OpConnect says “aloha” to Hawaiian charging stations
By Andy Giegerich
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Whereas this Better Place electric vehicle charging station at the Kaneohe branch of Enterprise Rent-A-Car gave cars boosts in 2012, the same vehicles will soon get their charges from Portland's OpConnect.
The OpConnect charging station company, which is expanding into Hawaii, has received a gentle monetary nudge from an Oregon backer.
Drive Oregon gave Portland-based OpConnect $50,000 to help the company makes its move into the islands. OpConnect, in March, had beaten out several international charging station companies to acquire Better Place’s network of electric vehicle charging stations and access to Better Place's members in Hawaii.
“This funding support will help us capitalize on this expansion opportunity, replacing more than 75 charging stations with Oregon-made units and becoming a more competitive company nationwide,” said OpConnect CEO Dexter Turner, in a statement.
Jeff Allen, Drive Oregon’s executive director, called the expansion “a game-changer for OpConnect, and a major landmark for Oregon’s electric vehicle charger industry.” OpConnect will add jobs in Oregon to manage its growing network.
The funding was allotted as part of Drive Oregon’s Matching Grant program. The electric vehicle-focused nonprofit has provided nearly $400,000 that’s generated almost $3 million in investments. OpConnect must procure $350,000 in private investments to in order to collect the Drive Oregon grant.
The public-private Drive Oregon is funded in part with Oregon State Lottery Funds administered by Business Oregon. OpConnect’s Electric Vehicle Charging System includes charging stations, a secure wireless communications network, billing and charging station management components and mobile phone applications. The company operates in seven states.
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