Sears and wireless electric vehicle charging station maker Evatran have reached an agreement for Sears' home-installation division to distribute and install Evatran's Plugless Power stations.
The agreement allows Evatran to sell its stations at a single price in which both the product and installation will be inclusive. Upon receiving a request for a Plugless Power station, Sears will contact the customer within one business day and will make the necessary pre-installation visits to ensure that the customer's home has the necessary equipment for the charging station. Sears and Evatran will initially tailor the product and installation services for owners of Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in vehicles and Nissan Leaf battery-electric vehicles this year.
Evatran and Sears are banking on both increased plug-in vehicle sales and a larger number of customers seeking the convenience of having EV charging stations that don't require a cord. Globally, revenue generated from wireless chargers specifically for electric vehicles will increase to about $1.5 billion in 2020 from a negligible amount in 2011, green technology research firm Pike Research said in a report released in late 2010.
Last June, Evatran and Yazaki North America – a Tier 1 automotive supplier that specializes in electrical distribution systems and connectivity solutions – signed a joint development agreement aimed at quickly commercializing Plugless Power technology. Under terms of the agreement, Evatran and Yazaki are teaming up to complete the development of a hands-free charging system to be used in residential, commercial and industrial applications. Evatran has been looking to pitch its Plugless Power technology to automakers as either a factory- or dealer-installed option. The Plugless Power system utilizes induction technology to transfer up to 3.3 kilowatts of power at efficiencies of up to 90 percent, allowing plug-in vehicles to recharge as quickly as they would with some Level 2 conductive (wired) chargers.
Meanwhile, tech giant Qualcomm last November acquired U.K.-based wireless charger maker HaloIPT and said it would start London's first wireless electric-vehicle charging station trial this year in a project that will support as many as 50 electric vehicles. Other companies that are entering the wireless-charger market include smaller companies like Massachusetts-based WiTricity as well as tech giant Siemens AG. That company last fall began testing its wireless chargers on BMW's ActiveE electric vehicles.
Sears Home Services nationwide installation network to supply station installation with residential and commercial Plugless Power™ wireless charging systems
Sears Home Services, the residential and commercial installation arm of Sears Holdings, today announced its installation agreement with Evatran, the leading developer of wireless charging systems for electric vehicles. This agreement ensures that purchasers of the Plugless Power system will have access to reliable home and commercial equipment installation through a brand they trust.
Plugless Power systems, which offer the ultimate in convenience and simplicity, recharge electric vehicles (EVs) as quickly as traditional corded options and require the same electrical installation inside a customer's home. Sears Home Service's long history in completing appliance, HVAC and electronics installations ensures that each Plugless Power system is installed with the highest regard to user safety and convenience.
Benefits offered to Plugless Power customers through the agreement include:
Simplified Purchasing: Evatran will offer Plugless Power systems with optional basic or standard home installation wrapped into the purchase price of the equipment; this full price may be included in the vehicle purchase or lease at the time of sale.
Pre-Installation Site Visits: Site visits, as necessary to quote non-standard and commercial installations, will be completed in advance of installations.
Timely Installation: Sears will receive automatic notification of a customer's installation request; Sears will contact the customer within one business day of equipment purchase to schedule home installation.
Convenient Additional Services: Sears will offer ongoing service and maintenance to Plugless Power owners.
Sears installation network technicians will be trained and certified on the wireless charging systems and will work with Evatran to structure a comprehensive launch plan for aftermarket systems throughout 2012. Product offerings will initially focus on Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf models but will quickly expand to include additional electric vehicles. Installation will be offered with the sale of each Plugless Power system and priced based on the customer's home and current electrical service. Sears will also offer commercial installation for electric vehicle fleet owners and managers.
"Sears is very excited to announce this agreement with Evatran to support the installation and servicing of these stations. Sears' unparalleled commitment to our customers and many quality service offerings make us a natural fit to facilitate this progressive technology. We look forward to being one of the leaders in this growing industry," stated Stu Reed , SVP and President, Home Services at Sears Holdings.
Aftermarket systems will be available for installation starting in 2012 for Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt models. A specific geographic rollout plan will be announced next year with final installation pricing for basic and standard home installations.
Timothy Briggs , CFO of Evatran, communicated the company's excitement for this announcement: "This agreement allows Evatran to deliver on our vision of enabling electric vehicle adoption through the continued focus on making our customers' lives easier. With each Plugless Power system purchase, our customers can feel confident they will receive timely service and quality workmanship from a company they have trusted with their home installations for years."
Plugless Power™, developed by Evatran™, is the first electric vehicle (EV) charging system on the market to offer customers a simple way to charge their EVs with the ease of hands-free technology. Utilizing inductive power transfer, which has been used in electrical transformers for more than 100 years, Plugless Power streamlines the charging of electric vehicles by eliminating the cord and the plug. In addition to aftermarket distribution, Evatran is currently working with automotive manufacturers to integrate the Plugless Power technology into mass-market EVs and signed a Joint Development Agreement with Yazaki North America, a major Tier 1 automotive supplier in May 2011 . For more information, visit www.pluglesspower.com.
About Sears Roebuck and Co.
Sears, Roebuck and Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: SHLD - News), is a leading broadline retailer providing merchandise and related services. Sears, Roebuck offers its wide range of home merchandise, apparel and automotive products and services through more than 2,700 Sears-branded and affiliated stores in the United States and Canada , which includes over 890 Full-line and more than 1,350 specialty stores in the U.S. Sears, Roebuck also offers a variety of merchandise and services through sears.com, landsend.com, and specialty catalogs. Sears, Roebuck offers consumers leading proprietary brands including Kenmore, Craftsman, DieHard and Lands' End -- among the most trusted and preferred brands in the U.S. Sears, Roebuck is the 2011 ENERGY STAR® Retail Partner of the Year. The company is the nation's largest provider of home services, with more than 11 million service calls made annually. For more information, visit the Sears, Roebuck website at www.sears.com or the Sears Holdings Corporation website at www.searsholdings.com.