and a battery system to store surplus power for evenings and cloudy days.

Central Indiana was chosen as the first site for the cutting-edge charging station based on the partners' mutual engagement with ESN and its Project Plug-IN campaign. Project Plug-IN, a plug-in electric vehicle and charging infrastructure deployment initiative launched in 2009, has been nationally recognized for positioning the Indianapolis region as one of the most electric vehicle-friendly sites in the country.

"Indiana is becoming known as an ideal location for companies and research institutions to collaborate, develop and test new clean technologies," said Paul Mitchell, ESN's President & CEO. "It's exciting that Hoosiers have the opportunity to get the first look at these innovative systems, but even more significant to Indiana's economy is the fact that the clean tech sector recognizes our state as a place where innovation is embraced and validated."

The 'plug-in ecosystem' contains both traditional and 'quick charge' charging stations that are connected to a 10-kilowatt roof-mounted solar panel. The solar energy can be stored in the Toshiba 75-kilowatt lithium ion battery, located next to the charging system.

According to Ryuji Maruyama, General Manager of Toshiba's Smart Community Division, "Toshiba developed its end of the 'Plug-in Ecosystem' for North America by combining existing micro-EMS (energy management system) optimization control capabilities with our latest rechargeable battery technology. This system ensures the efficient management of load within the EV charging system."

This system is unique as a 'real-world' demonstration of smart charging technologies rather than a test site. Its direct connection to the Duke Energy electrical grid, and its unique public location at a shopping mall allows customers to experience and learn about the technology firsthand. For Duke Energy, the installation provides a valuable model for how renewable energy can be aligned with advanced storage technologies to provide a practical power source.

"Innovations in grid energy storage can have a tremendous impact on the effectiveness of renewable energy usage," said Zachary Kuznar, Senior Project Manager, Emerging Technology Office at Duke Energy. "Because renewable energy sources like solar and wind are intermittent and less reliable, incorporating energy storage can make them much more stable. This system at Clay Terrace allows us to even out the variable solar output, shift energy from off-peak to peak energy usage times and 'buffer' the grid from electric vehicle charging, which can use a substantial amount of energy, particularly with DC quick charging."

"Simon Property Group already has a history of innovation in the real estate industry," said George Caraghiaur, Senior Vice President of Sustainability at Simon Property Group. "The majority of our shopping malls across the state are now equipped with electric vehicle charging stations, and we're seeking to upgrade this infrastructure just like we work to enhance every aspect of our customers' shopping experience. We're proud to play a role in perfecting this new technology and offering it to our customers."

Customers may begin charging their plug-in vehicles today at the Clay Terrace system, which is located at the north end of the parking lot just north of Dick's Sporting Goods. Currently the charging system is available to customers at no cost.